FotoFest Exhibitions

Emilio Chapela

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According to Google and Language

Emilio Chapela, criticality is deployed through the interrogation of information and how it lives on the Internet. He investigates the phenomenon of the Google search engine as an objective knowledge bank through his own discursive performance. The artist’s project According to Google (2008) is a forty-volume encyclopedia that contains thousands of images extracted from the Internet using the Google image search engine. Every volume of the encyclopedia corresponds to a concept or idea such as “beauty,” “capitalism,” “communism,” “money,” “art,” or “abstraction” that reflects a digital collective unconsciousness blindly attempting to express itself. Language (2007), on the other hand, examines the inherent shortcomings of Internet technology when faced with the extremely difficult, and inherently human, act of translation. Chapela’s project underscores the rapid rate at which misinformation gets circulated, absorbed, and recycled. To paraphrase Wikipedia itself on the subject, “Translation must take into account constraints that include context, the rules of grammar of the two languages, their writing conventions, and their idioms. A common misconception is that there exists a simple word-for-word correspondence between any two languages, and that translation is a straightforward mechanical process; such a word-for-word translation, however, cannot take into account context, grammar, conventions, and idioms.”


Emilio Chapela is a conceptual artist from Mexico City. Because of his academic background in mathematics and communications, his work usually relates to scientific notions, methodological thinking and with a constant research towards abstraction. He has participated in several collective and solo shows both in galleries and museum including: EDS Galeria, Mexico City (2008); the MARTE Museum, San Salvador, El Salvador (2008); the Museo de Arte Abstracto Manuel Felguerez, Zacatecas, Mexico (2009); the Ilmin Museum in Seoul, Korea (2009); and the Museo de Castellón de la Plana, Spain. He was selected for the XIV Bienal Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City (2008) and for the X Bienal de Fotografía de Mexico (2002). Perez has been honored for his work through the 2008 PULSE Miami Award; the Feria México Arte Contemporáneo (FEMACO) best emerging artist; and an artist-in-residence at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York (2007). In 2009 he published his first monographic catalogue with funds provided by the National Fund for Culture and Arts Mexico (FONCA). He is represented by EDS Galeria, Mexico City.