This is a personal blog, please observe Think Hour for ad hoc quasi-diary writings and Big Ideas for my ratified longform items. I will see you there.


Death Begets Death // bestgore

I have seen a lot of gore online, as have many perhaps unassuming and therein ultimately shocked web surfers. Not to say I seek it out specifically very often, or that it’s some kind of fetishistic habit, but as opposed to wasting time getting into a “weird side of youtube” or dedicating brain-estate to news reports, who give a sugarcoated, or rather clinical, treatment of war incidents, accidents, crimes and even political assassinations, I like to go straight to the “source”. That could include one of many potential destinations, some well-known examples of different ilk are LiveLeak, WORLD STAR and DocumentingReality, alongside many Reddit “subs” or chan boards on larger websites. There’s genuine function served in seeking or receiving a glimpse of the absurd, extreme and, most importantly, real, I believe. Seeing the possibilities that our reality can entail, be it violent modes of death, engineering failures or crackheads trapped in sewage systems, is one of the greatest forms of education.

Best Gore Closed

Some will offer a direct contrary argument, but I think it can quell fears and anxieties - seeing some of the hell that manifests daily in human civilization might ablate some of the more philosophical and abstracted worry or wonky directives many people have. Would you be so fearful and anxious about that test coming up, if you sit down and enjoy some of the productions of al-Hayat Media Center an hour prior? Do you see what I mean. Maybe some will be more receptive to an ideological argument - if you’re privileged enough to live in a first world country, don’t you owe it to your membership of the broader human collective to see the horrors of the third, up close? Really I am worried that writing this will be shown against me in court one day when I face charges of Possessing or Viewing Discredited Media-files that the Chinese People Find Disrespectful.

While some web destinations of this kind deal mostly with “gore” and “death”, often the broad swathe of media offered is rather innocuous and even entertaining in absurd ways (fight compilations, homeless wackos, Kiwi Farms cattle obscured from herding). BestGore, the site that inspired this post via being sent to the grave alongside /r/WatchPeopleDie and many others, has an admittedly very direct focus on gory found footages. Narcos, Indian traffic accident results, america’s violentest foreign videos and more are… were… featured regularly. Yet not incapable or lacking desire to occasionally see such video, I rarely ever visited the site because it was poorly maintained and all around not very interesting. They never took much care to add information to contextualize videos well, which is not unexpected for this kind of site, and where this information would often be debated - its lacking usually ultimately remedied and clarified - in a comment section, the comment sections on this site were of widely noted low quality.

Mark Marek

However lame the website was overall, its core principle of providing access to real-data of a decidedly non-harmful form mean I am upset to see it go. I seriously hate to see places like this get shut down. Luckily for all involved, human nature and human mass invariably overpowers the immediately weighty halberd of artificial government/legal forces and pressures, and so the refugees will seek asylum and satiate their demands and dreams elsewhere. WatchPeopleDie is still referred to on the ban-escaping form-taking Reddit pages that rose from its ash pile, and I’m sure DocumentingReality are seeing an uptick in memberships (cold hard cash is much more buoyant than advertisements and web-visibility) after what happened here.

Immutability // maxosiriart

The Work in Question

On the subject of computive artism, I enjoy to follow from a distance (read: as and when it shows up in my twitter stream) the crypto-art “movement” and the artists and collectors who it comprises of. I couldn’t tell you any specific artists name, but on the whole it is very interesting. You can in following get glimpses of small visual “pieces” which are very very diverse in composition, form, message and of course quality. I’m not detailed in sureness of how it works or why anyone would put money/assets towards collecting something digital like this, and it’s worrying to think of how quick some of these works might be churned out to try and grab a series of low bids for money-making. It’s all of course down to the blockchain, the massive communal leger that is the backbone of cryptocurrency, and having the art be part of this big auditable string.

Juxtaposed Art

Being so broad and interesting a topic, it is scary to considering researching it along all axes. In light of this, I just have one tweet that I saw to discuss… the one linked in the header of this section. Mr. “Max Osiris” says he was kicked off of SuperRare - one of the premiere marketplaces for “crypto art” - for refusing to “burn” a piece of art. What does that mean? Well, first off, in more detail, SuperRare is one of a few marketplaces for crypto, this one providing some editorial cool and serif-ed font class. This along with them clarifying in their FAQ that artists with access to the marketplace being hand-picked, it seems they’re maybe aiming from some kind of exclusivity or curation to set them apart. Like the other marketplace I cite, they mint the art as non-fungible tokens (tokens being a superset of crypto, basically a passkey to a specific asset on a chain alongside the main blockchain) and even offer second-hand royalties to artists.

Trash Art History

The act of burning seems to be destruction of one of these tokens. Exactly the same as if you were to burn a painting in the real world. I assume this means you could buy something just to destroy it, this is very fun to imagine buying any number of great real-world works of history and torching them for kicks. How this relates to Mr. Max I do not know, because after a fair amount of searching I can’t really get to the bottom of the drama behind this. There’s reference to copyright issues as well as “trash art” as an apparent genre. Wait, wait, I found something here, don’t change your station.

Recently there was a discussion about “TRASH GIFS” and “Spam Art” by a curator at the museum of modern art. At first glance they were mutually exclusive ideas. Spam Art is the derogatory term for works of art made outside of a museum context AKA “digital graffiti”. “TRASH GIFS” is a label placed on the work of such artists, as a verdict on their poor taste. Spam artists aim to disperse digital graffiti freely throughout a global virtual system of web based art galleries. Trash art is a generally speaking a movement created for the sole purpose of depicting an image of a trash can that has also been created.

I think I might be divining a gist here, but my desire to continue is waning greatly the more I read. It seems like there’s a philosophical debate going on about who can and cannot contribute art to an amalgam (block chain or marketplace listing?) due to the quality of their work, the fact their is explicit cost/scarcity involved and the ultimate curation or consumption of the works. Maybe copyright is less of an issue here, some manifestation of these dilemmas of quality/creation come to mind quite intuitively to begin with. Whatever the case, I think I will not think too much about it. This is cool.