Architecture generated from spam

Alex Dragulescu's "Spam Architecture" project designs virtual houses by mapping the content of incoming spam to structural and decorative elements: "he images from the Spam Architecture series are generated by a computer program that accepts as input, junk email. Various patterns, keywords and rhythms found in the text are translated into three-dimensional modeling gestures." Spam Architecture (via Cribcandy)


  1. My first thought was “what happens if you feed normal text into this?”. Sadly, the artist doesn’t seem to have answered this question, or has declined to answer it.

  2. I think it looks like a tricked-out super-bad Borg ship leaving its space hanger. In which case it’s sculpture interpreted as space architecture/ship design.

  3. This isn’t architecture. This is an subjective representation of an internalized translation of received spam. What’s most disappointing is that the exercise is said to be driven by a process, yet doesn’t give any understanding of that process. No diagrams, no drawings, just final images. Very poor execution.

  4. Great catch, Cory!

    This is a very interesting example of a concept that I described in 1997 at ISEA97 (International Symposium of Electronic Arts – held at the Chicago Art Institute). I was on a panel moderated by architect and information design theorist, Peter Anders. In one of my slides, where I took issue with the idea of “data smog” (or the so-called problem of “too much information”) I described how it could be easily transformed through visualization, there by using a much more powerful part of our brains (the visual cortex) to process it. One of the examples I used was how it was unnecessary to “filter away” unwanted information, and how instead it could be transformed into something that could drive visualization.

    My visual example was using spam to create a terraformed landscape of grass, trees, and other vegetation. Wanted or valid information (email in this example) would then float within that environment and be visually differentiated from it.

  5. The results of generative art processes like this really have less to do with the nature of the triggering content (i.e., spam) and more to do with the algorithms that the artist wrote to generate the artwork based on the input.

  6. Does anyone know if there is a genuine method for ‘recycling’ email spam? Is there anything that can be done with it aside from deleting it to create a little space?

  7. Junk can be stripped down to its raw state and heat-dumped somewhere. It’s a huge waste. Electrons and photons are being wasted. They could be assimilated by more intrusive systems oversite-ware.

  8. Thanks, Jeff.
    I was a little afraid I would get a response I couldn’t comprehend.
    I get the photon and electron waste part.

  9. Anthony, I think Jeff was pulling your leg.

    There isn’t anything else you can do with spam, in an environmental recycling sense. It’s just 1s and 0s on a server being flipped in different orders — there isn’t anything *there* to be recycled.

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