The mysterious word fnord is the typographic representation of irrelevant information or disinformation. It was coined as a nonsensical term in the discordian text “Principia Discordia” - a discordian* religious text written by Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley and first published in 1965 - and then popularized by “The Illuminatus Trilogy” (1975), satirical conspiracy fiction novels by Robert Shea and Robert Anton.
Fnord is an intersection between satire, radical absurdity and popular culture. In the novels by Shea and Anton fnord has a hypnotic power over the unenlightened. Whereas to see the fnords means to read between the lines. In the computer circles fnord has been used to indicate a random or surreal sentence. The term is also often used by hackers and programmers as a metasyntactic variable or a placeholder name. Moreover, fnord appears in the Sub-Genius** film “Arise!” and has been in use in other contexts related to the Church of the Sub-Genius.
In relation to the classical theory of information, fnord can be understood as a noise inside a communication channel, which can block or interfere with the meanings of a message, but is still considered to be information.
Fnord was premiered during the #Art Science Technology event, nov 28-dec 03 2011, Grenoble, France.
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