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The Google AdWords Happening
Action on the Internet
2002
Christophe Bruno

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In April 2002, Christophe Bruno embarked on what he described as a happening on the Web, which consisted of the launch of an advertising campaign using the Google AdWords tool. He opened an account with $5 and began to upload the campaigns associated with certain key words. For each of these words one was allowed to write a brief text which was given the format, or rather the category, of a "poem".
The action, which lasted 24 hours and in which poems were read by 12,000 people, finished when Google ended the campaign without giving much explanation, except what can be read in the ambiguous contract terms.
The distribution of poems as if they were a commodity, poems with the format of a classified advertisement on the net, posed a series of new situations: the problem of finding the reader has been reversed, as it is the reader who finds the poem, and he does it with the words that he himself searches for. Although perhaps we should talk of serendipity, for what he finds will not be exactly what he was searching for. Or of à la carte poetry with a sprinkling of cut-up.

We are also witnessing a new way of thinking about censorship. The happening ended by being censured by the market and the reasons for this were not aesthetic, moral, nor political: if it doesn't sell it is not useful and should disappear from the system and hand over its place to more efficient, more successful, bigger sellers.

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