The death of a corporation, through 500,000 emails - Brooklyn


Aug. 22, 2016 10:54 am

The death of a corporation, through 500,000 emails

Artists Sam Lavigne and Tega Brain take you inside the Enron scandal as it unfolds. Your inbox will never be the same again.

Sam Lavigne's latest art project: a deluge of emails from Enron employees.

(Image via Rhizome)

Sam Lavigne has a lot to say about the excesses of corporate and consumer culture. We’re just along for the ride.

His latest project, in collaboration with Tega Brain, an artist based between New York City and Sydney, is designed to expose the banal yet fraudulent underpinnings of one of the biggest business scandals of the last 20 years: the collapse of Enron. The project, called The Good Life, was selected last week to receive a micro-grant from Rhizome, an affiliate organization of the Lower East Side’s New Museum that supports contemporary digital art.

The Good Life is performance art, enacted through a massive series of emails that will hit your inbox every five seconds. “The audience,” or those who sign up to receive the emails, will receive the 500,000 emails that the Federal Energy Regulation Commission confiscated from Enron, in chronological order. The whole thing takes three days.

The point isn’t for participants to read all the emails. Rather, according to the description of the project, it’s intended to be “a nightmarish simulation of living through the death throes of a massive corporation in the early ‘00s.”

To be honest, we’re not actually sure if we want to experience that (the Great Recession was enough, thanks). But we’re taken with the idea of experiencing a news event via someone else’s emails, and damn, this would be a killer prank to play on a friend who’s obsessed with Inbox Zero.

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