Institute for the Study of Perpetual E.motion

This institute, which appears to be a web-based entity, describes itself as "dedicated to the scientific study of emotion as relays, networks and vibrations. Our mission is to make visible and audible, emotions that are undetected in everyday life." The mission statement goes on to claim a basis for the research in multiple theories, including an interpretation of string theory that classifies emotions as the fifth force after gravity.

Such statements  make it intitially tempting to place the institute somewhere in the large terrain lying between pseudo-science and quackery. However, the institute's "Investigators" page lists its key researchers as Doctor Rumor and Professore Rumore, the former of whom expresses an interest in "interpersonal deception." Both investigators also list different forms of art (software art, hardware art, screenshot art) as secondary pursuits.


Among the research projects highlighted on the institute's website are the development of a Perpetual Emotion Machine (sketched out in an animated diagram; screenshot at right) and a Marey Audio Visualizer (presumably named after the French photographer and inventor Etienne-Jules Marey). Another that deserves mention is the field of "Resistentialism", whose founding theory is: "Things are against us." A separate page on Resistentialism opens with a statement whose form hews closely to standard journalistic writing on scientific subjects: "A convenient point of departure is provided by the famous Clark-Trimble experiments of 1935. Clark-Trimble was not primarily a physicist, and his great discovery of the Graduated Hostility of Things was made almost accidentally."

This glossing of conceptual or dadaist art as research, while simultaneously undercutting the claims to science by prankish nomenclature, is typical of one form of fictive art.

Several of the institute webpages feature sepia-tinted photographs of Baroque buildings (see photo at left), presumably intended to signify the institute's home in the real world. A similar strategy of using grandiose civic architecture to solidify the organization's presence is used by other fictive artists, especially those which exist solely on the Net; for example, the Republic of Talossa's website banner  features the facade of a building almost identical to the one at left [1].

It is striking, given this insistence on architectural visibility, that the 'photos' accompanying the institute researchers' biographies are empty frames tagged with the phrase "photo not supplied" (see image at right). The real people who create the institute and its projects remain invisible, while the nonexistent institute building is made visible.

It is suggestive that one of the links on the institute's home page leads to a site entitled "Out of Sync", the home site for artistic collaborators Norie Neumark and Maria Miranda— the latter being someone who has written elsewhere about fictive art (see "links" at top of page). It is hard to avoid the suspicion that Neumark and Marianda are Doctor Rumor and Professore Rumore. (A second link on the institute home page leads to the "Museum of Rumour," a project in "pataphysical research into the study of rumour" whose numerous references to Australian events also point towards the Sydney-based Miranda and Neumark.)

Institute website

1. The Republic of Talossa is a splinter group that seceded from the Kingdom of Talossa micronation, which similarly featured 19th century civic buildings on an earlier incarnation of its website (it now shows more contemporary cityscapes).