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
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
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?
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).