Thursday, May 12, 2005

So 15 Nanoseconds Ago

I'm a huge Neuromancer geek. I actually can't wait for that future to reach us, and I look for signs that it's here all the time (in fact I saw a hipster in the East Village last night with four vampire-pointed teeth alternated with nubs of teeth along just his top row and thought, "Generation gapping taken to its literal extreme, eh?" get it? gaps, teeth...ahhh...nevermind). The problem with looking for this cool new world, however, is that nothing "cool" stays so for very long anymore (Mutant Dracula had better have a good dental plan) and so any snippets of it you find now will not still be cool when the other snippets crop up. There will be no "cool" future, per se, because although new cool things will come along, they'll exist side by side with other things passing into hasbeendom. There will always be this combination. Consider this passage from a review of an exhibition called "Contagious Media" at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in the New York Times:

The exhibition offers seven viral artifacts: Black People Love Us! (a Web site), "Nike Sweatshop" (an e-mail exchange), "All your base are belong to us," (a badly translated phrase from a Japanese video game), Hot or Not (a Web site), Fundrace (a Web site), Dancing Baby (a piece of animation) and the Rejection Line (a phone number).

Don't worry if you've never heard of these. It just means that you're not cool. And now that you've learned about them in the mainstream media (known as MSM on the Web), they're not all that cool, either.
Not only are they not that cool, in the blogosphere (where posting a piece mere seconds after someone else suggests you owe them a cite) they haven't been for relatively quite some time now. What this suggests to me is that exhibitions like this cannot be done while the material is still interesting to its primary audience, at least not offline. Unlike paintings or sculpture or photography which are meant to have a longer shelf-life, new media either graduates to old media (like the Dancing Baby did to TV's Ally McBeal) or gets dragged into the Trash icon to clear diskspace. There will be classics of course; "All your base are belong to us" still makes me chuckle, but it does seem rather "nostalgic" at this point.

UPDATE: For an example of what's not quite oh-so-15-nanoseconds-ago in the blogosphere yet, see this post on Brian Sholis's In Search of the Miraculous. Be sure not to miss this snippet (joy happens!)


Anonymous crionna said...

So, the great t-shirt that read "Everything you like I liked five years ago" should be changed to "5 minutes ago"?

I knew Burning Man was doomed when it showed up on the calendar in California AAA's magazine Via.

Josh Rubin is still cool though, right?

5/12/2005 06:46:00 PM  
Anonymous crionna said...

BTW, speaking of new media and conspiracy theories, check this out.

5/12/2005 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Isn't Josh Rubin a character in Pattern Recognition?

Interesting consipracy worthy, I'd say...

5/13/2005 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Jackmormon said...

It was a pretty bad sign for the exhibition when I realized that some four of the pieces were Peretti productions. The Perettis are clever, but given the focus of the exhibit on internet ephemera, the emphasis is somewhat silly.

5/15/2005 01:11:00 PM  

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