[-empyre-] Introducing Char Stiles

Char Stiles contact at charstiles.com
Sat Dec 12 07:27:56 AEDT 2020

HELO everyone!

My name is Char Stiles, my recent work has been research into email and
SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). Thank you for the invitation to
empyre, Daniel, I have been loving all the Accumulation pieces so far. This
will be the first time I'm presenting my email work through email! I am
honored to be a part of the Accumulations exhibition as well:

Email, on the timescale of the internet, is ancient. It has a dark past. It
is interwound in our lives. Email is here now and it will be here after we
have left. Email is at its point where it’s an extremely benign and
non-intimidating technology, email is the digital passport to the internet!
My research is driven by a desire to plant the seeds that email is totally
radical and can be used for much more beyond interoffice communication.
This is a call to value maintenance over invention, because maintenance can
be innovative.

I created www.computerfaith.com which is a mischievous email server (as
well as an online space) that will send not your exact words to the
receiving email address, but rather an interpretation. This is also an
exploration in using email more meaningfully, what it means to use and
maintain a long distance form of communication that doesn't rely on a big
tech company or the government. Computerfaith not only sends email but it
fully functions as a server that can receive email as well and maintain

Over the summer I used Computerfaith to co-lead a workshop called
[*]epiphenoMAILnal : RITUALS OF EMAIL with my dear friend Sol Sarratea, we
created a ritual using simple text rules through email. Utilizing an email
list, each participant either sent a simple text rule or contributed a line
to the dogma. Through this ritual we constructed the basis for a text based
pictogram which is embodied in the email chain. This workshop was centered
around decoding the protocol through mystification and word play. You can
see the workshop website here:

Why did I do this? To embrace email! Email is the only form of
long-distance communication that I use daily that only necessarily relies
on a protocol, and not a big tech company nor institution (like the
government). Email was born in the 70s and it’s not going anywhere! This
calls for a better digital future because the more we understand the coded
systems around us, the more we can re-code the systems that surveil,
collect our data. Instead, with an educated mind, tactfully demand big-tech
companies stop selling, censoring, experimenting on, training AIs on, and
exploiting us online.

Also the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) is a very cute protocol! You
write it as if you were writing a sentence, starting with a HELO command!

Let me know if you're interested in learning about email's past, what you
think email's future is, or what role email plays in your life.

All the best,

"this beautiful cockroach of a social network is already living in all of
our homes. " -ALEXIS C. MADRIGAL

On Fri, Dec 11, 2020 at 12:06 AM Daniel Lichtman <danielp73 at gmail.com>

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Dear Empyre community,
> I want to introduce Char Stiles, who will be presenting the next project,
> Email Rituals. I'll let Char tell you more about the project!
> Char Stiles is an artist, educator and programmer based in Brooklyn NY.
> She works creatively in the lower levels of computational systems to bring
> to light how computers work. Char works and collaborates across mediums
> such as interactive installation, video, performance and web. She is a part
> of the Livecode.nyc collective, where she organizes shows, and livecodes
> music and visuals.
> She has given talks and led workshops at Carnegie Mellon University, Duke
> University, University of Limerick, MIT and NYU. She is currently at an
> NEA-funded artist residency at the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative
> Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University to develop an open-source toolkit for
> artists.
> Looking forward to Char sharing the project.
> Also I'm pleased to announce that we have one last addition to
> Accumulations -- Elia Vargas with collaborators, and their project
> Atmosphere, a speculative fiction exquisite corpse under shelter in place.
> We will introduce this project in the next few days.
> Dan
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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