The Internet’s favorite equine spammer Horse_ebooks left users in wonder for years with its cryptic fragments of text. Yet the widely-followed account has, along with most viral phenomenons and memes these days, fooled us all.
The account was not a spambot or even a horse, but part of a large performance art piece from the collaborative minds of Jacob Bakkila and Thomas Bender.
As you might know, I am a full time Internet
— Horse ebooks (@Horse_ebooks) February 24, 2012
The duo revealed on Tuesday in a small New York City gallery that the experiment has been in effect since 2011. For 742 days, @Horse_ebooks has posted a piece of spam roughly every two hours. Each fragment was recycled information from previously published work. Sometimes, it would link to a website selling self-help ebooks.
The Horse_ebooks account, however, dates further than that. It was first started in August 2010 by a Russian man named Alexei Kouznetsov, who was ousted by Gawker and Splitsider. Bakilla told The New York Times on Tuesday that Kouznetsov agreed to give him the account.
The Horse_ebooks mystery was not the only bizarre Internet phenomenon behind this reveal. YouTube channel Pronunciation Book, which simply teaches viewers how to recite words, has left users captivated and stumped for the past three years.
The art exhibit featured looped projections displayed across the walls. In a back room, Bakilla and Bender — joined by writer Susan Orlean, who broke the news on The New Yorker — sat in front of a table with a large stack of paper, and recited Horse_ebooks fragments to incoming callers.
The @Horse_ebooks account tweeted a phone number for users to call and receive their IRL dose of spam.
(213) 444 0102
— Horse ebooks (@Horse_ebooks) September 24, 2013
This marks the end of the Horse_ebooks era, and the beginning of Bear Sterns Bravo, a choose-your-own-adventure interactive-video piece.
R.I.P. Horse, you were an Internet mystery that didn’t need solving.
Everything happens so much
— Horse ebooks (@Horse_ebooks) June 28, 2012
Image: Mashable composite. Christine Erickson, Horse_ebooks