• U.S.

Snail Mail Gets Literal

1 minute read
Alexandra Silver

Give a mollusk a radio-frequency ID tag, and suddenly–well, slowly–snail mail isn’t just wordplay. Artists at the U.K.’s Bournemouth University are upending the term for mail sent via old-school postal services. “We’re all living in a speed-obsessed world,” says Vicky Isley, which is why she co-created RealSnailMail.net Users submit e-mails that get relayed to a tank with some snails and two electronic readers. A gastropod with a chip on its shell wirelessly picks up a message from one reader and eventually moseys 50 cm to the other, at which point the missive dashes over the Internet. Delivery, if completed, could take days, weeks, months. The project officially launches in August and is part of Isley’s work with fellow researcher Paul Smith. The duo’s name, appropriately, is boredomresearch.

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