Business Fish, or, Emotion Under Late Capitalism


I can't always articulate what it is like to be a worker, writhing in muted panic in the net of late capitalism. But I have found a fine outlet in Business Fish, a surreal family of sticker sets on Facebook Messenger, which I use to illustrate many of my exchanges.

Business Fish has struck a nerve since his introduction last year: he has many vocal fans (3200+ on his Facebook page) and he's been profiled in the mainstream news. Inspired by the Shinto belief that divinity resides in animals, his creator—an artist at Tokyo-based studio Quan, Inc.—gave him a pink fish head capping a human body in a boxy blue suit that, in today's workplace  fashion parlance, reads as "male business casual."

At first glance, Business Fish seems like a composite of Gordon Gekko and Jordan Belfort, ruthless hunters of success, profit and glamor. Closer examination of his sixteen, hyper-expressive graphics reveals a more complex narrative.

He wakes in shock, sweaty, the sun at his head. He gets caught in a subway turnstile. He struggles, briefcase in hand, coughing and shaking, knees buckling. After a setback, he slumps in shame against a wall. He bows, and weeps, and clenches his fists in rage. He grovels on the ground, possibly begging for the privilege of working another day.

Created with Japanese office culture in mind, but meant to represent workers worldwide, Business Fish is a pressure-crushed employee, shot through with anxiety and anguish. If strong emotions, particularly dysphoric ones, are "the psychic fuel on which capitalist society runs," Business Fish is a resource burning at both ends.


The Ultimate Idoru


Eguchi Aimi is not a real person, but a composite from members of the J-pop group AKB48. Tokyo Hive explains, "The features of Eguchi’s face were taken from the members, which consists of Oshima Yuko (hair/body), Takahashi Minami (outline), Maeda Atsuko (eyes), Watanabe Mayu (eyebrows), Itano Tomomi (nose), and Shinoda Mariko (mouth). Twelfth generation AKB48 member Sasaki Yukari is confirmed to be the source of her voice as well.”

via William Gibson, (of course)


3D ASCII Animated GIF from Japan


Japanese tech news publication Weekly ASCII has an animated gif tutorial including this 3D ASCII gif.

via Prosthetic Knowledge