I’m perplexed by this YouTube video of Katharine Susannah Prichard uploaded on April 15, 2013 by “CarGamess”. My best guess is that it’s a kind of internet ghost, or zombie might be the better word. An automatically generated collection of images relating to Katharine (some photos of her, some book covers, some probably related to the writers’ centre) sequenced to random music. Perhaps there was no human intervention at all, and someone in some part of this world created code which brought together these elements in this way. Why Katharine? Could even that choice be randomly generated along with other videos by CarGamess like fellow Australian writers Mary Durack and Michael Dransfield, along with subjects I have not heard of like Marlo Thomas?
I have a Google Alert for KSP, and it is dominated by spam results, by websites suddenly offering one of her books in electronic format for free. And then searching Abebooks for older books these days is less pleasurable with the flood of print-on-demand and ebook versions of public domain titles. And as librarian, I’ve drawn our ebook platform’s attention to a publisher who creates ebooks out of collected Wikipedia articles with made-up authors, looking to me like the creation of code, without human intervention.
Yes, as I’m writing this I’m more and more convinced it’s the internet zombies which are rising up, not ghosts. They’re trying to choke us, to make the world into spam. And they leave artefacts, like this KSP video, which almost mean something. But only because of their echoes of the human.