Previous: User 23187425


In 2006 AOL released to the web three months worth of search engine data by 657,000 users. To anonymize the data AOL assigned numbers to the users. We first read about this mistake on either Digg or boingboing. On boingboing we came across Thomas Claburn's discovery of anomalous data entered by AOL user 23187425. Linking through to Lot49 we, like many others, were entranced by the entries of this user. Mr. Claburn puts it better than we:

"Within the third of the ten files of user search queries AOL mistakenly released (user-ct-test-collection-03), there's a poem of sorts. Between May 7 and May 31 of this year, AOL user 23187425 submitted a series of more than 8,200 queries with no evident intention of finding anything - only a handful of the entries are paired with a search results URL. Rather, the author's series of queries forms a stream-of-consciousness soliloquy."

Downloading and reading these search queries we were instantly reminded of writings by people in manic states. It was like revisiting writings we have received from friends and family suffering from the psychotic highs of manic depression. It also reminded us of the authors that we at the MVM continually rework - Samuel Beckett, Antonin Artaud and William S. Burroughs. Friends we shared the material with had the same reaction. Reading the queries was so similar to reading works we produce with UDV that we knew we had to find a way to bring user 23187425 to life.

To that end we've begun a series of recordings of the material. The first, available as .mp3s in sixty minute blocks is four and a half hours long, read by The MVM house Mac using Vicki. We hope to have another version up soon, read by one of the members of UDV in real time. Ultimately we don't know where this work will go. To us it bears a great deal in common with Shaman, JackE, A Voice She Did Not Recognize and UDV's performances of To Have Done With The Judgement Of God.

Visit Lot49 and read the text for yourself. As well, take the time to read the comments on Mr. Claburn's blog about user 23187425. There is a great deal of conjecture, and perhaps the beginning of an outline of who or what made these wonderfully enigmatic searches. The voice of Vicki may be more appropriate than we initially imagined. Regardless, I'd like to thank Mr. Claburn for bringing this to light.

Read by Vicki, part 1

Read by Vicki, part 2

Read by Vicki, part 3

Read by Vicki, part 4

Read by Vicki, part 5




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