Rhizome asked writers and artists to help us count down the final hours of the year by sharing internet things to remember from 2017, because those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
⭐️ Slime Vids
If you were born after 2000 you already know that slime vids are the shiiiiiiiiit. They constitute a mostly unrecognized fetish, in the same vein (and often in tandem with) ASMR and other physical deformation vids, like press-crushing, sand-slicing, and so on. Slime vids are a culmination of so many satisfying elements into one gooey, bubbly, and probably highly toxic paste. They remind me of wanting to eat screen printing ink, a desire I can't say I've grown out of.
Slime vids have also been cited as a cause of glue shortages in stores, which is fun. You can find them easily online, whether on Instagram or Youtube. For whatever reason, I've stuck with @theslimeyhoe, who in addition to being a child with brilliant branding sense, is more or less an aggregator account, posting other peoples' work but adding small notes about their day, or integrating back and forth conversations with other slime accounts, like some sort of embedded slime-diary.
⭐️ Zuckerberg Puerto Rico VR Livestream
In keeping with our society-wide, ever-developing skill of smiling through gritted teeth, here's a “best” live event of the year. I challenge you to name a more illustrative indictment of the state of new media art than Mark Zuckerberg high-five'n in VR, in front of flooded Puerto Rican homes. Here is a gleaming, wide-eyed tech demo of Silicon Valley individualists patting each other on the back with millions of dollars, bundled in hollow platitudes, all the while submerged in a heavy fog of incalculable human sadness that they have little vested interest in correcting.
A better commentary than any art show I’ve been to on how imperfect and absurd the future (regardless of the marvels of its innovations) will be and is, and a spiritual successor to the Boring Dystopia Facebook group, @Shitty_Future is a welcome counterpoint to all the hyperbolic promo-babble that startup bros inundate us with on a daily basis.
⭐️ Surreal drag makeup
A number of artists have been plumbing the depths of drag makeup for some months now, and I’ve probably only just now caught the wave. The medium has transcended hyperreal facial feature embellishment and moved into surrealist mask-making or abstract illustration over, and on, the skull-canvas. Belonging to a mostly Insta-centric world, the artists I've been following closest have included @isshehungry (aside: she was actually hired for the recent Bjork Utopia cover, which was a refreshing change from stylists and editorial directors' using the usual hackneyed and hollow artist copies via their most evil weapons and executors: the moodboard and the sullen studio intern), along with the brilliant @matieresfecales, @suckgenesis, @monar.x, and salvjiia.
⭐️Russians use videogame screenshot as propaganda
The intersection of 3D graphics and propagandistic fakery is always captivating to me, so when the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation’s Facebook page posted a screengrab of the mobile game AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron, it seemed like a moment of true comedic confluence.
⭐️ Something Is Wrong On The Internet
As someone who is moving increasingly towards surreal children's animation and Youtuber garbage in my personal practice, and also as someone who genuinely feels unending glee from watching the fascinating proliferation of (seemingly) procedurally-generated 3D kids' vids, the very good article "Something Is Wrong On The Internet" by James Bridle strikes me as maybe slightly alarmist, but a nonetheless vital read. The piece captures a cross section of vids that lie between borderline-fetishy fanfic, democratized 3D animation, and commandeering of search keywords for anonymous Youtube cash schemes, and then discusses the possible health implications for the children that voraciously, and innocently, inhale it all.
⭐️ Weird Mike gets repeatedly and savagely dunked on in his AMA
Not one to make resolutions, but my main move next year is to practice a bit more self-care. So together, let's all pinch and chef kiss our fingertips, mmmm omma nom nom, at this delicacy of soul-restoration that is Pizzagate-peddling, white supremacist shitbag Mike Cernovich getting flogged within an inch of his contrived life in his Reddit AMA.
Ahahahhhhhhhahhhahhhhhhhh ... feels good man.
Here's a small dessert that pairs well: https://twitter.com/CaptainSnoop/status/940790637300998144
⭐️ Unionization of digital media companies
A Truly Good Internet Thing that's begun happening with more frequency this year is a growing push to unionize digital media companies, despite pushback from their supposedly progressive bosses (group negotiation for fairer wages stifles all that innovative disruption, guys!) and just outright assholes submarining the whole thing out of greed. Vox, Vice, Gawker/Gizmodo, Huffington Post, and many others have seen measured successes in organizing for a transparent wage scale, severance, and collective bargaining for workers’ rights.
⭐ Secret Image Macro Poetry
There's a relatively small, cultish subsection of image macro creators on Facebook who have taken the format to a place that rides the line between alt-lit poetry, memes, and self-medicated depression-core journaling. I've found myself following the field passionately this year. I won't post the link for fear of the banhammer (and art communities such as these are so tenuous anyway, that a passing article can easily break their equilibrium) ... but they're People, Umm ... what can I say that doesn't give it away? ... who sometimes ... layer text in simple, deskilled ways over found imagery ... and are also ... oohhhh, IDK. I bet you can find it.
⭐ The Boston Dynamics backflipping robot
Look, you’ve probably already seen this, and maybe upon review an ambient sense of singularity-borne apocalyptic dread is a bit more pronounced, but to come full circle, let’s just marvel at how siiiiiiiiiiiick this robo-backflip is, one more time. Before it’s not cute anymore.