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Sculpted by email and spam

By Regine

E-mail Erosion automatically creates sculptures, using spam and e-mail as data to trigger the sculpting process.

The work, viewable via four webcams, consists of a powder-coat steel frame. Each of its sides has a "bot" which can move to any point on the side’s face, working much like a flat-bed plotter. The bots can also squirt water into the frame, causing a section of a large block of the starch-based styrofoam to dissolve.

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Each of the bots is associated with an e-mail address. When e-mail is received by a bot, it either moves or squirts water, according to an algorithm that uses the e-mail’s content as input data. The bots email a response to every email received, but limit their move/squirt actions to once a day for each address from which they receive email.

People visiting the website will be invited to email the bots. E-mail will also be generated by putting the bots’ addresses on mailing lists and in places likely to be picked up by spammers.

At the end of the show (up and running in February 2006), the remaining foam, if any, is a finished sculpture.

Commissioned by Rhizome to Annie Brissenden, Tony Muilenburg and Ethan Ham.

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