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Vol. I

ARPANET Test 1975
with Marcel Broodthaers, Jane Fonda, Ronald Reagan & Edward Said

Published on 9 October 2010. Presented in conjunction with OVERSCORE, a project curated by ACAF for Manifesta 8.

The following transcript presents an excerpt of a conversation between Governor Ronald Reagan of California, artist Marcel Broodthaers, cultural anthropologist Edward Said, and actress Jane Fonda. The session was moderated by Maeve O’Reilly. Please note that the respective computer terminals for each participant were identified by the names of gods from Roman mythology and have here been changed to reflect the actual names of the participants. The application, still in its early stage of development, had limited syntax capability, thus punctuation was limited to the full stop. Also, the original timestamps for each transmission have been removed for the sake of legibility.

* * *

Marcel Broodthaers
Hello.
Edward Said
Hello this really works.
Ronald Reagan
Hello this is Gov. Ronald Reagan of California.
Marcel Broodthaers
Yes amazing.
Ronald Reagan
Neat stuff.
Marcel Broodthaers
I thought I would say hello whilst we are waiting.
Marcel Broodthaers
This is mb.
Ronald Reagan
Hello Marcel.
Edward Said
Who are we waiting for. Im Edward.
Marcel Broodthaers
Hello.
Ronald Reagan
Hi Ed. Call me Ron.
Edward Said
Hi Ron you dont mind do you.
Marcel Broodthaers
Hello Edward. Well Im told we are waiting for Jane Fonda.
Ronald Reagan
No my wife calls me Ronnie.
Ronald Reagan
Jane Fonda. Really. Well Ill be.
Ronald Reagan
Interesting line up.
Edward Said
Hello everyone. Oh Jane. Shes quite something.
Marcel Broodthaers
Yes certainly.
Marcel Broodthaers
A woman of many talents and interests from what I hear.
Ronald Reagan
Bit controversial too around these parts.
Marcel Broodthaers
Oh really.
Edward Said
Itll be great to have her give a lecture here at Columbia.
Ronald Reagan
Hanoi Jane and all that.
Edward Said
Oh Ron. come one.
Edward Said
You cant stand lefties can you.
Ronald Reagan
Oh lets not reduce ourselves to labels Ed.
Ronald Reagan
Right. Left. Whats it all mean anyway.
Edward Said
No labels Ron. No labels.
Edward Said
Yes acting has made you wise.
Ronald Reagan
Oh I dont know about that.
Marcel Broodthaers
I wonder how long she will be.
Edward Said
Well perhaps we can start without her.
Ronald Reagan
What are we starting anyway.
Marcel Broodthaers
I say we give her a few minutes.
Ronald Reagan
Im not clear on the point of this exercise.
Marcel Broodthaers
Well I think we are testing the possibilities of this device.
Marcel Broodthaers
I understand it is to be launched much more widely soon. I suspect Jane will be the celebrity endorsement.
Edward Said
Marcel I hope there is more to it than that.
Ronald Reagan
OK but why us.
Marcel Broodthaers
Well think about the implications. Imagine what something like this would offer to the world.
Edward Said
What are the implications. This will revolutionize they way people do business. Culture perhaps. Someone from Japan can have a conversation with someone from California. What about China.
Ronald Reagan
Wouldnt you rather pick up the phone and call.
Ronald Reagan
All this damned typing.
Marcel Broodthaers
You get faster.
Edward Said
Yes I would but if it were to be cheap and inexpensive.
Edward Said
Free.
Ronald Reagan
Free. Well who pays for it in the end though.
Marcel Broodthaers
The people of course.
Ronald Reagan
You mean taxes.
Marcel Broodthaers
I assume you are in a military communication centre like me. Both of you.
Edward Said
But for a young man or woman in Sri Lanka this might help them voice their ideas to people like a university professor from Michigan or an architect from Bahia.
Edward Said
The rich should pay.