The account used, @Horse_ebooks, was originally automated by a spammer to sell low-quality spam ebooks on topics as varied as winning the lottery, seducing attractive women, curing cancer with everyday products, building a tool shed for cheap, and trading foreign currency on money markets. Like a spam email subject, links to paid downloads were always interspersed with random excerpts pulled from the corpus of available spam, as posting only links would have made the account easier for Twitter's spam filters to catch.
For the duration of the piece, I posted spam messages once every two to three hours, mirroring the account's earlier automation schedule. Nothing posted to the account was written by me, but rather taken from existing literature, usually spam. The output of the performance can be described as a narrative poem.
The piece explores deliberate action versus automatic action, the passage of time and the creation of data, and posthuman/corporate storytelling.
Horse_ebooks is the partner piece to Pronunciation Book, and both concluded with the debut of Bear Stearns Bravo during the gallery show Bravospam in September 2013.
An iterative performance piece, Horse_ebooks 2, took place at Bravospam. During an 11-hour performance, co-artist Thomas Bender and I read short spam messages to callers.
"Man And Machine" - Susan Orlean for The New Yorker
"Everyone Just Wants A Good Love Story" - Soraya King for The Guardian
ANIMAL Interview (text and video)
"@Horse_Ebooks Is The Most Successful Piece Of Cyber Fiction, Ever" - The Atlantic
"The Human Behind A Favorite Spambot" - The New York Times
New York Magazine Approval Matrix for October 7, 2013 - New York Magazine
"So What If Horse_ebooks Was Human? It Was Brilliant." - Slate
"Horse_ebooks Is A Human Performance" - The Verge
"Human After All" - The New Yorker