A RATHER ABSURD experiment at Bournemouth University is bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase “snail mail”.
Bournemouth boffins Vicky Isley and Paul Smith have set up a project whereby real live snails, kitted out with radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips, will forward emails to people, challenging the concept of modern day obsession with email speed and immediacy.
The 'RealSnailMail' (RSM) project, as it’s aptly being dubbed, even has its own web site, where people with nothing better to do can write messages to friends or relatives, then have them beamed to a tiny electronic reader in a tank containing several snails.
When a snail gets close enough to one of these ‘readers’, the message will automatically jump to the chip embedded in the snail’s attached capsule. From there, the message can only be forwarded to its destination if the snail slithers forward enough to pass a second reader. So sending a message could take days, weeks, or months to arrive at the intended inbox. If at all.
Smith reckons in today’s society, "culturally we seem obsessed with immediacy. Time is not to be taken but crammed to bursting point". He hopes that his experiment will, "interrupt, for one small moment, our understanding of communication, allowing us to explore notions of time". Sounds like a waste of precious time to us, but what do we know, eh?
This is the latest experiment by Isley and Smith to feature on the pair’s 'boredomresearch' web site, which apparently investigates the creative role of computing. RSM will now also be entered in the Special Interest Group for Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH) new media event this summer, in the “slow art” category.
Isley optimistically gushed, "We hope that by the time we get to SIGGRAPH, a large number of emails will have already been sent for our snails to collect and forward," she added "And who knows, maybe quite a few will have actually been received." µ
'Glass Enterprise Edition 2' is coming, for some reason
Monetisation lures Google to cherry-pick from its sibling
Issue occurs after installing Google's latest security patch
On, er, 13 November and to a tiny percentage of users