Monday, September 17, 2007

Author's Note (Blogging Spam Art)

From the intro to 29 Inches:
One day, I opened up an email which was clearly spam, but what was not clear was why they were sending it to me. They were not trying to sell me anything. The only language inside the body of the email was a random assortment of words that looked to me like a bad William Burroughs cut-up.

But the more I looked at this email, and the others like it that were to follow, the more I began to focus on them and their aesthetic potential. They were much more interesting to read than the glut of supposedly non-spam emails I was receiving on a regular basis from the various bureaucratic institutions I am somehow still tethered to.

This immediately set up a creative challenge for me, one that would test my ability to riff off of these invasive emails in a way that would reposition my relationship with the endless amounts of spam that successfully evaded my spam filter.

The odd language poetry that these emails contained set me off in a direction that I have found helps me deal with spam. Instead of being pissed off by it all, now I USE it as a component in the emotional alchemy I process when writing my fictional verse. Consequently, the new work, entitled 29 Inches, is an homage to the most hyperbolic email spam I have ever received on the subject of penis enlargement.

In 29 Inches, irrelevant email becomes relevant source material, a gift from the Spam Gods.
This is one of the most free-flowing art projects I have created in years. I did not even need to be inspired by the Muses which is such a clichéd way of viewing creativity anyway. Rather, I awoke each day excitedly anticipating the coming of my morning bowl of spam so that I could then reconfigure my narrative improvisationally on a minute by minute basis. If a spam email had the words "bram cork" located in a string of seemingly disconnected words, then that was fine with me. Bram Cork became my leading actor, my telematic agent, my word-being ready to be deployed as artificial (language) disseminator.

As Bram himself asks somewhere in the middle of the 148 page rant:
What kind of spamotic or spazmotic langue
would seep through the professionally calculated
and administratively managed filters?

Mine is called spamprobe and just today has outlawed
310 potential terrorists.

One of the terrorists presented himself as
What you need is something I got
and as much as I know I don’t need it
I still click to see what it is
and sure enough for a mere 15 dollars a month
I can have it, what I need, what I desperately need,
to feel like Supeermaaaaaan in Beed!
Along the way, Bram and his partner Kendall take into account the Web 2.0 "universe of technical pictures" they live in, and hybridize it with various other forms of offline media and performance art spectacle cum digital poetics. The language of the novel then releases an explosive mock poetry jam session that at once pays tribute to great works like William Carlos Williams' Paterson and Ed Dorn's Gunslinger but that riffs on everything from blogging, web cams, VJing, and net art, to new age mysticism, "latent" media theory, radical environmentalism, and major drug experimentation with a few digressions into the state of contemporary Big Pharma warfare (do you want your Viagra chemically dosed from Pfizer or would you rather go with the more homeopathic, organic variety that rises high above it all?).

In a previous post, I suggested that
The various flux personas [characters] populating the novel end up sounding like a cross between poetic net.artniks and schizo hallucinating "babel-rousers." As I said in the PIMP interview, in this case, the "spam is infectious, a viral meme that makes them [the characters of 29 Inches] speak a language called – well, SPAM – which they share with others who then become infected with it and end up speaking it too" (I'll let you decide if it has any resonance with our contemporary digital culture and the "come-on" mentality of our commodified existences in 21st century life).

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