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Interactive Annual 13:


Launch Live Site

“The concept of recycling the horrible e-mail that we all receive was a novel idea on its own. But to take those pointless e-mails and make variations of art is what made this project a stand-out. Being able to record your own spam art was a lot of fun and the interface was intuitive and easy.”—Jason Zada

“Clever, current and silly.” —Liz Castro

Overview: Sick of spam? The Spam Recycler takes unwanted junk mail and turns it into a work of art. A unique engine algorithmically compares every incoming message to a passage of Lao-Tse; the differences in texts influence the color, speed and other aspects of the resulting animation.

  • Flash 8 programming with PHP scripts
  • 7-person team
  • 340,000+ pieces of spam received to date

Creator’s Comments: “The first Spam Recycler of the world shifts something everybody hates into fun. Just send your spam mails to and watch how they are recycled into beautiful works of art.

“Every bit of mail we receive is processed. Attached images are resized and a starting configuration of the recycler is calculated by comparing the mail to our reference text: ‘Some wise words by Lao-Tse.’

“The algorithms of the Recycler are taken from collider experiments in modern physics and a new render engine which creates JPEGs out of Flash (this one ticked-us-off for weeks). The process breaks-down the spam mail into its very particles and accelerates them. Every particle leaves a characteristic trace depending on its individual kinetic energy.

“We’ve received positive feedback from all over the world. Oh, and one complaint from DEV8 E-mail Marketing LLC Inc., Ramon Arias Avenue, Maheli Building, Office 12E, Panama City 5535, Republic of Panama.

“Interestingly, the briefings and speeches of George W. Bush have produced the best results.”—Paul Fleig

Paul Fleig/Stefan Walz, creative directors
Paul Fleig, writer
Joerg DiTerlizzi/Marko Ritter, programmers
Fabian Buergy, graphic designer
Fabian Roser, 3-D designer
Christine Seelig, project manager
Jung von Matt, project design and development/client