Typojanchi 2013
Seoul International Typography Biennale

August 30–October 11
10:00 am– 7:00 pm
Closed every Monday
Free admission

Culture Station Seoul 284
1 Tongil-ro, Jung-gu
Seoul 100-162, Korea
T. 82-2-3407-3500
F. 82-2-3407-3510


Hosted by
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

Organized by
Korea Craft & Design Foundation
Korean Society of Typography


Typojanchi 2013
Administration Office
Korea Craft & Design Foundation
5F, 53 Yulgok-no, Jongno-gu
Seoul 110-240, Korea
T. 82-2-398-7945
F. 82-2-398-7999
E. typojanchi@kcdf.kr

Typojanchi 2011

Google Poetics

Sampsa Nuotio
Born in 1976, Finland

Raisa Omaheimo
Born in 1977, Finland

In October 2012, Sampsa Nuotio started collecting what he calls “Google Poems,” a kind of “found” poetry generated by the search engine’s autocomplete suggestions. Together with Raisa Omaheimo, he has been running the blog devoted to them, Google Poetics. Under the wry headline, “Google writes poetry on subjects that people are truly interested in,” Google Poetics has become an internet phenomenon, featured in The Huffington Post, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Gizmodo, Mashable and The New Yorker. Based on popular submissions, the blog has collected over 1,000 Google Poems in a year of its operation.

Sampsa Nuotio studied performing arts at the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, and is currently a freelance writer and video producer after stints of working in the gaming industry and as an IT consultant. Raisa Omaheimo is an artist with a background in performing arts and media art. She holds a BA in drama studies and an MA in new media. She is currently working as a lecturer of digital media at the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and a freelance journalist and artist.

Google Poetics is born when Google autocomplete suggestions are viewed as poems.

Google’s algorithm offers searches after just a few keystrokes when typing in the search box, in an attempt to predict what the user wants to type. The combination of these suggestions can be funny, absurd, dadaistic—and sometimes even deeply moving.

There is, however, more to these poems than just the occasional chuckle. The Google autocomplete suggestions are based on previous searches by actual people all around the world. In the cold blue glow of their computer screens, they ask “why am I alone” and “why do fat girls have high standards”. They wonder how to roll a joint and whether it is too early to say “I love you”. They seek information on ninjas, cannibals, and Rihanna, and sometimes they just ask “am I better off dead?”

Despite the seemingly open nature of Western society, forbidden questions and thoughts still remain. When faced with these issues, people do not reach out to one another, instead they turn to Google in the privacy of their own homes. The all-knowing search engine accepts and embraces these questions and tangles them with popular song lyrics, book titles and names of celebrities: often with hilarious results.

Obviously Google is not Shakespeare, Whitman or Dickinson—it can not illuminate the unknown. But it does reveal our inner workings, our fears and prejudices, secrets and shames, the hope and longing of a modern individual.

This is why Google Poetics is important.

[Sampsa Nuotio and Raisa Omaheimo]

Google Poetics

Courtesy: the artist

Google Poetics

Courtesy: the artist

Google Poetics

Courtesy: the artist

Google Poetics

Courtesy: the artist

Google Poetics

Installation view at Typojanchi 2013

© Typojanchi 2013