Can you remember your earliest html experiences? The magic of colored text that transported you elsewhere or linked you with people in separate times and spaces; the spectacle of graphic image files that brought bits to life... All of these once novel wonders have passed their way through various utopian and dystopian digestive systems--housed in the collective corpus of computer culture--to be regurgitated (most frequently) in the form of nostalgic references to better, simpler, more awesome times. San Francisco-based artist 893's blog, 'U Mean Competitor,' manages to reawaken that sense of awe and wonder so many of us forgot about in the last century, without denying the anxieties, obsessions, and pop cultural developments that have emerged in a high tech society at war and on edge. Each blog post revolves around gif's he calls 'Giffords,' his trademark blend of iconic yet banal, Google-derived images blown out, overlapped, mirrored, metamorphosized, and mangled to perfection. Laced around these frenzied images is a pageant of prose spewing random facts, developing ongoing paranoid plots and prank-like narratives, and often self-reflexively exploiting the function of hypertext links to send readers in obscure or even dead-end directions. The artist recently posted instructions on how to make your own Giffords, so whether you're inclined to go DIY or simply to be swept away, 'U Mean Competitor' promises to satisfy. - Marisa Olson
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by Johnny Magdaleno on Jul 15th, 2014