Art Art and Technology Culture Criticism Observations Video

El Secreto la Pelicula (aka The Biggest Piece of Spam I’ve ever received)

Click me! Then click again to maximize the image.

One of the most intriguing things about the world-wide web is its virtual tumbleweed of randomness (aka Spam messaging). In the past couple of days, I received about 20+ spam messages in my WordPress Comment Inbox BUT this one in particular intrigued me. First, I have a strange fascination with its length. Quite frankly, I can’t help but look at it. I don’t dare read it word for word but what would happen if I did? Or, reading parts versus the whole? It’s not the humdrum message about lengthening my non-existent penis or discount drugs. It’s, literally, a hodge podge of nothingness (two smilies in tow) and you know what, I kinda dig it. You’re probably thinking I’m crazy but there’s something about the modern-day ‘junk’ mail and virtual clutter we receive that really makes me wonder – where does it all come from?

I’m also reminded of video work, New News, by art collective/performers, What We Know So Far. Then again, what doesn’t remind me of art?

The pseudo news reporting is actually text from spam e-mail messages. You have to listen carefully but isn’t it strange how it seems, looks, and feels like a legitimate news cast? Now, imagine watching news in a foreign language. Would there be something particularly meaningful to you? Probably not because you wouldn’t know what is being communicated but what visual cues give way to its importance or unimportance? Anyway, this is why I enjoy work such as New News. It’s a great commentary on culture, media, and our collective attention spans.

New News from Mike Rugnetta on Vimeo.

Enjoy, reflect, and feel free to comment on this [random, non sequitur] use of language.

By Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina American writer, artist, and educator whose academic and research interests include feminist media histories, critical medical anthropology, technology, race, and ethics. She is a Ph.D. student in Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz as a Eugene V. Cota-Robles fellow. She received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts and holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco. Her work as been exhibited at Ars Electronica, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the GLBT Historical Society.

Her writing appears in art21, Art in America, Ars Technica, Hyperallergic, Rhizome, Vice Motherboard, and SF MOMA’s Open Space. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture. She is a co-founder of REFRESH, a politically-engaged art and curatorial collective and serves as the Executive Director for the Processing Foundation.

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