Artist Sebastien Schmieg’s ongoing Search by Image art series starts with a single image, and then feeds it into Google Image Search’s “most similar” function to create the next frame in the video. His newest video is “Search by Image, Recursively, Transparent PNG, #1”, and starting with a 400×225 transparent png, he cycles through 2951 images culled from the search engine in what becomes a hypnotic video (warning, slightly NSFW).
Watching the video, you see it hit a level of stasis with certain images and themes that seem to stay stable for a period thanks to their popularity — most notably images from the Hubble, and a series of internet reaction faces. There’s also a stunning little section of graphs at one point, and the parade of product photographs is wonderful. It seems almost like the concept punctuated equilibrium.
In order to keep the sequence from being locked into a loop, Schmieg decided that if an image had already been used in the sequence, he’d skip to the next highest rated, thus preventing the video from only being a handful of frames long.