compliments of the day

based on text from 419-scam emails,
spoken by computer-voices

commissioned by palais de tokyo, paris, for their repondeur-series,
curated by rahma khazam


according to a recent study, conducted by the dutch internet fraud company ultrascan,
doctors, architects, engineers and other white-collar professionals are the most vulnerable victims of email-scam, popularily known as 419-scam, named after a section in the nigerian criminal code, that outlaws internet scamming.

it always runs along the same line of an urgent business proposal to funnel some large amounts of money of dubious origin to the victims bank account, announced as a 100% risk free transaction, during which the victim is ripped off huge advance-fees and never to see returns of his investment. net losses accumulated to an estimated 2,7 billion euros in 2007. (source)

while it may remain a mystery to common sense, why anybody should fall for the often less then carefully crafted mass-emails from former princesses, mistresses or sons of dictators, the general narratives employed in these solicitations follow an almost mythological scheme of social engineering. but this time its not directed at the gods in heaven, but spread out and automatized like a tibetan prayer-mill, to eventually hit some of our modern-day gods in white collars.

from a vast collection of these lyrics, amassed over several years, i selected 4 diverse, 2 by apparent women and 2 by men, to combine them into a 4 part choral, starting with basso profundo. the texts were first spoken by computer-voices, then "emotionally enhanced" by exaggerating their speech-melody until finally just keeping the melody without the words. the process is meant to emphasize the oratorial quality of these prayers, standardized in a similar way emotional ciphers are used in bach-cantatas to convey religious sentiment to the flock.


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