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June 23, 2007

The Spam Oracle

When you cut into the present, the future leaks out.

"In 1959 Brion Gysin said that writing is 50 years behind painting, and applied the montage technique to words on a page ... Brion copied out phrases from newspapers and magazines, then took his scissors and cut these selections into pieces and re-arranged the fragments at random." – William Burroughs, Naropa Institute, 1976

In the late 1950s Beat writers William Burroughs and Brion Gysin discovered that "when you experiment with cut-ups over a period of time, you find that some of the cut-ups and re-arranged texts seem to refer to future events." The Spam Oracle brings the cut-up technique forward another 50 years, applying it not to the coherent world of linear, conventional texts, but to the increasingly bizarre universe of filter-dodging spam emails. What happens when these emails – already works of cultural pastiche in and of themselves – are cut up and randomly remixed? In what ways does the evolution of spam as an adaptive mash-up medium reflect who we are and where we're headed?

Ask The Spam Oracle a question, or tell it what's on your mind, and discover what secrets lurk between the lines. An ongoing piece by multimedia artist Jess Kilby, University of Salford Creative Technology program.

Posted by jo at June 23, 2007 11:35 AM