So much excitement! Whether it’s the looming potential threat of international thermonuclear conflict, mental sci-fi technologies or the fact that we lucky, lucky people of Britain once again get to DO A DEMOCRACY, it seems that the future never stops happening at us. It never stops. It is never going to stop, until we do, and then it will carry on without us anyway because we do not matter one iota, regardless of what our parents may once have told us.
Except obviously we DO matter, at the very least in a narrow electoral sense, so, er, make sure you’re registered to vote and stuff, whichever of the fcukers you want to watch screwing everything up for the next 5 years. WEB CURIOS POLITICAL OBSERVATION KLAXON! - the fact that this is all happening so quickly means that I can confidently predict we are in for some CRACKING ‘sex text skeletons inside candidate’s sexy closet’ scandals over the next few weeks, and we are going to have some truly woeful new elected representatives come June 9th - there is no WAY there aren’t going to be some spectacular oddities falling through the cracks, right? So that’ll make up for the next 7 weeks of painful, wafer-thin policy promises, attempts at ‘relatability’, and grin-through-gritted-teeth memebantz, then.
Anyway, you don’t come here for politics (or if you did you are a fool). You come here to have more links than you can possibly click on fed to you by a tired, misanthropic loner with an increasingly doomy outlook and a prose style which can most charitably be described as ‘lightly enervated’. Brace yourselves to receive a fortnight’s worth of internets straight to the frontal lobes - it’s *like* a lobotomy except without any spurious claims to efficacy. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!
How do you take the measure of what a nation believes? How can you, in a fractious political moment – given to strawmen and symbolic threats which are founded in something perhaps a little less than objective reality – get inside of people’s heads and separate the pap of suspicion from the hard kernel of belief?
At a point in time which seems, increasingly, to be defined by the opposition between insiders and outsiders (those included, and the preterite left-behind), it seems reasonable to investigate the interior. And since we can’t comfortably examine what we’re all putting in our heads, we may as well look at what we’re putting in our stomachs. In an age of unparalleled consumption, let’s look at what we consume to stay alive. Assuming that food is as good a place to start as any, let’s look at our habits of nutrition and try to take a pulse by poking our bellies.
Singapore, 2013. I was in the Lion City for a residency at the Singapore-ETH Zurich Future Cities Laboratory to collaborate with their scientists who worked on sustainability. As an artist who works on environmental issues, I had a problem. Despite the fact that climate change affects everyone, it’s hard to get people to care about it enough. “Climate change” are two big ominous words that feel far removed from our modern quotidian existence. Even the other buzzwords around it—“Anthropocene” and “sustainability”—seem too heavy for non-academics to pay much attention to. It was two months into my art residency and I was starting to panic; none of my initial ideas had seemed cool enough, and the clock was ticking.
The problem with writing this on a Friday is that, sadly, by the time I get round to doing the opener the commentariat have had a whole WEEK crafting their INCANDESCENTLY HOT TAKES on the pressing issues of the week and they’ve consumed all the oxygen around the news, leaving me a gasping, suffocating wreck desperately seeking to find a crack in the media bubble in which I exist online through which to suck down a few microns of fresh air.
That’s by way of a non-apology for my failure offer any coruscating opinions on Kendall or school meals or Easter or Saudi or Syria or any of that stuff. Mainly because, I am coming to realise, current affairs commentary online in 2017 is much like Playdoh - all looks different and multicoloured, but spend a bit of time playing with it and it all blends into the one sh1t-hued morass. Opinions, bottoms, proctology innit.
So before you go back to watching politiTwitter desperately trying to work out what the most woke response to The Donald suddenly remembering all the fun toys he now has at his disposal (as an aside, does anyone else think that Assad looks a little like a drawing from one of the Molesworth books? No? Oh), enjoy this cannonade of STUFF off the web, fired at you at high velocity and close distance - you probably can’t avoid it at this stage, so just open your mouth and pray the bleeding eventually stops. THIS, AS EVER, IS WEB CURIOS!
I am child of the mid-eighties - born in the last year of being a Digital Native but somehow still a Millenial - so the punk, lo-fi indie, grunge and all other "underground" movements of the 90s and earlier largely passed me by the first time around. These movements were celebrated for going against the mainstream, led by visionaries who would, the media proclaimed, eventually give us the tools for free thought and bring an end to bland pop culture.
But a strange thing happened. They were absorbed by the mainstream media and what they had achieved - an aesthetic, a music genre, a fashion - was sold back to us at a premium as a way for us to buy into the culture. Take, for example, urban culture. In her 1999 book No Logo Naomi Klein highlights how brands would "search out pockets of cutting-edge lifestyle, capture them on videotape and return to clients like Reebok, Absolut Vodka and Levi'".
So that’s it - WE ARE TAKING BACK CONTROL! Do you feel in control? Do you feel like you know exactly what’s happening, where we’re going and how we’re going to get there? Do you feel that The Triggering is going to somehow resolve the creeping feeling that everything now happening is so far beyond our ken and influence and that the only reasonable response is to hide and cry?
No, you don’t. Still, CONTROL, EH?
Web Curios cannot, in all honesty, make any claims towards being able to help in that regard, but at the very least you may find one or two things in the following mess of html which put a smile on your face; or, alternatively, which finally convince you that it’s time to build the bunker and nail down the hatch.
So, then, come with me into the past - my past, the week I have just lived online. Slip into my digital skin, so to speak - I’ve always found it to be terribly uncomfortable, so, frankly, you’re welcome to it. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!
The subject of the mind has been one of the most discussed issues in arts and science. Nevertheless, only a few understand that that thinking may not happen in the brain, being an embodied activity. Perhaps, because since schoolbooks that get the image of the brain mapped into different thinking areas. Even the most innocent games at the playground involve pointing to the head to mean thinking or to the eyes to refer to seeing.
Not a good week really. Let’s not talk about it and instead stuff as much internet as possible into our ever-ravening maws in an increasingly futile attempt to make sense of anything at all
Given it’s pretty clear in 2017 that we really *are* what we consume, what mind-bending effects will be imparted by you clicking EVERY SINGLE ONE of the following links? Aside, obviously, from a real and increasing sense of your lack of import in the grand guignol horror that is life, WHO KNOWS? Let’s find out shall we? It’s WEB CURIOS.
(I really hope you’re all ok).
“…only a corpse does not react any more – against the maggots teeming upon it.” – Pat Buchanan
The first decade of the century saw the mainstreaming and attendant commercialization of Howard Philips Lovecraft's eldritch pantheon, most noticeably in the form of the dread Great Old One of the deep Cthulhu. Unrecognized by his contemporaries outside of pulp circles, Lovecraft died in penury in 1937, but his intense stylistics and the internal complexity of his mythos attracted a cult of horror fans, connoisseurs of the weird, and transgressive authors. When geek subculture became masscult, so did Lovecraft. At the same time, movements were made to position his oeuvre as Serious Literature, most noticeably with the Library of America’s 2005 selection Tales. Simultaneously, a canon of critical theory focusing on Lovecraft’s encounters with inhumanism, has hardened around his work, including Speculative Realism and Object Oriented Ontology.