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Dirge Cruft

Everyday this cruft uses recent information located on the website of the Department of Homeland Security. The latest security information is downloaded and combined with the name of the current season, as well as words associated with that time of year. All of these words are arranged in a kind of poem/haiku/dirge and uploaded to this page.

Mission Statement: Department of Homeland Security

Homeland Security Act of 2002

Title I - Department of Homeland Security
Sec. 101. Executive Department; Mission

(a) Establishment. - "There is established a Department of Homeland Security, as an executive department of the United States within the meaning of title 5, United States Code.
(b) Mission
(1) In General. - The primary mission of the Department is to
(A) prevent terrorist attacks within the United States;
(B) reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism; and
(C) minimize the damage, and assist in the recovery, from terrorist attacks that do occur within the United States."

From the Homeland Security Act of 2002

Read the entire text of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (PDF, 187 pages - 526 KB).


CRUFT: Art from Digital Leftovers

The Internet has the ability to provide freedom by connecting us at great distances, democratizing the world's knowledge, and facilitating disruption and resistance to systems of power. It can also simultaneously provide control by restricting and regulating our thoughts and actions while propagating fear, divisiveness, surveillance and repression.

The relentless flow of information on the Internet that soon becomes digital leftovers is examined by my art practice to reveal a relationship in which we don't simply consume media, but are also consumed by it. I explore the Internet as source material to be appropriated, taken apart, juxtaposed, and recycled by writing computer code that is automated and runs on a 24/7 schedule producing a form of collage I call Cruft. The resulting artwork allows me to explore broader issues of originality, authorship, reproduction and temporality.

Social media platforms encourage divisiveness and Internet search results push us toward tribalized extremes. We have become addicted to our screens and are now captive to our Google / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon echo chambers. In response to the intense pace and constant change happening online, my art practice includes a slower and thoughtful method of applying traditional media such as charcoal, paint, wax and ink, to prints of selected Cruft images. These analog images offer the opportunity for slower looking and deeper thinking compared to the crushing overload of an endless stream of Cruft produced by automated computer processes. The analog art is created over longer periods of time resulting in a meditative process that subverts the goals of speed, spectacle and distraction as presented by social media and the Internet. My work explores the nature of the Internet, it's strengths and failures, producing a post-Internet art that reflects the networks effect on our society and culture.

Robert Spahr
Carbondale, IL
August 2018