mezangelle is a poetic-artistic language developed in the 1990's by Australian-based Internet artist mez (Mary-Anne Breeze). It is widely recognized as a central contribution to Codework and Internet Art.

Definition and Characteristics

mezangelle is primarily based on hybrid words. Like the portmanteau words invented by Lewis Carroll and used in James Joyce's novel Finnegans Wake, it dissects and recombines language and stacks multiple layers of meanings into single phrases. Beyond that, it is an Internet-cultural poetic language deriving much of its tension from incorporating formal code and informal speech at once Its base construction qualifies it as hypertext on a morphological and grammatical level. It is not syntactically fixed and is in continuous artistic development.

mezangelle mixes English, ASCII art, fragments from programming language source code, markup languages, regular expressions and wildcard patterns, protocol code, IRC shorthands, emoticons, phonetic spelling and slang. It is a polysemic multi-layered language that remixes the basic structure of English and computer code through the manipulation of syllables and morphemes. Like the related Codework of jodi, Netochka Nezvanova, Ted Warnell, Alan Sondheim and lo_y, it bears some resemblance to hacker cultural 1337 / leet speak and Perl poetry

Through its semantic and syntactical layering, mezangelle achieves an aesthetic effect of altering words and letters from discrete, digital units into fluid, quasi-analog information. This fluidity and flow corresponds to its artistic use in E-Mail postings.


mez (Mary-Anne Breeze) works under a multitude of assumed virtual identities or avatars. These avatars are presented throughout the Internet as authors of electronic writing. Examples of these include: mez breeze, netwurker, data.h!.bleeder, ms post modemism, mezflesque.exe, Purrsonal Areah Netwurker and cortical_h[b]acker. mez is best known for her Codework based on her self-invented language mezangelle which she publishes on mailing lists like _arc.hive_, Nettime, and netbehaviour These work, or "wurks" as she calls them, have language play and identity swapping as a central element. Because of their dense poetical language, they are also acclaimed and influential in Digital Poetry


1994 - 1996

mezangelle first appeared in late 1994 - early 1995 on MUDs, the web chat channels Kajplats 305, Cybersite and unix based y-talk These instances involved re-mixing random chat responses, y-talk and IRC conventions back to the participants. Chat members communicated with each other through text based dialogue using avatars to interact. Notable avatars from this time included Viking, Jester and mez's screen names aeon and ms post modemism.

The Wollongong World Women Online exhibition (1995, University of Wollongong Online Gallery) was the first traditionally presented exhibition to showcase a web-based text version of the mezangelle work _Through Ah Strainer_. Other online exhibitions that included mezangelled works during this period:

  • Disgruntled Book of Wizzdumb: a collaborative work between mez and the Brisbane organization digitarts (1996).
  • Cutting Spaces: web based mezangelle in the The Undercover Girl Project Norway (1996).

1997 - 2003

During 1997 - 2003 mezangelle utilized mailing list forums as a distributive medium with an emphasis on peer collaboration. The works evolved into two sub-genres: net.wurks and code.wurks. Both forms employed code and chat convention mash-ups, HTML code and scripting languages to manipulate poetic structures. Code.wurks included text emulations of broken source code whereas net.wurks present in multimedia web interfaces that incorporate several An example of a code.wurk is _Viro.Logic Condition][ing][1.1_ and an example of a net.wurk is _The data][h!][bleeding tex][e][ts_ In this period mezangelle shifted from a reliance on script kiddy/hacker influences to a refined interactive practice that explored aspects of fusing biological/physical and online living. Recurring themes from 1996 onward include: gamer dynamics, social engineering, questioning conceptions of print-based and electronic literature, ASCII art, play theory, teledildonics, viral imagery, and examinations of post-modern, feminist, neural net, social change and technofetistic theories.

2003 - 2007

In this timeframe mezangelle distribution altered from dispersal via mailing lists to social networking formats. The change occurred due to the growing repressive nature of the mailing list forums used, including extensive censorship by list moderators Julianne Pierce from Recode , Ted Byfield/Geert Lovink from Nettime and Chris Chesher from the ::fibreculture:: list

The livejournal][][_ created on July 2003 is the first recorded procedural net art blog There are at least two other known mezangelled blogs currently authored by mez. One is _dis[ap]posable_ which uses reappropriation of the blog format and snapshot software to create clustered poetic meanings. These nodal poems are examples of a type of digital readymade and are to be read via a grid-like text and image composite structure For example, the tag, title, and link sections are all reworked with poetic loadings and not constructed according to conventional weblog standards. The second mezangelle blog _[e]Ven.t.rickle_ is hosted via the australian arts organisation aliasfrequencies and is based on fragmented images created in response to impacting web content encountered through manual rss scanning




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  • (Code Poetry)

External links

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