- Architectonic Recursion - The Conceptual Support -

Mark Robertson Digital Image 2002


A rant on the commodification of everything

I started thinking about what i was doing here with VG2, VG1, DD4TM and a number of other bits and pieces me and friends and fellow artists have put up that are floating around in out there in cyberspace - and couldn't help but think of William Gibson ( Neuromancer ) and Neil Stephenson ( Snow Crash ) who have articulated so well some of the twisted ways we're imagining and using these virtual spaces. I thought i was blowing smoke with the wry collegiate dissertation style take-off on the front page of VG1, but i'm beginning to wonder if it wasn't a bit prescient.

The format of most internet pages (and largely the content also) has become so commodified and common stupidifier based with its canned frames and templates and just downright lack of imagination and simple laziness that it's become really boring a few years back. The way the pages work is boring. What's on the pages is boring. Even if something interesting sneaks onto a page, the page format is so stultifying that you can't wake up long enough to appreciate it and if you do start to appreciate it your browser tells you you need to stop and download something from microsoft or macromedia or netscape and half the time that doesn't work and just freezes your computer and wotan knows, that's boring.

They've damn near trained everybody to stay on the sidewalks, not look over the wall-tops of their cube farms, don't walk on the grass. The "click through" rate on most sites is stunning - people click and burn through this stuff faster than they can channel surf on TV. Most of them don't dwell long enough for there to be even one blinkie-cycle so why even bother? The whole banner and blinkie and shopping-cart format has trained millions of people to not look at certain areas of internet pages - they could put anything there now and it would silently bore into your brain and you'd never even notice it you've done such a good job of blocking that space with all the wiggly stuff out of your head. You think...

This constant pleading to buy something online now or we all die and civilization collapses is a drag and is really nothing more than conceptual litter that leaves the shoulders of the internet superhighway looking knee deep in garbage of the sort those poor slobs leave hanging on your doorknob to tell the neighborhood burglers you're not home.

Why don't they all just give up and open stores?

Dadadata will do our best to keep you from ever being told to go somewhere and download the latest and greatest computer butt plug-in from some massively commercial site that mugs your brain with offers of free salvation, free sex, pantyhose that won't ever run, and free-market domination of your wallet all the while tracking your every mouseclick, heartbeat, pupil dilation, sweaty palm whatever and then follows you to the next site grabbing and data-mining your id and dumping it into spreadsheets until finally they can figure out just exactly what color tupperware you will buy and then send you 50,000 ejunks until you either give up and go out and mow the lawn ( suburban ) or scrape that dog doo off your shoe ( city ) or until you wise up and restart your browser in-between pages - which will slow them down a tiny bit but not stop them

Most everywhen you see a blinkie on a page someone is collecting stats on you - and those page counters? A lot of them come from sites that offer a "free page counter" to clueless web builders and then report back on every visit made to your site to the "free page counter" site. Heck, they're not greedy - they'll even share the stats with you and sell you some tools to analyze them. Welcome aboard...

Just because you think you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not watching you - they are - to the best of their ability. And they're selling what they see and stealing what they don't and selling that too.

Denizens of the digital arcology, revolt! - Throw Away Your Supermarket Club Cards!

Anyway - i like the idea of under the cover of digital darkness stealthily tunneling into the soft underbelly of the beast - mining out caverns and laying out a series of rooms, buildings, streets, whole frippn cities and continents and those linked by Josephson wormhole tunnels to whole other galaxies and universes - connected by arcane icons and meaninglessly and uncommodified beautiful images, words, conceptual associations, ad infi - placed there by artists and musicians and all you people that doodle on phone pads but never did anything else because the art teacher told you you didn't have any talent. Yeah, the interface is still crude and we still don't know where to put the wires or what to take to make us really believe it - but it's creeping up on us anyway - you'll soon be looking at some sexy piece of gold and plastic coming out the back of that new VRP (Virtual Reality Player) you just charged at 19% per anum.