Oracle Machine

“This is what we write, this is what we read; this is how we deal with information today.”

The Orakelmachine (Oracle Machine) was an interactive installation by Jeroen Joosse devised for the façade of De Balie, a cultural centre at one of the main squares in Amsterdam. It displayed a continuous stream of statements and opinions about social, political, and cultural issues. The stream of statements originated from scraping the Google search engine, while the issues fed to the scraper were automatically determined by extracting keywords from news sites. Audience and passers-by were able to (temporarily) control the stream of displayed statements by submitting issues and keywords via sms. Needless to say this was all in the pre-Twitter era.

I made the actual ‘oracle’ by scraping and parsing de Balie website, feeding their topics into Google, and then scraping Google’s results and providing them as input to the Oracle Machine.

The Oracle Machine has been exhibited at

  • de Balie Center for Culture and Politics, Amsterdam, 2007 – 2008, 2010.
  • Sonic Acts Festival, Amsterdam, February 2010.