“To use a search engine is potentially a political act,” writes Paul Soulellis, founder of the Library of the Printed Web, in the brochure accompanying Wolfgang Plöger’s exhibition “Inherited Lies.” By using a search engine, Soulellis explains, we become involved, whether we like it or not, in an ensemble of hierarchies, preferences, parallels, and comparisons predetermined by algorithms. The moment we hit the “search” button, we subscribe to the order it imposes. But what does that order actually look like? Which hierarchies does it entail, which priorities does it implement, what does it withhold and conceal, how do these priorities shift over time, and how do political events affect the order of the search engines?
Such are the questions that may have absorbed Plöger when, in 2003, he began making printouts of his search results from the then-still-novel Google. He collected
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