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STUB CRUFT (rush limbaugh redux)
Wednesday June 15 2016
part 1 of 3

amazing  system now everything now
amazing  system now everything
amazing  Orlando LEAST  everything
part 2 of 3
they red
they red red apparent abiding apparent
they red red apparent abiding
they red
they red
they red
they  law WHEN red abiding
part 3 of 3
poll stopping
poll stopping World said acquiring said
poll stopping World said acquiring
poll stopping
poll stopping
poll stopping
poll  everybody PERMITTED stopping acquiring

Stub Cruft (rush limbaugh redux)

This algorithm begins by downloading and editing the daily quotes from Rush Limbaugh's talk radio show, and a selection of individual words are composed into the Stub Cruft. A computer synthesised voice gives a daily reading of the Stub Cruft recorded as an MP3 file and documented as a text file and an audio file. The resulting collaborative poem between myself and Rush Limbaugh uses repetition to emphasis the vocabulary used on his radio program, while at the same time the computer voice struggles and sometimes fails to correctly pronounce the words. The resulting poetry fragment then requires the viewer to fill in the gaps to actively complete the overall narrative.

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

Further Resources

Six October Days
A selection of Stub Cruft from October, 2010
printed as an unlimited edition artist book.
View Six October Days