Amazon Noir – the big book crime by peterfuchs
September 18, 2008, 2:29 pm
Filed under: Art as Gift Research blog | Tags:
Amazon Noir logo

Amazon Noir logo

Amazon Noir is another project by the artist/hacktivist team, which exploiting a trivial element of the website. You can search for any phrase in any of the books which the site offers for sale and you will get a short, 50 word quotation from the book.  Ubermorgen started the process, as they searched for the first few words of any book, then used an algorithm to copy the last sentence and search for it again. Then sentence by sentence, entire books was reconstructed by the automatic algorithm in a matter of moments.

Then Ubermorgen makes the book down loadable on their website, although I have to admit,  what I wrote about GWEI (Google will eat itself)  is also true here: the project is much more a display then an actual hacker attempt, still this does not diminish the merits of the work, as neither do in the case of GWEI. But the choice of books Amazon Noir offers id quite interesting – the seven books they “leeched” out from Amazon consist an important reader Steal this Book by Abbie Hoffman, which is sometimes referred as the bible of free culture. This book, which functions as an inspiration to the team also, plays an important part in the future presentations of AN:

At the opening of the Access Show in Basel, the stolen & custom made Amazon Noir
Book with the title “Steal This Book” by Abbie Hoffman was stolen out of the
Incubator. The organizers of the Festival immediately put a warning inside the
Incubator stating that the Book was stolen, and the next day a reprint was produced
and put into the incubator. But… the organizers put out a press-release about the
theft. The media in Switzerland, Germany and Austria reacted hysterically and
published articles and features in the news and culture sections of their news-
papers, online newsservices and on radio and television. (amazon noir website)

Eventually, Amazon overcame of the hidden gate the hackers were using and stoped their activity, but never the less, Ubermorgen showed us a glimpse on the real concept of free library. Yet, free culture has the nessesary mythology to work on the

The only problem with the books of Amazon Noir is, that the books lack all formatting and images, as the technology does not allow to transport these, and this effect in many cases makes the material hard to read.


1 Comment so far
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