Version 2.0 was launched on July 2, 2016.
"Keywords: A Remix of Culture and Society" is an online project which takes all of the terms that Raymond Williams published in his book Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (Oxford, 1976), and provides the top search results on Bing. The results for text, image and video for earch term can be viewed by clicking on any word to the left. The principle behind this project is to evaluate how the terms Williams considered important in order to understand culture and society in the middle of the twentieth century currently flow on the Web.
Williams initially organized his list of keywords to be included in his publication Culture and Society: 1780 - 1950 (Columbia, 1958). According to the introduction in the most recent edition of Keywords, due to the length of Culture and Society, editors advised Williams not to include the list of terms. It would be twenty years later that his keywords would become a proper publication. Williams’s Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society foresaw issues relevant in contemporary fields of research, including the need to organize specialized terms that go beyond basic dictionary definitions for a better understanding of a particular subject of research. In effect, Williams developed a new interdisciplinary method that could be used by any well-established or new field of research. He makes evident his awareness of such a contribution in the introduction to his Keywords, in which he explains that his definitions would crossover to various specializations beyond the literary community.
Williams was also aware that his analysis was very "English" meaning that it pertained to how British culture viewed itself in relation to the rest of the world. By creating links to the keywords he initially set out to define as sole author, I aim to offer an alternative way of evaluating how these terms are currently understood according to search results that may no longer be directly linked to British culture, but to the English language as a global form of communication for many cultures; granted that the search results are tailored to the localities from which the online project is accessed.
In 2015, I began working on a keywords book along with fellow editors xtine burrough and Owen Gallagher titled Keywords in Remix Studies, to be published by Routledge some time in 2017. As I did research for this collaboration, I studied Williams's methodological approach, and in effect, during the Fall of 2015, I decided to teach the book as part of my class, "Introduction to Digital Art and Design Criticism" part of the Interdisciplinary Digital Studio Program (IDS) in the School of Visual Arts (SoVA), Penn State. We discussed entries from the book always considering how Williams's definition may be relevant in contemporary times. It was quite interesting to note how some terms had taken unexpected shifts in meaning, and based on this, I thought of developing this online project, "Keywords: A Remix of Culture and Society."
"Keywords: A Remix of Culture and Society" presents the current flow online of Williams's terms according to Bing's search results. This project faced a major limitation in version 1.0 because I decided to use a web search API script, which Google decided to deprecate in 2010. The reason for the deprecation was to encourage customized searches that if past a quota would entail monetary charges to the person implementing the script. Consequently, most of the scripts stopped working in March of 2016; these include local, web, image, video and patent. Only the API for books was still functional, but will likely not work in the future. For this reason, I decided to use Bing for Version 2.0 as an alternative and provide results for text, image and video, respectively.
"Keywords: A Remix of Culture and Society," in effect, becomes a commentary on the imposed drive to incessantly keep up with the ongoing development of technology; a process that is not completely based on need, but on the premise to stay relevant.
Most of my web projects tend to develop over a long period of time. In the past, I decided to stop working on a project based on some predetermined premise that made sense for that project, or a technological development that changed the context of the work. For Diary of a Star, it was when I finished reblogging and writing about selections from Andy Warhol's Diaries; for Trabeblog, it was when it became evident to me that the obfuscation of the software that supposedly hid one's activity online was no longer effective; and for Minima Moralia Redux (still active) it will be when I finish visualizing all of the entries in Adorno's Minima Moralia. In the case of "Keywords: A Remix of Culture and Society," I initially thought that the project would likely come to an end when all of the Google APIs were no longer functional. But given that art is a process, I am not sure when this project may come to an end, because search itself keeps changing, and this in effect reflects the very interest in trying to develop a history of each of the terms Williams tried to carefully categorize. It is the ongoing discourse of the terms online that interests me, and for this reason, at this point, until I think otherwise, I plan to develop new versions of this project according to the flow of search as a discourse in its own right.