Artist, web developer, and Poster Children lead singer Rick Valentin has created a new piece. Deceptively simple, he attached an old-school, tractor-feed dot-matrix printer to a computer that scours major news sites looking for the two most frequently appearing terms each hour. Viewers can watch online or subscribe to an RSS feed to get an hourly update. In these times when we can be paralyzed — or bored stiff — by the massive overload of available information, it’s something of an anti-Google, poetically simple and weirdly powerful in how it seems to distill down the biggest fears and obsessions of the hour into two simple words.
As Chicago-based critic Polly Ulrich wrote of Valentin’s work at his 2007 MFA exhibition at the University of Illinois School of Art and Design, “The resulting print-out has the appearance of a concrete poetry piece, with a virtual author. The day I visited the top words were Baghdad and Gonzalez, which pretty much summed everything up.”