What Spam Means to Network Situationism

Abstract (in English): 

In this essay we describe and theorize upon a spam data set hidden in the source code of HTML pages at the Bureau of Public Secrets, a website housing English translations of the Situationist manifestos and communiqués.

We attempt to build upon a fruitful coincidence: what happens when internet interventionists, “code taggers” on a lucrative Spam mission, meet interventionists of the analog era, Situationist "wall taggers”? The textuality of both groups is aimed at reaching efficiency in a networked structure, be it socially or algorithmically coded; both engage a material and performative inscription so as to activate their discourse (i.e. to make it more efficient).

We witness the action of a mode of writing modeled on graffiti and following the Situationist axiom: “Slogans To Be Spread Now By Every Means.” By focusing on the comparable gesture of verbal propagation (slogans and spam lexicon as social viruses) and the instructional performativity of these texts, we trace a set of theories based on the fiction that Spammers and Situationists have appropriated one another’s tactics.

(Source: Authors' introduction)

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Scott Rettberg