[NetBehaviour] Spectral Line Cesium

Thomas Garman thomas.garman at gmail.com
Wed Feb 17 12:35:57 CET 2010

The link below takes you to an "event' that I posted on Facebook.  The event
is purely conceptual, and I am sharing it with this list because to me the
"event' represents a new kind of writing.  The sense in which the writing is
new hinges on the Google Search Box and the sorts of texts that can be
entered there, as opposed to or contrasted with the sorts of texts that can
be written into a word processor for example.  Phrases searched through
Google have structure and meaning and often times narrative all
contained/distilled in just a few words.  We have all learned, since the
advent of the internet, to write correctly for the search box.  "Spectral
Line Cesium" is an attempt to engage with that sort of writing.

What follows is a copy of the explanation of the event on its Facebook
page.  (The link below takes you to that page.)  Please sign up for the
event and encourage others to do so as well...

Spectral Line Cesium is virtual flash mob scheduled for May 15th, 2010 at
Noon (Central Standard Time), the goal of which is to make the phrase
"Spectral Line Cesium" the most searched term on Google for that hour. To
participate in the event one searches the term "Spectral Line Cesium" at
Noon (CST) on May 15th, 2010 using the Google search engine. In short, this
project is virtual flash mob the location of which is Google's Search Box on
any computer in any browser.

As an event, Spectral Line Cesium is intended to explore notions of
inclusion and exclusion. On the one hand, access to the internet is
completely inclusive: anyone who can open a browser and navigate to Google's
search page can participate. Indeed, the project requires the participation
of as many people as possible to succeed. Hence, the concept itself imposes
very few barriers to accessibility. On the other hand, the very idea of
searching a bizarre phrase like "Spectral Line Cesium" for no other reason
than to participate in an web-based conceptual art event will no doubt
appeal to few.

Because the Spectral Line Cesium event requires participation on a mass
scale to succeed, it is situated in an unusual dynamic compared to other
works of conceptual art, most of which is fated to be seen by at most a
handful of people because it is shown nowhere other than at art galleries.
No work of contemporary or conceptual art has ever been more searched online
than, for example, the name "Jessica Simpson." I take this strange fact to
be evidence that there is something about the making and practice of art
excludes the art objects in general and conceptual art in particular from
mass culture, a kind of built-in albeit unintentional exclusivity.

Spectral Line Cesium is a sort of primitive groan in the space created by
the technology of mass communications, an assertion that we are aware of
what is happening to our ways of talking to each other: the only thoughts
that have relevance are those that generate a sufficient level of interest
on the mass scale and that the only meaningful words are those that are
spoken to millions. Our ability to command the attention of the millions
gives us legitimacy in another sort of conversation, one that cannot be
engaged in but by people who know how to speak to each other from the
platform of mass communications.

 Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2010 03:21:32 -0800
 To: thomas.garman at live.com
 From: notification+zj4oa_9azfc6 at facebookmail.com<notification%2Bzj4oa_9azfc6 at facebookmail.com>
 Subject: Thomas Garman invited you to the event "Spectral Line Cesium"...

 Thomas invited you to "Spectral Line Cesium" on Saturday, May 15 at

Event: Spectral Line Cesium
"The Google Search box is the object of aesthetic contemplation."
What: Performance
Start Time: Saturday, May 15 at 12:00pm
End Time: Saturday, May 15 at 1:00pm
Where: Google Search Box

To see more details and RSVP, follow the link below:


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