Like most people who use the Internet, I receive hundreds of spam messages every month. Unlike other people, however, I don’t view spam as wasted words to discard and never read again. For me, my Inbox is a kind of virtual social arena; what better material to re-purpose than the glut of electronic detritus that no one needs?
SPAMspace features the subject lines from actual spam messages I received in five e-mail Inboxes over the course of three years. I took a tiny fraction of them, designed them into stripes of color, and divided them into 7 sets—one for each day of the week. They read, horizontally, on their side, like graphs. By upending them, I’m more able to take control of their message, while still preserving their found texts.
Consider for a moment that some physical person wrote these ridiculous lines in the hopes of commanding my attention: “Satisfy her!”; “Inspiring news for you and your lover”; “Double your size, triple your pleasure.” Their marketing skills are clear; their playing of the law of averages, savvy. If only a tiny percentage of the (literally) 6 billion spam messages sent out every day gets a response, then their effort will pay off. These sentences I collected I found to be funny, in a way. They tell a story of the power of the written word to seduce; they also create a new landscape of the time we live in: a time of an Internet without outside regulation, of invaded privacy, of the perils and and freedoms we’re trying to cope with daily.
I chose sexual spam—but could easily have sampled other types as well. I also purposefully confined myself to employing the same color palette I use in my other seemingly more “high” fine-art work (paintings, animated videos, prints). SPAMspace is designed to fit the space at hand; it travels across walls, and climbs up from floors. Perhaps one day its creative energies (and endlessly modular forms) will invade the gallery space in a positive way, counteracting all the negative energy generated by the angry deletion of spam after spam after…spam.