[-empyre-] Introducing Char Stiles

Daniel Lichtman danielp73 at gmail.com
Fri Dec 18 14:34:14 AEDT 2020

Hi Char,
Thanks so much for sharing your projects and research into the email

I really love the exquisite corpse accumulation of text-based pictograms
that the participants in your workshop created (see
http://accumulations.online/email.html). This is another example, among
many this month, of exploring the boundaries of a technical protocol in
order to reevaluate its creative and political potential, especially in
relation to collaboration.

I participated in a workshop you led at Babycastles recently, in which we
experimented with your computerfaith email server and listserve. Two
aspects of this that really stuck out to me were the anonymization of user
names (I was 1110 at computerfaith.com ) and the server’s modification of the
text of our emails — sometimes subtly, sometimes more dramatically.

Since we’re having this conversation on a listserve, I wondered if you
could tell us briefly about one or two interesting experiences you’ve had
creating or participating in email list serves. By examining email /
listserve protocols and challenging them, what new forms of conversation
have you been part of? New modalities of community? How can a listserve
shape things like trust and vulnerability between people who participate on

Feel free to respon to any/all of these thoughts.

Looking forward!

On Fri, Dec 11, 2020 at 3:48 PM Char Stiles <contact at charstiles.com> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> 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:
> http://accumulations.online/email.html
> 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
> lists.
> 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:
> https://solsarratea.github.io/epiphenoMAILnal/
> 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,
> Char
> ~~~
> "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>
> wrote:
>> ----------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
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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