@UCSD: An Alumni Publication

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Making Waves

Digital Fish
Dancing in the Desert
Ticking down to the      "Big One"
Sixth Sense


Features May 2004: Volume 1, Number 2



I bet we all have opinions about spam and most of it unprintable. Alex Dragulescu’s solution is not only printable but beautiful. The Romanian-born Dragulescu, ’05, now manager of UCSD’s Experimental Game Lab, “recycles” spam email—with a computer program he wrote for his M.F.A. thesis in visual arts. The program uses algorithms to convert junk messages into 3-D electronic “sculptures.” “I was interested in this piece of data that everybody is so quick to discard,” Dragulescu told the Chronicle of Higher Education.
By assigning values and characteristics to the text found in these emails (so that the word “credit” signals a color, for instance), Dragulescu turns all-too-familiar come-ons for prescription drugs or hot tips about the stock market into things of beauty.

In the future he plans to experiment with literature as a data source as well. So how would a plant derived from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet compare to one from a Viagra spam?

Contributors to Making Waves: Mario Aguilera, '89, Marnette Federis, '06, Beverly Gallagher, '98, Raymond Hardie and Inga Kiderra.



Experimental Game Lab

Alex Dragulescu's Featured Projects