It isn’t nice but you’re an animal, so you can do it, dressed in green and brown and black waiting to be attacked and smiling because you had bullets for teeth……when did these clothes fit so well? When did Corporal become an older brother and when did the army become a mother? When did I become a British soldier? - Adnan Sarwar, British Muslim Soldier
“There weren’t many traces of our prototype in Medium, but that was pretty understandable—it had evolved into a very different product. Ev explained that he felt there was a need for meaningful writing on the Web. There wasn’t a place for people who wanted to write something more substantive than a tweet. Blogs, while better for long-form, required a certain savviness to get up-and-running. Successful ones required constant care and feeding and typically focussed on a single subject matter. New ones lacked an audience. He went on to say that people sometimes just have one thing to say about a subject, not something every day or week.”—Very well-designed, detailed and insightful article on the making of Medium.
'…For now, the book world and its gaming rivals are searching for the new big thing, perhaps with a clarion call from Stephen Page of Faber ringing in their ears: “The burning platform for change is still smouldering, and rather than rest, it is our job to blow on the embers and ignite the next inferno of change,” he wrote in a recent blogpost. “Anyone publishing for the Galaxy Gear smart watch yet?”
In contrast Franklin, at Random House, wants to experiment with ” a new kind of minimalism”. This means telling stories on the web, “taking away a lot of focus on context and packaging”.
“Video games are the first stage in a plan for machines to help the human race, the only plan that offers a future for intelligence. For the moment, the inseparable philosophy of our time is contained in the Pac-Man. I didn’t know when I was sacrificing all my hundred yen coins to him that he was going to conquer the world. Perhaps because he is the most perfect graphic metaphor of man’s fate. He puts into true perspective the balance of power between the individual and the environment. And he tells us soberly that though there may be honour in carrying out the greatest number of victorious attacks, it always ends badly.”—Sans Soleil, 1978, Chris Marker.
The Black CrownProject is disgusting. It made me gag, squirm, and walk away from my computer screen at various points, which is impressive for a game that is based almost entirely on text and multiple choice questions. The surreal horror game written by Rob Sherman (pictured above) is unusual in a number of ways, though. Not quite a novel but also not quite a text adventure, The Black Crown Project is a fascinating experiment in storytelling that captures the richness of goth writers like Clive Barker while also letting the reader carve their own path through the game.
Black Crown also experiments with books and video games as businesses. Characters in the game’s fictional Widsith Institute only advance in station—and through the story—as diseases ravage their body over time. Unlike real diseases, you can pay the publisher, Random House, to speed the process along in your playthrough. Even the marketing of the work is playful. For instance, the Amazon.com listing for Lincoln’s Bedsheet, a short story released as a tie-in to Black Crown, drops only vague hints of the larger project. The Gameological Society spoke with both Sherman and Dan Franklin, who’s managing the project for Random House, about how such an unusual piece of work came about.
There’s a meme I’ve been hearing recently. Media people repeating it, tweeters tweeting it: “Don’t read the bottom half of the internet.” As Caitlin Moran tweeted Dave Gorman, “That’s where the bad things live.” Grace Dent, Graham Linehan and Brian Cox have parroted the line. What they mean is: comments on online stories are often hurtful, so avoid them.
There’s a certain logic to avoiding the haters, but as a strategy it’s utterly flawed. When you turn off the feedback you lose the benefits as well as the drawbacks. It’s like having a sore finger and cutting off your arm. That’s not to say you shouldn’t block an annoying troll, but to use trolls as a pretext to stop listening to the public is a form of creative suicide.
What does the phrase “bottom half of the internet” mean? The people, basically — in particular, those who aren’t paid for their opinions. We can update the Marxist pyramid that runs, from top to bottom: capitalists, petit bourgeois, proles. On the web, it goes: media owner, journalists, then the unwashed mass of commentards.
There’s a chippy voice in my head that hears “Don’t read the comments” as “Watch the class traitors whispering to each other, ‘Don’t listen to the proles.’” The issue of class is built into the language and the structure of the web page: “the bottom half of the internet”. Like the servants’ quarters in a Victorian house, below stairs.
The idea is simple: print out as much as of the web as you want — be it one sheet or a truckload — send it to Mexico City, and we’ll display it in the gallery for the duration of the exhibition, which runs from July 26 to August 30, 2013.
The process is entirely open: If it exists online and is printed out, it will be accepted. Every contributor will be listed as a participating artist in the show and will be listed on this Tumblr.
What you decide to print out is up to you — as long as it exists somewhere online, it’s in. We’re not looking for creative interpretations of the project. We don’t want objects. We just want shitloads of paper. We’re literally looking for folks to print out the entire internet. We have over 500 square meters of space to fill, with ceilings that are over 6 meters high.
There are many ways to go about this: you can act alone (print out your own blog, Gmail inbox or spam folder) or you could organize a group of friends to print out a particular corner of the internet, say, all of Wikipedia, the entire New York Times archive, every dossier leaked by Wikileaks for starters. The more the better.
Print out the internet. Post it to Mexico City.
Send your printouts to LABOR in Mexico City by July 26th:
Francisco Ramírez #5
Col. Daniel Garza
Del. Miguel Hidalgo 11830
At the conclusion of the show, the entire archive will be recycled. No materials can be returned.
“Creativity always comes as a surprise to us; therefore we can never count on it and we dare not believe in it until it has happened. In other words, we would not consciously engage upon tasks whose success clearly requires that creativity be forthcoming. Hence, the only way in which we can bring our creative resources fully into play is by misjudging the nature of the task, by presenting it to ourselves as more routine, simple, undemanding of genuine creativity than it will turn out to be.”—Albert O. Hirschman and the power of failure - from Malcolm Gladwell’s piece in the New Yorker.
I love the idea of the cloud, but the reality is nothing like what’s promised. It’s too centralised, too easily blocked, too easily controlled. And it’s privatised, owned and administrated by someone other than you. Then there’s the issue of politics. When I recently attended a conference in China, many of the presenters left their papers on the cloud – Google Docs, to be specific. You know how this story ends: they got to China and there was no Google. Shit out of luck. Their cloud-based Gmail was also unavailable, as were the cloud lockers on which they had stored their rich media presentations. Don’t trust the cloud. Use it, enjoy it, exploit it, but don’t believe in it. Or the web for that matter.
In a sense, UbuWeb’s content takes care of itself; but keeping it up there has proved to be a trickier proposition. This is similar to the way my writing functions. With an unprecedented amount of available text, our problem is not needing to write more; we must learn to negotiate the vast quantity that exists. How I make my way through this thicket of information is what distinguishes my writing from yours.