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Billboard by Julia Weist, Queens, New York, 2015.

Julia Weist

83 Pitt Street

Billboard by Julia Weist, Queens, New York, 2015.

Parbunkells: two ropes bound together, with a loop on both ends. In June 2015, Julia Weist placed this single word on a billboard above a busy thoroughfare in Forest Hills, Queens. Any curious onlooker who plugged it into Google—and there were many—would have discovered just a single result, Weist’s own web page. Prior to her plucking it from a seventeenth-century sailor’s manual, parbunkells appeared nowhere on the Internet. That changed quickly. Parbunkells became a thread on Reddit; someone started a parbunkells Instagram account; on eBay, the domain name parbunkells.org went on sale for twenty thousand dollars.

It has been over a decade since Seth Price first posted “Dispersion,” the influential PDF calling for an art that infiltrated mass media through formats like paperback novels, music tracks, and, well, PDFs. Brilliant and shrewd, “Dispersion” reconfigured

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