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“LOCAL” Test: November 15, 2002

Houston Texas

The American Studies National Conference : “The Local and the Global”



Local population: participants at the national conference of the American Studies Association who were also American citizens. Participants came to Houston from around the United States and various other countries. They were given our test kit; some executed the test on site, some took the kit home and mailed the test results back.


Local context: the conference theme was “The Local and the Global”

Many panels were concerned with issues of home, country, citizenship and nation, as well as the ways in which power is locally and globally expressed. Our Test was intended to invite the participants, mostly scholars, to engage with the notion of locality using the body as a material vehicle, and considering the mouth as the origin of language. They were asked to spell the word “LOCAL” using their mouths and gumi letters, thus attempting to reconstitute themselves as “locals”.


Test kit contents: gumi letters, instruction card, latex glove, paper bib, stickers.


Test Instructions:

Thank you for choosing to participate in this installment of the Elastic Test Project. Your participation is greatly appreciated, as it will help establish a local standard against which to measure the foreign petitioner.


1.     Read all instructions on this LOCAL Test board carefully before beginning the test

2.     Put on LOCAL Test bib and gloves; make sure your test board is free of clutter and your test area is clean.

3.     Remove protective cover from LOCAL Test letter set.

4.     One by one, insert each gumi letter into your mouth. Do not chew. Do not swallow. Do not choke. Do not proceed to step 5 until all 5 letters have been placed completely inside your mouth.

5.     Using only your tongue, lips and teeth, try to identify the first letter in the word LOCAL. When you think you have identified the first letter, extract it from your mouth and place it in the space below marked “Box #1”. Continue with the second letter, and so on, until you have removed all the letters from your mouth and placed them in the boxes marked below. Make sure to place the second letter in Box #2, the third letter in Box #3 etc, even if they are not the correct letters in the word LOCAL.

6.     Cover letters with protective covering, and fold LOCAL Test board over letters. Place in postage paid envelope, and mail in for processing.

7.     Measurements will take into account the standard deviation between the word LOCAL as it enters the mouth, and the results of the extraction as evidenced in the boxes below.



Box #1






Box #2







Box #3






Box #4






Box #5













Ingestion of gummi language may cause serious physical and psychological injuries including, but not limited to, choking, diabetic shock, writer’s block, asphyxiation, sudden death, verbal diarrhea, linguistic confusion, loss of appetite, depression, loss of poetic license, plagiarism, compassion fatigue. The Elastic Test Project claims no responsibility for any injury or condition resulting from voluntary participation in this procedure. Statements about this testing procedure and its effects on immigration statutes have not been evaluated by the INS, FDA, MLA or ASA.