Grok Glossary

In mathematics and computing, an algorithm is a set of instructions designed to execute and accomplish any given task. Informally, the concept of an algorithm is often illustrated by the example of a recipe. Although many algorithms are much more complex and involve steps that repeat or require decisions.

Cartography is the practice of making maps, or visual representations of spatial data. Traditionally, maps have been rather static, created with analog methods. With the development of computers, the trend has moved towards digital maps that are easier to manipulate and can be both dynamic and interactive.

Conceptual Art
Conceptual art, also sometimes termed idea art, generally refers to art where the concepts or ideas take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns. The focus is on conveying and idea rather than on the object. The term came into use in the 1960's and has been used broadly since in relation to different artistic movements not dealing with painting or sculpture.

Data visualization
Data visualization refers to the practice of expressing data through visual images. Data visualization can be simple and static like a pie chart or a histogram. With the use of computer graphics and networks, however, data visualization is becoming increasingly complex and dynamic, and is able to represent changes in data in real time.

Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) was a French artist most often associated with the New York scene of the Dada movement. He is particularly known for works that he called 'readymades.' Readymades were objects that Duchamp found, gave little or no alteration, and then re-presented as art. Most famous are his Fountain (1917), a porcelain urinal inscribed "R. Mutt 1917" that was rejected by The Society of Independent Artists, and L.H.O.O.Q. (1919), a reproduction of da Vinci's Mona Lisa on which he drew a goatee and moustache.

Fortune Teller
A fortune teller is a person whose profession is to predict the future through seemingly mystical or supernatural means. Fortune telling has occurred throughout history in many cultures with diverse methods including astrology, tarot card reading or palm reading. Fortune telling has been particularly popular in Chinese and Gypsy culture whereas in contemporary western culture it is often looked upon as unscientific and merely speculative.

Generative Art
Generative art refers to art that is determined by a system of rules or an algorithm. Therefore, the emphasis is placed on the production method of the work.

GPS device
GPS (Global Positioning System) is a satellite-based system that can indicate locations (longitude, latitude, and altitude) anywhere on earth. A GPS device is a device that can talk to the satellites and thereby know its exact location. A GPS device is an important tool for map-making and land surveying as well for modern navigation on land, sea, and air around the world. Many cars today are sold with a built-in GPS device.

The Heidelberg Project
The Heidelberg Project is an open-air art environment started in 1986 in Detroit Michigan with the aim of using art to save and develop neighborhoods and communities facing poverty and decay. The Heidelberg Project essentially renovated one block in Detroit, rebuilding houses and decorating streets with junk and detritus that had been found in the neighborhood. The project was successful both as a piece of public art and a community development initiative, as homes and safe community space were created through it.

Information Architecture
Information Architecture is the practice of structuring information. The term is most often used in the context of web development and design. For websites, the Information Architechture refers to how one navigates a site. For instance on the first page of the Rhizome site, you see a description of what Rhizome is, and then you can link to our most essential elements, including Archives, Exhibitions and Services. For an individual artist, the homepage might include a description of the artist and their work, and then link to previous work, upcoming exhibitions and perhaps a page of peer artists or influences.

An interface defines the communication boundary between two entities, such as a piece of software, a hardware device, or a user. The interface between a human and a computer is called a user interface. A good example is a 'desktop' which is a visual design through which users can access software, documents, and otherwise navigate their computer's hardware. Another example is a video game interface, through which uses can play a game, move characters, advance through levels, etc. In this case, the interface is a colorful, dynamic world in between the player and game's software.

A mash-up is a combination of two or more songs. Successful mash-ups generally involve songs don't necessarily seem to fit -- i.e they are taken from different genres -- but are blended in a way that makes them catchy or humorous or both. For instance, the artist Cory Arcangel blended seminal pop artists The Beach Boys with influential rap stars The Ghetto Boys.

Robert Rauschenberg
Robert Rauschenberg (b. 1925) is an American artist who played a major role in the redefinition of American art in the 1950's and 60's with his innovative use of found objects and images. Rauschenberg's use of found objects represents what many see as his desire to create works that speak to the realities of everyday life.

Spam is the term used for unsolicited, bulk electronic messages, most commonly email messages, but also found in other digital media ( e.g. search engine spam, instant messaging spam, sms spam, etc.).

Short Message Service (SMS)
SMS is a service available on most digital mobile phones (and other mobile devices, e.g. a Pocket PC, or occasionally even desktop computers) that permits the sending of short messages (also known as text messages) between phones, other handheld devices and even landline telephones. Other uses of text messaging can be for ordering ringtones, wallpapers or even entering competitions.

Social Network Service
A Social Network Service is social software specifically focused on the building and fortifying of social networks around common interests, ethnic background, age or dating amongst other purposes. Many social networking services are also blog hosting services. As of 2005, there were over three hundred known social networking web sites. Most, if not all, social network services now include instant messaging technologies and peer-to-peer connectivity and allow users to share blogs, files (especially photographs) and messages. Examples Blackplanet.com, Friendster, Myspace and Xanga.

Viral Marketing
Viral marketing is a type of marketing that seeks to make use of the social networks that exist between people. The idea is to get people to talk about and pass on a marketing message. This way they get the message from people they know instead of through conventional marketing channels (billboards, TV commercials, news paper ads etc.).

A webcam (or web camera) is a camera whose images are accessible via the Internet in real-time. Most commonly, webcams are used for remote monitoring -- for instance of weather conditions -- or for video conferencing.