The Serendipity Engine was revealed at The Royal Institution of Great Britain in London during a specially curated event exploring ‘Connections’.
Enquiry Machines are designed to render visible the mechanisms of enquiry about something that is either difficult to think about or black boxed – in this case it is the concept of digital serendipity. We questioned the idea that search engines are serendipity engines. We proposed that they are recommendation engines and serendipity engines would be a much messier entanglement of humans, objects, tangible and intangible things.
EM#2 is a pedal powered series of vintage suitcases each filled with an assemblage of dials and switches that reference some condition of serendipity – environmental, social, physical, emotional, cultural, digital, material etc.
It critiques and opens up for discussion the multilayered, complex and indefinite nature of a technology in the making, and one that is undeniably embedded and intertwined with human activities and culture.
Alex recently produced a Radio 4 program about this project.