User:Andre Castro/2/Transmedial/spam transmedial

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How to create writing and hybrid media publications from your junk mail folder.

Drawing from a spam database, create a work that highlights characteristic aspects of spam emails.


  • How can spam be re-published whiles maintaining its networked aspect?
    • Bestiary: can these characters forge any type of relation? Can the relationships they had in the spam be preserved when entered into the book?

  • Can the other renditions of spam make its characteristic elements more apparent? Can the re-published forms guide our attention to look at spam as more than junk?

  • What publishing strategies best allow for both the networked and the formal nature of spam to be present?

  • why is spam interesting?
    • Spam uses artistic (literary) strategies to enticing and captivating the reader. However no artistic recognition is expected, but a monetary reward. Literature as a money making machine
    • Employed literary strategies are both unexpected and unusual: case of misspellings
    • is quite formal: functions can be isolated that than filled with characters and their actions
    • mixes fiction and reality, but all is presented as factual.
      • real existing characters, often referred in the mass-media are often chosen to fulfill the role of the character who dies living behind a large sum of money
      • the spam message in which they are mentioned often adds clues to the relationships and history of this deceased character.


What do we intend to get out of the workshop?

  • new insights of what elements are specific to spam.
  • concepts/prototypes for spam publishing that:
    • avoid its crystallization
    • are able to put forward and networked and evolving nature.
  • end the workshop with a tangible outcome,: a pdf to be printed on demand



Structure for the 2 hours 12-14

  • 20min introduction
    • Quick and broad presentation of the workshop
    • Silvio examples of art projects that deal with spam
    • Andre introduction to the spam-database, and some of his points of interest in spam
  • 40min browse the spam db/junk mail folder; (Rule 1,2)
    • Identifying aspects that will help you in the portrait;
  • 20min hear participants about their choice and implementation idea
  • 30min implement the portrait
  • 10min for feedback

  • 15 - pipe mail system will be working.

The Bestiary

Technical necessities

  • scanner - andre's friend boroughs 1
  • printer - Eleanor asked for 1 (has to check in printing doesn't conflict)
  • pen knife - buy 1
  • ruler - andre's friend boroughs 1

Meeting w/ florian

pipe mail system

A pipe mailing system that will be in place in TM. This is based on a system for exchange of messages that existed in Berlin in 1950s.

Spam can circulate through this system.

  • email - Lukas Grundmann - tech person - email him about wanting to use the pipe mail system;


  • make it a bit of competive element to make it speed up

Other workshop possibilities

spammers give away spam and resort to postcards

Participants take the role of spammers who decided on embrace a different medium for their scams: Postcards Based on existing spam messages the participant will write postcards that try to lure the recipient into providing them personal data or money. The existing database will be used a resource for:

  • detection of the strategies used by spammers to succeed in their scams:
    • employment of actual individuals as character of their messages
    • creation believable scenarios, intimate and confessional mode of address
    • resource to one's greed or compassion, employment of stereotypes, such as African's being corrupt, poor, or extremely religious)
  • rich characters to be found
    • + about characters ...
  • catchy and convincing sentences ready to be written into a postcard.

the narratives described in spam, through their characters=

  • As the same character might appear in a more than 1 one email
  • As characters are often actual living(or dead) characters
  • As they are often famous and with a large presence in the media
  • They are related to other characters outside the spam narratives

Characters' profiles can be drawn in great detail. And they can be interconnected to those related to them (both in spam narratives and in real-life). Such well web of strong characters opens up the possibility for re-writing the narrative between this characters


  • what form to publish this network of characters so that their interconnections become apparent?
  • how does it allow expansion, speculation, for narratives to emerge from the vision of characters' relations?
  • could this be a final published object or it could be a intermediary to another publication.

the formulistic nature of spam

Spam's language and structure is quite identifiable. It reaffirms and repeats itself in almost every spam email.

With All Due Respect My name is morgan ashante am the manager of auditing and accounting department International commercial bank

I pray this proposal meet your kind co-operation. I am Mr. Mphilo Dlamini, the service Director/ Account Unit of First National Bank of South Africa.

My name is Mrs.Sonia Murphy am the manager of auditing and accounting department International commercial bank

My Name is Mrs.Janet Andrea. I am a dying woman who has decided to donate all that I have to charity through you.

My Name is Mr. Peter i am writing you this short note based on the latest development at my bank

What could be a publishing solution that would put a focus on this formulistic aspect o spam?

  • create head-body-and-legs with these sentences

For example:

  • Head-chest-legs book - idea is already too specific. It doesn't allow much development.
  • A character investigation/narrative a broader proposal:
    • the proposal could be: pick a character referred to in spam emails;
    • draw a portrait of that character, either by images, texts (found or created then)
    • how can this portraits be assembled together, as one whole? Into a pdf?