On Spam, business proposal – urban spam tag

On Spam

With the work “On Spam, Business Proposal” Niels Post documents the urban intervention he acted in Brussels with a photographs series . For this action the artist has selected some of the most effective phrases contained in the commercial spam messages, the ones that claim incredible and superfast chances for personal gain. He printed these on adhesive vinyl, sticking them on the windows of abandoned shops all around the city. In the resulting pictures, the effect of these messages that triumph over the windows of totally empty spaces is alienating. Reading more carefully, the sentences suddenly become familiar and in a few minutes it’s easy to definitively recognize the origin of the phrases. The communication strategies in textual form typical of the spam mails have been the subject of many artistic actions that have used their enigmatic appeal. A decontextualization similar to the one made by Niels Post is “Spamshirt”, where slogans taken from the typical “subject” of the spam messages were ironically printed on some shirts, using as a complaint the captivating strength of the words born for seducing and tricking. But in the case of “On Spam, business proposal” this transposition is more representative than subversive. The artist does not transform textual data, neither does he reverse their peculiar characteristics for other purposes. He just superimposes them as a tag on the image that represents the real idea of a spam mail: a sign that invites you into a nonexistent business and a completely empty shop. Here is a staging that due to the current economic crisis is even more bitter and mocking.
Chiara Ciociola