Explaining “@Horse_ebooks” to a Mom

Some obscure internet news broke today: @Horse_ebooks, the long beloved and mythologized Twitter account that spat out random bits of poetry every day or so for the past few years, “Is Human After All,” and part of an extended art collaboration with the man behind the equally curious Pronunciation Book, according to a New Yorker blog post by Susan Orlean. She explains:

Both accounts have spawned speculation among the hundreds of thousands of people who have viewed them. Were they really spambots? Were they some slowly unfolding promotion for, say, a new phone or movie? Were they machines testing out a new kind of artificial intelligence? Were they Edward Snowden’s side projects?

Most of those questions will be answered today, starting at 10 A.M., at the Fitzroy Gallery, on the Lower East Side. There, the creators of the two accounts, Jacob Bakkila and Thomas Bender, will prove that they are indeed human, appearing in a performance that is the final flourish in this suite of conceptual-art pieces, weaving together Horse_ebooks and Pronunciation Book. They will also launch the next installment of the project, a choose-your-own-adventure interactive-video piece called “Bear Stearns Bravo.”

Which great American philosopher was it who said, “Twitter isn’t real”? (Drake. It was Drake.) In any case, the Internet lives another day, the art project continues in a Lower East Side gallery, and Susan Orlean answers the age-old question, “How do you follow up fucking Meryl Streep playing you in a movie?” (She’ll be publishing a profile of the two men soon.)

If this all went over your head, I would first like to congratulate you and then direct you to this loving conversation Hairpin pal Seth Rosenthal had with his mother about the entire… thing:

first remind me the degree to which you understand what twitter is

ah…it is a form of communicATION IN WHICH THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CHARACATERS in a post is limited

why are you shouting

my dead pinky slipped
and I was too lazy to retype

fair enough

and one can choose to follow the tweets produced by a given tweeter
or twitterer
or search subjects of interest
more or less correct?

yeah, more or less
so if you have a twitter account, you follow other accounts, and all the stuff those accounts say merges into one constantly updating feed

a continually renewed stream of waste

for the most part

I feel better already. More here.