Home / Work / Core Sample #1 Collection

This collection is a core sample of Cruft & Elegy to the American Republic images.

a suite of cruft images that are a core sample

Download...  Print...  Share...

Download high resolution "Core Sample #1 Collection" (23 Megs)


I write 'recipes' (also known as an algorithm), an automated system then follows my instructions, first harvesting selected source material from the Internet and then processing that information into a CRUFT, generating images 24 hours a day.

Updated 15 minutes past the hour.
This cruft algorithm extracts images from the NYtimes home page once every hour. The images from this page are then manipulated to generate the three panel overlapping cruft. Over time the changes or lack of change seen in the crufts reflect the news cycle of the NYtimes.com site.

Hourly Cruft
01.hourly.jpg created 03/28/04 at 15:15

Hourly Cruft
02.hourly.jpg created 11/22/04 at 16:15
View the most recent Hourly Cruft

An image is created at 5:35 and 11:35 AM & PM EST.
This cruft algorithm extracts images from the CNN home page once every eight hours. The headline text is parsed, and the images from this page are then enlarged, cropped and turned into grayscale. The text is then pasted into the red fields generating the final cruft.

Premise Cruft
03.premise.jpg created 09/14/06 at 11:35
View the most recent Premise Cruft

An image is created 26 minutes past the hour.
This cruft algorithm extracts an image from the Whitehouse.gov, and the Aljazeera.com homepage once every hour. These images are then altered to generate a composite cruft creating a simultaneous self-portrait of both Washington and the Arab world.

Mire Cruft
04.mire.jpg created 09/14/06 at 12:26

Mire Cruft
05.mire.jpg created 01/01/07 at 22:26
View the most recent Mire Cruft

An image is created at 6:34 AM EST.
Two images are extracted from the Catholic.org homepage, one from the International News, and one from the U.S. National News. These images are cropped, the color range limited and a composite image is produced that includes a biblical verse parsed from the Biblegateway.com website.

Tenet Cruft
06.tenet.jpg created 07/10/05 at 06:34

Tenet Cruft
07.tenet.jpg created 07/26/05 at 06:34
View the most recent Tenet Cruft

An image is created at eight minutes past the hour.
This cruft algorithm extracts an image from the CNN home page once every hour as a snapshot of current events. Color and contrast is manipulated. The image is then collated and combined with images from the previous 23 hours. Recent events are in the foreground with past events receding from view.

Twenty Four Cruft
08.twentyfour.jpg created 05/16/05 at 08:08

Twenty Four Cruft
09.twentyfour.jpg created 05/26/05 at 16:08
View the most recent Twenty Four Cruft

Updated at 7:58 and 1:58 AM & PM EST.
Using data that is collected from Yahoo! search log files, these terms are the most searched subjects from 2 days past (Tuesday-Saturday). One subject is used in a new search query on Yahoo! image search. From the results an image is selected and combined with the current threat advisory from the Department of Homeland Security, the total number of Department of Defense confirmed American dead in Iraq as well as the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline to generate the Jaw-Grind Cruft.

Jawgrind Cruft
10.jawgrind.jpg created 11/25/06 at 01:58
View the most recent Jawgrind Cruft

This cruft process is no longer active.
The archive contains images from the gallery opening on Sept. 30, 2005 Made specifically for the CRUFT exhibit at Manifest Gallery. A camera located in Manifest's main gallery records the behavior of all visitors. A second camera monitors people in New York City walking the streets of Times Square. Still images from both live video feeds are used to create a new composite image. An area of heightened focus is determined and a red linear circle is drawn on the image to emphasis potential security risks. This new image was then uploaded every minute to a secure server and can also be seen at www.robertspahr.com for any interested party or governmental authority to observe.

BigBro Cruft
11.bigbro.jpg created 09/30/05 at 18:26
View the archive of BigBro Cruft

Updated at an undetermined time (approx. 20 min past the hour)
This algorithm calculates the exact time since the beginning of a new era. A webcam located in New York City captures a specific moment as people go about their lives. We simultaneously become voyeurs while viewing an image that preserves a snapshot in time.

Era Cruft
12.era.jpg created 03/02/06 at 13:24
View the most recent Era Cruft

Updated at 8:38 AM EST.
This cruft algorithm extracts an image from the United States Navy site (www.navy.mil) which is then combined with a "Babe of the Day" image on The-Jokes (www.the-jokes.com/) website. The colors are intensified and the composite image is then created.

Wanton Cruft
13.wanton.jpg created 08/09/06 at 08:38

Wanton Cruft
14.wanton.jpg created 10/01/06 at 08:38
View the most recent Wanton Cruft

Updated at 2:19, 5:19, 8:19, 11:19 AM & PM.
This cruft algorithm extracts images from the BBC News home page. These images are altered and cool grays and reds are added to generate this Vermilion Cruft.

Vermilion Cruft
15.vermilion.jpg created 07/22/06 at 14:19

Vermilion Cruft
16.vermilion.jpg created 10/19/06 at 20:19
View the most recent Vermilion Cruft

Updated at 43 minutes past the hour
This cruft algorithm extracts images from the United States Air Force site (www.af.mil) which are then combined with images from Internet sex sites. The images are manipulated and a composite is then created.

Babylon Cruft
17.babylon.jpg created 12/31/05 at 17:43

Babylon Cruft
18.babylon.jpg created 09/18/06 at 21:43
View the most recent Babylon Cruft

This cruft process is no longer active.
These images are 500 x 500 pixels in size.
A collaboration with the Department of Defense produces this cruft by extracting a recent transcript and image from the government web site. (http://www.dod.mil/today/) This image is cropped and combined with a poem that is generated from the text of the transcript.

Prolefeed Cruft
19.prolefeed.jpg created 04/30/06 at 17:36

Prolefeed Cruft
20.prolefeed.jpg created 07/18/06 at 17:36
View the archive of Prolefeed Cruft

CRUFT: Art from Digital Leftovers
My art practice explores 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 auto-generated collage I call Cruft. The resulting digital artwork allows me to investigate broader issues of traditional concepts—such as originality, creativity, authorship and eternal value. This work examines the relentless flow of information on the Internet that quickly becomes digital leftovers to reveal a relationship in which we don't simply consume media, but are also consumed by it.

In response to the intense pace and constant change happening online, my art practice also includes a slower and thoughtful method of applying traditional media such as charcoal, paint, wax and ink, to prints of selected Cruft images. These mixed-media images are created over longer periods of time resulting in a meditative process that subverts the goals of speed, spectacle and distraction, offering an opportunity for slower looking and deeper thinking compared to the crushing overload of an endless stream of automated Cruft.

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. My artwork delves into the very nature of the Internet, pulling at it’s strengths and exposing the flaws, producing what has been coined Post-Internet art, that by definition references the "network" that we all inhabit, and ultimately, it's effects on our society and culture.

My art is a personal inquiry into fundamental questions about our values, ideas, fears and dreams. I am interested in how the humanities and technology shape our individuality and communities, and how the arts and humanities can inspire us to ask who we are and what our lives might mean.

Robert Spahr
Carbondale, IL
September 2019

View Recent Work