Séa.nce - A Networked Glossalalia

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Séa.nce is a 'pataphysical experiment to demonstrate the relays of perpetual emotion on the internet. It is part of a larger project, The Perpetual Emotion Project, which researches emotion in digital culture.

In the 19th century Etienne-Jules Marey, Henri Bergson, Arsène d'Arsonoval and Marie Curie met to investigate "the manifestations of yet undefined forces" through scientific investigations using Marey's graphing instruments. These investigations attempted to measure radioactivity and electric discharge of hysterics; to study telepathy and levitation; and to hold Seances.

Séa.nce, following these earlier experiments, is also based on the popular parlour game from the 19th century. The original Ouija Board was known as the Talking Board or the Message Board where one would search for answers from the spirit world. The modern equivalent of this 'searching for answers' could be imagined as Google or any search engine for that matter. Are there 'unknown forces' still at play? What happens when answers depend on a network of movement?

The Language of the Board
There are more than 20 different languages used in the current version of Séa.nce. The languages were chosen by chance and availability rather than for any linguistic significance. The Séa.nce Board uses the Roman-Latin alphabet, which has 26 letters. This is not the case for many of the other languages that were recorded. Vietnamese, for example, has 29 letters, Russian has 33 and Swedish has 29. Graphically too there are many differences in the way letters are written. After some discussion we decided to continue to use the Roman-Latin alphabet graphically on the Board, following the original Ouija Boards. We mapped the spoken letters to numbers in the chronological order that they were recorded. So the "A" you see on the Board is number 1 letter of every alphabet etc. Letters 27 onwards are randomly mapped on top of letters 1 - 26 (A-Z on the Board).