In Siebren Versteeg’s Like II (2016), a computer painting program creates a composition using a continuously changing algorithm, and then runs a periodic Google search to find a matching image online. Every sixty seconds, the painting made by the computer is uploaded to Google’s “search by image” feature, and images that most closely match the composition are then downloaded and displayed.
The notion of abstraction plays a central role in this work. Throughout modernity, artists have sought inventive ways to free painting from its tradition as a representational medium. LIKE II inverts this ambition, finding the reality hidden within pure abstraction. Because the work evolves based on whatever content is available online at any given moment, the artist relinquishes a certain degree of creative control. Versteeg says, “As the nature of the images presented by the work is random, the artist assumes both all and no responsibility for their presence and content.”