TIME Art

Translate Your Browsing History Into Art (If You Dare)

Shan Huang's "Iconic History" Shan Huang

Which sites do you visit most?

Think about the days you’ve spent on the Internet. What would they look like? Most likely, it’s an unintelligible blur of homepages and social networks and links connecting from one site to the next. Now, artist Shan Huang has created a way to clearly visualize your browsing history through favicons.

Favicons are the tiny little icons that show up on the top left of tabs in your browser—either you don’t notice them, or you use them religiously to keep track when you have way too many tabs open to read the URLs. Huang’s “Iconic History” Chrome extension turns all those little squares into a tapestry that shows you were you’ve been.

“Iconic History” tracks chronologically and by how many times you visit the URLs, making it easy to see where you spend the most time. My personal browsing history is a mosaic of Google, Facebook, and Twitter logos, plus a smattering of imgur and blogs. As the artist notes, it tells a story: “I thought browser history alone could narrate a significant portion of my life and what was on my mind,” Huang writes.

Just be careful of what kind of story your browser history tells. Pornography sites have very specific favicons that we are absolutely not familiar with and will not recognize when you post your favicon mosaic on Facebook. *tugs collar*

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