77to17 aleatory archaeology (Internet project)

BFA Honours project.

2017 marked the 40 year milestone since 1977 so as a continuation of 77to15, which used Google to manually search 106 dates from the year 1977, and then used the top unique results from these searches as the basis of the project (it was also the genesis of this blog journal), I am revisiting the project to see where else I can take it, or more like, where it can take me.

This project takes place in 2018 and will use the same heuristic strategy as 77to15 but this time to search all 365 dates of the year 1977. To make things more complex I will then search the 100 entities from the 2017 ArtReview Power 100 annual list of the most influential people in the contemporary art world.

The focus this time is on BIG DATA. It’s a project about the Internet, the World Wide Web, computers, AI, and contemporary art. It will look at the artificial systems we create and use on a daily basis without paying much attention to them, such as the calendar, the Net, the Web, and the art world.

The first task then is to search the 465 data items.

This time around I have an algorithm in place before the project begins. Previously I proceeded wholly heuristically, now I will perform the first batch of searches (parameter 1: 1977) in the same way as 77to15.

Using a new Mac with a new user profile and a fresh copy of Safari I will do my searches with Google set to its defaults, and without a user account.

The first SERP


I will collect only the top result and copy that to a plain .txt file, a .rtf file, and a (excel or numbers) spreadsheet.

I will document each SERP (Search Engine Results Page) with a screenshot of the browser window.

Then I will analyse the results: only unique results will be retained any generic/ repetitive results will be discarded.

What determines whether a result is unique or generic may largely be subjective, but I will be looking for patterns not the results I necessarily like the look of.

The results of this first batch of searches (as of 7 March 2018) break down as follows:

Result Number Notes
https://takemeback.to/ x 310 GENERIC/REPETITIVE
https://www.onthisday.com x 26 GENERIC/REPETITIVE
https://en.wikipedia.org x 12 UNIQUE x 9
Repeat x 3
https://mybirthday.ninja x 10 GENERIC/non-specific
https://happyhappybirthday.net x 3 GENERIC/REPETITIVE
www.elvispresleymusic.com.au x 1 No longer Returned**
birthdayscan.com/ x 1 GENERIC/non-specific
https://www.moma.org x 1 UNIQUE
https://www.thehoroscope.co x 1 dead link: 404 error

(**Note:  elvispresleymusic has been discarded as because I could not get it to return again after the initial search)

So the Unique results are:

Wikipedia x 9 (although the site is repetitive the results are unique)

MoMA x 1

MoMA is surprisingly the only completely unique result for the whole year, which is serendipitous considering this is an art project. Note however the work by Gerhard Richter that the site is referencing is the cycle of 15 paintings titled 18. Oktober 1977 which references the events of 18 October 1977 but was actually produced in 1988.

Final results for parameter 1:

Search Number Google Search term Google Search Top Result
18 18 January 1977 Granville rail disaster – Wikipedia


1 Cached

2 Similar

The Granville rail disaster occurred on Tuesday 18 January 1977 at Granville, New South Wales, a western suburb of Sydney when a crowded commuter train derailed, running into the supports of a road bridge that collapsed onto two of the train’s passenger carriages. It remains the worst rail disaster in Australian history  …

Rail line: Main Western line

Deaths: 84

Cause: Maintenance of 4620

Injuries: 213

63 4 March 1977 1977 Vrancea earthquake – Wikipedia


1 Cached

2 Similar

The 1977 Vrancea earthquake occurred on 4 March 1977, at 21:22 local time, and was felt throughout the Balkans. It had a magnitude of 7.2, making it the second most powerful earthquake recorded in Romania in the 20th century, after 10 November 1940 seismic event. The epicenter was situated in the Vrancea …

Damage and casualties · Bulgaria · Aftershocks · Reactions of authorities

86 27 March 1977 Tenerife airport disaster – Wikipedia


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2 Similar

On March 27, 1977, two Boeing 747 passenger jets, KLM Flight 4805 and Pan Am Flight 1736, collided on the runway at Los Rodeos Airport (now Tenerife North Airport), on the Spanish island of Tenerife, Canary Islands, killing 583 people, and making it the deadliest accident in aviation history. A terrorist incident at Gran …

Eve Meyer · List of aircraft accidents and … · Jacob Veldhuyzen van Zanten

121 1 May 1977 Taksim Square massacre – Wikipedia


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The Taksim Square massacre (Turkish: Kanlı 1 Mayıs) relates to the incidents on 1 May 1977, the international Labour Day on Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey. The event came within the scope of the wave of political violence in Turkey of the late 1970s.

Background · The event · Legal measures · Assailants: Counter …

186 5 July 1977 Operation Fair Play – Wikipedia


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2 Similar

Operation Fair Play was the code name for the 5 July 1977 coup by Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, overthrowing the government of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The coup itself was bloodless, and was preceded by social unrest and political conflict between the ruling leftist Pakistan …

Executed by: 111th Brigade, X Corps

Planned by: General Headquarters (GHQ)

Date: 4 July 1977

Location: Prime Minister Secretariat, Islamabad

194 13 July 1977 New York City blackout of 1977 – Wikipedia


1 Cached

2 Similar

The New York City blackout of 1977 was an electricity blackout that affected most of New York City on July 13–14, 1977.

Timeline · Effects · References

227 15 August 1977 Wow! signal – Wikipedia


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2 Similar

signal was a strong narrowband radio signal received on August 15, 1977, by Ohio State University’s Big Ear radio telescope in the United States, then used to support the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Ohio State University Radio … · SHGb02+14a · Tau Sagittarii · Fast radio burst

263 20 September 1977 The Petrozavodsk phenomenon was a series of celestial events of a disputed nature that occurred on September 20, 1977. The sightings were reported over a vast territory, from Copenhagen and Helsinki in the west to Vladivostok in the east.

Petrozavodsk phenomenon – Wikipedia


291 18 October 1977 Gerhard Richter. October 18, 1977. 1988 | MoMA


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2 Similar

The fifteen paintings that compose October 18, 1977 are based on photographs of moments in the lives and deaths of four members of the Red Army Faction ( RAF), a German left-wing terrorist group that perpetrated a number of kidnappings and killings throughout the 1970s. Like On Kawara’s date paintings, these …

330 26 November 1977 Southern Television broadcast interruption – Wikipedia


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2 Similar

The Southern Television broadcast interruption was a broadcast interruption through the Hannington transmitter of the Independent Broadcasting Authority in the United Kingdom at 5:10 p.m. on 26 November 1977. The broadcast message is generally considered to be a hoax, but the identity of the hijacker is unknown.

Description · Explanation · Public and media response · Transcript

Summary (Rabbit Holes):

  • Rail Disaster
  • Earthquake
  • Airport Disaster
  • Massacre
  • Military Coup
  • Blackout
  • Interstellar Radio Signal
  • Phenomenon
  • Art (Painting)
  • TV Broadcast Hijack


Note that the original 77to15 has a few more subjects to explore. The excluded entries from 2015 are:

  • Star Death (3: 16 August 1977 – 16.08.1977 Elvis Presley Died)
  • Capital Punishment (4: 10 September 1977 – Hamida Djandoubi)
  • Extrajudicial Death (5: 12 September 1977 – Steve Biko)
  • Airplane Crash (7: 20 October 1977 – 1977 Convair CV-300 crash)

When we look at all or the entries and analyse the themes what are the underlying areas of interest, really?