Niels Post

Internet spam is the main source material for most of Post’s projects. Niels Post uses it to create wall-sculptures, large-scale installations and interventions both outside on the street and inside in exhibition settings. Sometimes they are site-specific, sometimes site-adjustable.

Before spam Post already had a longtime fascination for text as image. Though visually attractive he finds texts used in visual art often to be quite poetic, narrative, philosophical, political or humorous. Therefore he was searching for a type of text that didn’t have these associations: a sort of ready-made text that was still recognizable as real prose to the audience. Through trial and error he ended up in his ‘spam filter’.

Spam is quite strange. It is extremely recognizable language but it is also on the bottom of the textual food chain. It hardly ever reaches its intended audience and when it does it gets instantly thrown away. Out of the thousands of messages that are left every day in the spam filters of his websites and his email inbox Post selects sentences that catch his eye. His selections adapt to the projects/themes/locations that he is working on at that moment.

For all his spam related projects Post finds it important that there is a certain amount of manual labor involved. There is a beauty in using a very labor-intensive way of working to create an image out of something that is basically computer generated textual waste. At first glance his work appears to be very clean, almost clinical, but when you look closely you see all the imperfections of the human hand. Digital becomes analog.

To date, there are two directions within his spam related works. One is his photo series On Spam, Business Proposals in which he pastes business proposals that he finds in his spam filter on vacant commercial windows. His other series consists of more sculptural works where he manually jigsaw selected spam texts into (wall) sculptures and large-scale installations.