Reading the stuff about Net.art in Protocol, I was reminded of two things that I see as extensions of some of the stuff Galloway’s talking about. Neither is quite as avant-garde as the projects discussed in the book, but they’re worth noting, one for artistic merit, the other for humor value.
The first is something called HTML fiction. It’s this mode of fiction that’s become popular over the last few years that uses computers or the Internet as an inseparable part of its presentation. Two by professionals that I can think of off the top of my head are So You Know It’s Me by Brian Oliu and “Michael Martone’s Leftover Water.”
So You Know It’s Me was presented as Craigslist missed connections. Oliu posted lyric essays about fictional missed connections on the site for 45 days, after which the first essay deleted itself and all of the essays fell away day by day as per how Craigslist works. Here’s an example.
“Michael Martone’s Leftover Water” was an eBay auction for a bottle of water from which writer Michael Martone drank at a reading. It was a real eBay auction, but the product description and the answers to user questions have a touch of the sarcastic and madcap.
The second is something of an evolution of “Use Me As A Medium” by Cary Peppermint (or at least a descendant of it, if we want to understand evolution as improvement). Not too long ago in 4chan’s sordid, vile history, users on one of the anime boards used intermediaries to argue about Japanese animation, best girls, and real Shin Maygoomee Tinsay games.
The full story is here, but here’s the long and the short of it: these men offer services on a website called Fiverr. For a few dollars, they both perform scripted video speeches, and technically, the scripts can be about anything. Some anons decided to pay a middle-aged dad from Australia, “Rog,” to laud the 2013-2014 anime Kill la Kill (which, uncomfortably pervy aesthetics aside, is actually pretty good). Rog, of course, didn’t know anything about anime. Some other anons cast Gordon Hurd, “Tyrone,” as an enemy to Rog, an opposite number. Hurd lives in the U.K., but originally comes from Cameroon.
These two guys are performing instructions, just like Cary Peppermint did back in the heyday of net.art, and they’re not the only ones on the internet doing it. Maybe it’s less funny if you’re not familiar with anime culture terminology, and it probably gets offensive because, y’know. 4chan. But… some of this stuff is undeniably funny.