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[- spam does dada, dada does spam.
By saul, Section whatever...
Posted on Fri Jun 20th, 2003 at 06:52:11 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME
Have you noticed those strange little unpronouncable words in the subject lines and bodies of your spam?

Is this just the latest devious trick to avoid automated spam filters, or is the 'spamming community' ;) getting in touch with it's dada/concrete poetry cultural heritage?


[ --------------------------------------------- ]

Legislation planned for October this year will make spamming illegal - although the proposed regulation mechanisms are still hazy to say the least (see

So as the spam shakedown approaches, are we in danger of loosing a valuable and unlauded cultural artefact?

In the mailing list wars of the last few years prolific posters of ascii-art and tangental, vivid musings (you know them: integer, mez, fmadre, portculus, sondheim et al.) have often been labelled 'spammers' and excluded from lists where they and their detractors have caused merry hell with endless arguments about censorship.

The form and tone of their emails (and in some cases, the self-promotional intention behind them) bears much resemblance to the spam flood - although it's re-contextualised (elevated?) as art and usually directed at communication hubs such as mailing lists rather than mass-emailed to everyone@everywhere. They need public spaces to flourish, whereas the spammers seem to try to infiltrate private channels (the 'enlarge your penis' shop might not get so many visitors if it was prominently situated in the shopping mall I suppose)

The cascade of strange ASCII characters and fractured, desiccated language from the art-spammers (I'm not using that term pejoratively here, I actually quite like them) could originate from the garbled, badly-implemented character translations of pre-unicode days. Spam sent in one character set would appear in another linguistic context all spazzed out - full of puncuation and obscure characters. So the spam-artists appropriated this aesthetic - merging it with the forms and intentions of concrete poetry, dada and other typographic transgressions. To paraphlays an old truism: Art imitates Spam.

But with this latest development in the spam world - the use of random assemblages of characters to fool the spam filters, the appropriation seems to be moving in the opposite direction. Spam imitates Art.

There is clearly an argument for preservation of these cultural artefacts. Florian Cramer has been doing a sterling job of art-spam preservation with the 'unstable digest' ( now that nettime-bold is sadly out of commission, this may now be the only place left to find nettime's particularly ferocious spam-art culture.

And the real spam? The unmediated low-culture commodity? Where is that being preserved? Who is going to love it now?

There are a number of resources I have collected - please add more:

- Spam Radio -

Brainchild of the network, Spamradio streams the spam it recieves, set to generative music 24 hours a day. Although one of Spamradio's founders Ian Morrison claims they are doing this as a campaign against spam, I think they secretly love it for its dadaness.

- - home of spam art

- nettime interview with Frederic Madre - one of the original spamlovers.

- Splang -

The 'Splang' Category of the - a place to preserve the strange little neologisms used in spam subject lines to confuse anti-spam filters.

[ --------------------------------------------- ]

spam does dada, dada does spam. | 6 comments
[new] pneumatic (Avg. Score: none / Raters: 0) (#5)
by Anonymous Stranger on Wed Oct 20th, 2004 at 03:31:34 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME

Google Placement welding blankets, tadpole tapes, ceramic fiber, ceramic fiber fiberglass ceramic fiber
flashlights flashlights [pneumatic][pneumatic][solenoid valve][pneumaticr] fiberglass [pneumatic components][air source treatment unit] [GOOGLE排名] fiberglass [网站建设] [免费电影] [在线试听] fiberglass [壁纸] [桌面]

[new] pneumatic (Avg. Score: none / Raters: 0) (#4)
by Anonymous Stranger on Wed Oct 20th, 2004 at 03:28:35 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME

Google Placement welding blankets, tadpole tapes, ceramic fiber, ceramic fiber fiberglass ceramic fiber
flashlights flashlights [pneumatic][pneumatic][solenoid valve][pneumaticr] fiberglass [pneumatic components][air source treatment unit] [GOOGLE排名] fiberglass [网站建设] [免费电影] [在线试听] fiberglass [壁纸] [桌面]

[new] A return of censored art? (Avg. Score: none / Raters: 0) (#3)
by Aileen on Sat Jul 5th, 2003 at 03:27:19 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME
(User Info)

Looking at the messages in my inbox that made it through the spam filter over night and thinking about the legislated filtering in Amy's post on librarians, I started wondering how soon it might become illegal for minors to have their own e-mail addresses, in order to "protect" them from exposure to pornography.
Sometimes I find it amusing to look at spam messages to try to figure out how they got through the filter this time, sometimes I'm just annoyed to find myself confronted with someone else's uninteresting fantasies about sex and money, but most of the time I just wonder what the point is - especially when small organizations suddenly find themselves blacklisted and unable to communicate with the "rest of the world", because someone has been using their server to send spam. So much effort and creativity appears to go into finding ways to get spam out to as many addresses as possible - as working material for art projects it might be interesting, but is that really the point? I find myself increasingly intrigued by the question of who expends that much effort and why. Are spammers "real" people? Why do they do it?

[new] other spam projects (Avg. Score: none / Raters: 0) (#1)
by amy on Fri Jun 20th, 2003 at 10:33:13 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME
(User Info)

there used to be a project called "c-spam" in the late 90's in which users could forward their spam to a central address, where it was added to everyone else's spam, which continuously scrolled by on the site while majestic music played. (a takeoff on the c-span cable network, which existed (exists?) in the US and did just about that with information from congress, as i recall.)

however, searching for c-spam now, i come up instead with this project. which i don't quite understand, and doesn't relate directly to spam, but it's kind of funny at least.

seems to me there were some other spam projects floating around that were not presented as "art" projects, but did interesting things with spam, like picking out keywords in an eliza-like fashion and sending psychotic replies to the senders... anyone recall/have links to any of those?

# begin amy's sig
-- Discordia is nice.
# end amy's sig

  • thank you by Anonymous Stranger, 10/31/2004 07:20:40 AM EURODISCORDIA TIME (none / 0)
  • __/\__ by TreborScholz, 06/21/2003 10:04:47 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME (none / 0)
spam does dada, dada does spam. | 6 comments

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