::web collage + nonlinear browser



Emergent is a generator of Internet image collages and a true web "browser" in the sense of allowing casual and random exploration of the World Wide Web. Emergent tears images from their original documents and recycles them into a novel experience. Advertisements, corporate logos, web camera photos, and even pornographic imagery are all juxtaposed to suggest curious new meanings. Unrestricted by purpose, Emergent wanders into the webs darkest recesses and provides the user with a random sampling of all that the Internet has to offer. Emergent is the poo poo platter of web browsers - users are encouraged to try something new and, though not always palatable, the experiences are at least fresh.

Traversing the Internet entirely on its own, Emergent collects the URLs of every image it encounters and utilizes random subsets as source material for its collage generation. These collages are dynamically updated as old images are replaced with new ones from increasingly disparate sources. The result is a constantly changing montage of images from widely varying websites, the juxtaposition of elements from across the world, and the creation of an ever-changing visionary experience.

At the same time, every component image of Emergents collages maintains a link back to its on-line point of origin. A user may click on any particularly interesting image to pull up the website whence it originated. In this way, Emergent becomes a non-directed web browser, presenting the user with the opportunity to discover web sites that might otherwise be ignored or missed.

Emergents behavior can be manipulated to alter the user experience. Parameters of collage generation such as the number of images utilized, the method of placement, and the speed of replacement can all be varied from a rapid-fire single image photomontage to a slow (or even static) collage consisting of hundreds of images. The user may also impose control over the web crawling functionality (to point the crawler to or block out particular web sites).

Alex Weyers



British Academy of Film & Television Artists, Arts Alliance Global Summit 2000, London, February 2000

Emergent version 1.02

  1. Unzip the Emergent.exe and the README from the .zip file.
  2. Double-click the application to run it.
  3. Select Active from the Collage menu to toggle the browsing/collage generation on/off.
  4. Modify various collage parameters from the dialog boxes that appear when you select other menu items under Collage menu.
  5. Double-click on any image to pull up that image's source page in the default web browser.
  6. Choose Exit from the File menu or close the window to quit.

Additional detailed instructions located in README file.


C++ application for Windows 9*/NT/2000
400k hard drive space
internet connection
internet browser
Emergent works best with a reasonably fast (56 kBps or greater) internet connection and a fast machine (450 Mhz or greater).

related work

Collage Machine ( Andruid Kerne)

Digital Landfill (potatoland.org)