Limited Edition
A Place of Ill Purpose
Features

Ghost Hardware

Text by Tim Maughan
Illustrations by Jasjyot Singh Hans

Main1 lr
Jasjyot Singh Hans

Anika starts with broad brush strokes.

A swipe of her hand is enough to brush away the initial debris on the face of the billboard: hastily scrawled felt-tip pen tags, random stickers, cartoon monkey faces, and ironically pixelated icons, until the surface is clean, and nothing interferes with the now pristine Volkswagen advert that fills the 20-by-10-foot space. She pauses, not knowing where next to focus her efforts. She has only reached back a matter of days, and the VW branding still appears relatively fresh. Undisturbed top soil. Pulling this first layer down completely would take too long—a noob error. Better to invite an element of chance, to make seemingly random exploratory digs. She reaches out to the far right side of the board. Her hand physically falls well short of the actual distance, but the gesture is enough for the software to suss what she means.

In response, the image tears, paper-like, at the edge of the board. A long, thin section of the torn edge begins to curl back toward her, flapping lazily in the cold air. She jerks her arm back and, with convincing momentum and a satisfyingly synthesized rrriiippp, the tear cuts across the billboard’s surface. The torn material frees itself, curls and flaps like a Chinese dragon taking flight. It flees to her left down Oudezijds Voorburgwal, as if assisted by a non-existent gust of wind, like it knows its fate: it dissolves in the air, pixels turned to particles, scattered by lazy Brownian motion across the surface of the dark canal.

History, nothing else. The present discarded.

Anika steps back, just slightly. At first the billboard looks like the flag of some long-failed state, the relatively sparse white space of the VW poster horizontally bisected by a thick strip of red. But when she looks closer she can see the software-calculated tear marks between the red and the white, where the app has decided the outer skin of the paper has come free, exposing compacted, wood-pulp fibers. Irregular, erratic, unnecessarily complicated white borderlands between two disputing territories on a map. She smiles at the irony—if there is any dispute here it’s over time, not space. Relevance and redundancy rather than land and control.

Her second tear is vertical, from the top to the bottom, crossing the first to exaggerate—perhaps subconsciously—the flag effect. This second rip goes deeper though; where it crosses the first a third layer is exposed, a rough square of tropical blue sky meeting golden sands, the hint of bronzed flesh. Now the surface reminds Anika of a child’s pass-the-parcel prize, cheap wrapping paper impatiently mauled at by sticky, infantile fingers while the music pauses.

She doesn’t give it too much thought and starts to work faster. She knows without even glancing at the clock that hangs in her periphery that she needs to dig deeper—much deeper. These advert layers are superficial, fleeting in their inherent disposability, each paper-thin stratum little more than a couple of weeks, at most a month. Barely measurable on the archaeological scale. She needs to go back years.

As she continues to rip—forgotten textures cascading into the acidic air—she makes claws with her fingers, and the app instantly senses her urgency. Now she’s shadow-tearing away layers an inch deep, the numbers on the floating digital clock spinning back in a blur of skeuomorphic, rose-tinted LED kitsch while the air fills with the dissolving shrapnel of corporate identity.

Within two minutes she’s gone back roughly five years, according to the clock. She pauses, catches her breath. Looks at the mess she’s uncovered/created. The entirety of the billboard’s surface is now chaos, a collage of torn material, like someone has rooted around in a paper-recycling vat and pulled out everything they could before throwing it at a paste-soaked surface. Scruffy, virtual paper shards flap lazily in a simulated breeze. At first it aggravates her, the unregulated explosion of not just colors but textures—the different adverts seem to have been printed on a range of subtly varied material. In places they intersect with stickers and spray-painted throw-ups, creating map contour lines. The effect is like gazing down into valleys and weather eroded inlets. Snatches of language flow down typographical riverbeds; rain and grime stains cut circular bays into patchwork fields made from long forgotten club night flyers and hookers’ calling cards. Infinite fucking detail. She wants to reach out and touch it all, to run her fingers over the rough rust spots, the sodden paper, the smooth domes of dried paint drips, but she resists. There’s nothing to feel. Plus she’s unsure how the app would interpret even the smallest of intimate, caressing gestures.

Instead she removes her spex, rubs the bridge of her nose. The mess is gone in an instant; only the VW advert of the LEGO-like self-driving electric Polo car floating in weightless Kubrickian white space remains. Time has been travelled. For the first time in awhile she’s aware of the micro-drones floating above her; a swarm of six, flitting like hummingbirds on whirring quad-rotors, recording and broadcasting her every move. She makes a mental note to check her follower count, but when she returns the spex to her face and the mess returns, that’s quickly forgotten.

There’s a certain beauty to it, she admits reluctantly to herself, even though it bites against her usual leanings for aesthetic minimalism. She’s looking for signs now, clues for what might lay below what has already been exposed. Ripping and tearing has got her this far, but any further unguided excavation could be dangerous. The last thing she wants is to dig too deep, to damage what she’s looking for and force a rewind, especially not with a live audience.

So she scans it. At first, as always, she tries to be methodological, systematic, but her mutinous eyes refuse; they dart across it semi-randomly. She reminds herself to allow for chance.

It pays off. In less than twenty seconds she’s found something: a rough triangle, about four inches on each side, caught between cloud-insurance blue and unmistakable Chocomel brand yellow. A triangle of black and white, executed with carefully hand-guided spray from a can with stencil-like precision. The tell-tale sign.

Anika blinks through the drop-down menus in her periphery. In her hand appears an archaeologist’s brush, a long slim handle with a mass of black bristles, soft yet wiry. Slowly and patiently she works at the area around the black and white triangle, skillfully flicking away pixels that fall away as blue and yellow dust. Her hours of practice are paying off; the area starts to expand, more contrasting stencil lines emerge before her eyes. After a few more minutes she’s revealed enough to be sure she’s on target. She flips the brush over in her hand, using its flat, pointed tip to pry away at the layer above. It’s frustrating at first, like trying to find the end of a roll of Scotch tape, but satisfying when eventually a section big enough to grasp between her thumb and index finger peels away. She teases it at first, gently separating it from the billboard, hoping the tear doesn’t run. She ends up just pulling away a few inches’ worth. She holds her breath for a few tense seconds, and no rip comes. Accompanied by the damp sound of wet wallpaper disobediently freeing itself, the whole layer—and the many fragments adhered upon it—comes away, dissolves, is forgotten.

Buried treasure unearthed.

Even though she knew what to expect, she’s a little disappointed at first. The sleek image of a US strike drone is angled slightly along its axis so its long, straight wings reach up and down to form a cross, a bright green olive branch in its beak. It makes Anika think of flags again. A flag sewn from a billion dollars of semi-autonomous military hardware. She can’t tell what poster it’s been painted on top of, so much of it has been blacked out.

Anika almost sneers at the graffiti’s naive, simplistic political sentiment. With a blink, she switches into ghost mode.

The sky above Oudezijds Voorburgwal darkens, the canal’s waters turn black, neon reflections shimmer on its surface. She’s punched herself in at the date the clock was showing when she pulled the final layer away, 2 a.m. Too early, but best to come in to soon. Her hand works an imaginary jog wheel and everything goes into time-lapse—ghost figures walk up and down the pathways, moving impossibly fast, stopping too suddenly, blinking in and out of existence. 3 a.m. The dark cloudscape above her shifts like water churned-up by subaquatic propellers. 3:45. The reflections on the canal start to strobe. 3:58.

MCD spot 2

She releases the jog wheel as a ghostly figure appears in front of her, its translucent bulk blocking her view of the billboard. It’s him, she knows. His hands hang at his sides, fingers flecked with black and white paint, holding similarly splattered cans. He’s wearing a baggy storm suit, his limbs highlighted principally by the Adidas triple stripe. His head is hidden inside a fur-lined hood.

Beyond him on the billboard hang three shapes, insect-like and mechanical. They’re billboard beetles, the most infamous of his tools, graffiti clean-up robots hacked into autonomous spray cans. They scurry away on the surface, their movement an unsettling mélange of mechanical precision and animal erraticism. In their wake they leave sections of the drone image in the same black and white patterns that have been painted onto their plastic shells, simultaneously evoking barcodes and savannah grassland camouflage.

She pauses time. Edges around the figure to try and catch his face, two of the micro-drones following her. No luck. It’s un-pixelated at least, but hidden by his tinted spex and bulky, paint splattered industrial respirator mask that looks like a prop from a pre-millennial science fiction movie, nostalgia for a lost industrial future.

Disappointing. But expected. Two more chances.

She flips out of ghost mode, back into excavation, daylight returning, and looks back at the finished bombing. Drone cross, green olive branch. She blinks to take a reality grab, then blinks a few more times to post it to the watching world, vocalizing tags as she does: “#amsterdam #graffiti #street_art, #naive #activism #drones #hippysters #simplistic #stencil #beetles #changetheworldLOL #occupy #politicLOL #3Cube.”

×

Sonic Acts 2023, Amsterdam - Forgotten Futures


Performance: “Excavating 3Cube”

Artist: Anika Bernhardt

Location: city wide/live stream

In association with Quartier Latin Studios, NL


Sonic Acts 2023 is thrilled to present renowned social media performance artist Anika Berhardt’s real-time work, “Excavating 3Cube” live from the streets of Amsterdam. Berhardt’s work opens the festival and explores our chosen theme of Forgotten Futures.


Using the groundbreaking Urban Archaelogy AR app developed by Quartier Latin Studios, Berhardt will attempt to unearth what are considered to be the final works of infamous British street artist 3Cube to SA2013 attendees and a global audience. It promises to be a unique experience as well as a stunning demonstration of what the city’s best developers can produce.


About Anika Berhardt:


Anika Bernhardt has been working in performance art for just four years, but has already achieved critical acclaim worldwide for pieces such as “Waiting For Buses: 3 Continents” and the controversial, perpetual game-art “Stalk Me,” now in its second continuous year of play and with over a quarter of a million active followers. Utilizing first- and third-person spex cam footage, timeline posts, and vanity drones, her work argues that social media has made all public and private life a continuous stream of artistic performance.



About 3Cube:


Born and raised in the graffiti mecca of Bristol, British street artist 3Cube gained his earliest recognition in the medium of digital AR, hijacking QR codes on corporate advertising billboards to present his work to an often unsuspecting audience. Moving into two-dimensional painting in his later career, 3Cube gained wider recognition through the use of hacked utility drones and maintenance robots to create illegal public art on unprecedented scales, while always questioning the barriers between public and corporate spaces. After taking his work across Europe, 3Cube was pursued by fans and law enforcement agencies alike. The still anonymous artist vanished over six years ago. Theories suggest he left for one of the Future 3 nations (Brazil, India, or China). However, nothing that can be unquestionably identified as his work has emerged in any of these territories as yet.



About Urban Archaeology:



In “Excavating 3Cube,” Anika Berhardt will be unveiling the app’s new Ghost Mode, still currently in beta, which allows the user to also see moving, three-dimensional imagery of past events reconstructed from the unearthed data, in an attempt to finally reveal the identity of the elusive artist.


×

The next dig site is Leidensplein, just a short walk away.

It’s the American Hotel, a 120-year old-homage to the Berlage style, an atemporal mismatch of neo-gothicism and modernist architecture. Anika vaguely remembers when 3Cube’s piece was up; it was quite hard to miss, even if its lifespan was fleeting.

She stands in the middle of the square taking deep breaths, blanking out the passing commuters and bumbling squads of stoned tourists. She looks straight at one of the huge building’s corners as she raises her hands into the air. Ignoring the hotel’s intricate stylings, she treats it as though it’s one, huge solid cube, placing her hands so that from her point of view it looks as though each one is grasping the top of the two intersecting, corner forming walls. She makes her hands into claws again and starts to exert downward pressure. Gently at first. There’s no feedback from her hands or arms, obviously, but she can tell from just looking that it’s not enough. A little more.

The tops of the wall start to crack, then crumble, the ageing facade falling away in small chunks at first, smashing into pixel dust as they hit Leidensplein’s cobbled floor. She could just tug away at the whole thing a little at a time, ripping away chunks of masonry to get at what’s beneath, but she’s conscious of her audience of followers. This is performance art, after all.

She concentrates on her arm movements, assuring she continues to ramp up the pressure while keeping the downward movement fluid, steady. At first the walls seem to bend and flex outward as she unzips the building. The corner unravels like a seam, but then the simulated momentum is too much; both sides of the building start to collapse under their own weight. Huge sections of wall are falling away now, and as they do she’s reminded of early-century Hollywood action movies that tugged at consumer heartstrings with computer-generated 9/11 sense-memories. As the sections hit the ground, they explode into dust, and before she knows it a huge storm cloud of fragments and debris is rolling across Leidensplein toward her, swallowing up oblivious pedestrians and loiterers. In a few short seconds she’s covered by it herself, day turning to night as pixels extinguish the sun. In the disorienting darkness inside of the cloud she allows herself a sly grin, satisfied not just with her performance, but also the fleeting moments of quiet and solitude.

And they are fleeting. As quickly as it rolled over her the cloud is gone, leaving no traces of debris as the displaced masonry dissolves into air. She looks back at the hotel, now a flat cube plastered on both visible walls with huge KLM branding, white and blue. A smiling stewardess stands in front of a faux-augmented reality global map, countless dotted lines expanding out from Schipol, and she’s instantly reminded of old images of massive NORAD display screens, similar lines tracing the lazy but unstoppable re-entry arcs of world-destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The huge billboard, seven stories high, is made from panels, a grid of rectangles affixed to the scaffolding they used while applying some nano-particle based anti-weathering treatment to the hotel’s exterior back in ’19. She checks the clock—with that one quick, ostentatious move she’s gone back five years. She must only be weeks away. Smaller steps from here on.

She returns her hands to the top of the wall, exerts downward pressure again. This time as the walls flex out they quickly break into their individual panels, each seeming to pop away from its supporting frame and hanging in the air for a fraction of a second before falling and dissolving.

Underneath is another grid. Unmistakable red and white Coca-Cola branding replaces the KLM sponsored global annihilation. She repeats the gestures; panels fall, dissolve. Coca-Cola becomes HSBC. Again. HSBC becomes BMW. Again. BMW becomes IBM. She continues, dismissing branding to history.

And then she’s there. Pay dirt.

spot1 lr

The two-sided billboard is white, but filled with a pattern that emanates from its center, like the rays of a stylized rising sun. Anika strides forward to get a closer look. The pattern is made up of strike-drone silhouettes, flying overhead from one point on the horizon, becoming larger as they approach—a massive squadron of them, all black against the white, almost blocking out the pale sky. Again, the whole image is monochrome apart from one, bright glimpse of green, as one lone drone, near the top of the whole image, holds a wilting olive branch in its bulbous non-beak.

Anika relaxes, just for a second, then blinks herself into Ghost Mode again.

Jog wheel hand flicks, day to night, stop-start ghost people. It’s 4:47 am before Leidensplein is empty enough of people for the work to begin.

There’s a rumble from Anika’s right as a semi-transparent VW camper van skids into the ancient square; it’s an old one, rusted and patched in places, glinting in the neon solar panels on the roof the only indication she hasn’t accidentally dialed back decades instead of hours. At first she can’t place the source of the rumbling—the roof panels suggest the van has been retrofitted enough to discard the diesel engine, and when the side doors pop open the origin of the sound is clear: sub-bass stabs vibrating through her spex’s bone-conductors and drilling into her skull. There’s a muffled shout and the music cuts out, not wanting to attract attention, as two figures disembark.

There’s no time to fuck around. They have to work quickly.

In less than a minute they’ve unloaded four large, low-walled boxes from the van, arranging them in a simple grid in front of the American Hotel. Lids are removed, but in the early morning gloom Anika can’t see what’s inside. She doesn’t have to wait long; she watches one of the figures—him, she presumes—air typing at a virtual keypad.

And then something—or some things, more accurately—are lifting out of the first box. Then the second, third, fourth. It takes Anika a second to realize what they are, but then it’s obvious: micro-drones, half the size of the ones she’s broadcasting with today, probably 3D printed. As the four groups of them lift into the sky they merge into one massive swarm, easily numbering in the hundreds, dancing around each other in wide swirls, then forming tighter, more solid shapes as they group together, spacing out into a wide net as they separate. There’s something joyous about it, something she recognizes. At first she thinks it’s some quantum particle-modelling simulation she’d seen at that tepid CERN art-meets-science conference, but then it’s all too obvious where she’d really seen it before—in starlings flocking over Central Station in the fading daylight, thousands of them tagging the grey sky with graceful, ever shifting graf.

Then he’s air-typing again. The swarm rises higher into the sky before dropping again, dive-bombing the hotel with a singularity of purpose, sweeping impossibly close to the huge IBM billboard. As it passes the grid of panels, each member unleashes its payload of paint-guano, splattering it in white. It seems at first like an impossibly large space to fill, but after the fourth coordinated fly-by, the whole area has been blotted out, colorless.

More ghostly air typing, and the drones momentarily regroup above the deserted square before another strafing run begins, quickly followed by a second, third. Each one leaves behind more and more black on top of the white. The pattern slowly appears, like a strangely, disturbingly organic ink-jet printer leaving its mark on the walls of a pristine paper castle.

When the swarm rises into the air for the last time, the image is complete. Only a few quad-rotor hummingbird stragglers are left behind, spitting pressurized green ink into the olive branch shape.

And then, as elegantly as they rose, the swarm falls back into its boxes. Silence.

Still hidden by his spex and mask, Anika can’t see the figure’s face as he and his companion load the boxes back into the van, but she knows he must be grinning.

Because she is.

She shakes it off. The final result is impressive, sure, but the medium has more resonance than the message, she tells herself.

She flips out of ghost mode, back into excavation, daylight returning, and looks back at the finished bombing. Drone squadrons, green olive branch. She blinks to take a reality grab, then blinks a few more times to post it to the watching world, vocalizing tags as she does: “#amsterdam #graffiti #street_art, #naive #activism #drones #droneart #newaesthetic #hippysters #simplistic #changetheworldLOL #occupy #politicLOL #3Cube.”


×

The final site is down in De Pijp, and Anika has to jump on the number 24 tram to get there.

The ride takes about fifteen minutes as it’s getting close to rush hour. It’s drizzling outside, and the narrow tram cabin is filled with damp commuters and shimmering, unskippable AR ads. Trying to evade claustrophobia she stares out of the window, through her own reflection, into the cameras of the vanity drones following her.

She disembarks at Albert Cuypstraat and walks her way down the street’s famous market. The crowds start to thin out and some of the stalls are packing away, revealing their uncovered metal skeletons. Plenty of the others are still open though, and the smell of roasted chicken and freshly pressed stroppenwafles remind her she skipped lunch.

The billboard itself is on the corner of Eerste Jen Steenstraat and Sarphatipark, overlooking a small square dotted with retro clothes stores, cake decorators, and bespoke fabbing workshops. The working class bustle of the market reminds her of how gentrified the area has become over the last decades. The small, narrow houses and apartments used to be run by slum landlords and were crammed with broke students and struggling immigrants, but now so many seem to be art studios and development labs, start-up offices and artisan bakeries. To Anika it seems to be an odd choice of location; down here—even five years ago—his work would have been lost among all the generic hipster crap. From what she can see there’s barely an inch of wall untouched by tags, flyers, or graffiti. Hell, the Urban Archaeology app was developed in some squat-slash-dev lab nearby.

The light is fading when she gets to the target, so she works quickly. The billboard is a neglected mess—multiple layers overlap, mixed with stickers and scribbled tags. It looks like someone is mid-excavation already. Anika doesn’t give it too much thought. Time is pressing in. She just finds somewhere to start ripping and tearing, her gestures a semaphore-like blur sending fragments of history spiraling into the air. The clock ticks back methodically. Anika pauses every couple of minutes to step back and survey the whole billboard, looking for the tell-tale signs. Nothing is forthcoming. And then, about twenty rips in, as she’s pulling away a shard of Apple branded minimalism, she freezes. Stares.

Underneath the torn away fragment is a single word in bold Helvetica, filling the exact space she’s just unearthed:


Why


Coincidence, obviously. She smiles to herself, tears again, this time at tattered Samsung remnants. Another font, retro-futuristic:


Chase


She forces a chuckle, powers on. Exposes another layer beneath some rain-stained Mercedes small-print. Italic:


The


Ignores it, rips again. Over-used faux vintage Copperplate.


Past?


It’s the question mark that makes her pause. She rips at the word. It’s gone. Coincidence over. Move on.

She tears again, dislodging an Android Spex OS logo, a little dumb-looking robot with oversized glasses. Fake-calligraphy font.


Past?


Her legs go weak, a sudden pain throbs in her shoulders. She grunts and starts laying into the billboard, stress and anger powering her exaggerated arm gestures. Simulated paper fragments flap in the app-modelled breeze. She’s flailing almost, emotion forcing out rational delicacy, the edge of no control.

When she pauses again, she feels her breath leave her lungs, panic gnawing at her spine. The fonts have changed, their positions shifted, but the words remain the same.


Why chase the past?


Confused, she stumbles back into a bicycle lane, triggering shouts and bells.

She checks the clock; she’s gone back too far. Years. A decade. Further than the data should go. Someone is fucking with her, messing with the app. Screwing with the database. Hackers? Griefers? The developers? Why? Just to troll her? As a prank?

Everything is performance art now, now everyone has an audience. Everything.

Main2 lr web
Jasyjoyt Singh Hans

She feels suddenly exposed, vulnerable. She glances up and down the street, trying to see if she’s being followed—physically, that is.

The drones watch her, nonplussed.

She blinks into Ghost Mode, reaches for the invisible jog wheel, realizes too late that it’s not the wisest move.

A rumble behind her, low, distant, growing, approaching fast.

A wall of canal water twenty feet high powers down the narrow valley of houses.

There’s no time to move, to blink out even, before she’s submerged. Everything goes dark.

Silver fish, elongated and metallic like shrunken strike drones, swarm around and past her in a flickering, shifting shoal. In the sub-aquatic half-light she’s surrounded by floating debris: masonry, roof tiles, but mainly long strips of torn paper spiraling around her, ever closer, until they threaten to engulf her, abandoned to history.

As they close in around her face she recognizes them, their patterns and colors, snatches of typography, and realizes it’s her her own litter, the discarded fragments she’d seen dissolve into air, the street hieroglyphs she’d decided, almost arbitrarily, had no aesthetic value.

As quickly as she’s entwined by them, they are gone.

She turns round, and through the murk she can make out the billboard again, now pristine white, five lines of black text, the same phrase repeated:

来连接远期
आओ और भविष्य में शामिल
Venha juntar-se ao futuro
Kom en sluit me aan bij de toekomst
Come and join the future

And then the waters have receded, as quickly as they came, and Anika stands alone, the sky above her rapidly darkening.

She glances back at the billboard, the collage of words and paper fragments just as she’d left it when she’d stopped digging. She blinks to take a reality grab, then tiredly blinks a few more times to post it to the watching world, vocalizing just one tag as she does: “#3Cube.”


×

Sonic Acts 2023, Amsterdam - Forgotten Futures


Event: Hobosourcing, tapping into the vein of the street


Speaker: Karl Li


Location: De Baile


In association with JCDecaux Media


Leiden University researcher Karl Li looks at the growing technique of ‘hobosourcing,’ the practice of digitally networking consenting street sleepers and the homeless in urban environments to aid in data collection projects and applications. Since its earliest recorded use, the provision of mobile wifi hotspots by the Bartle Bogle Hegarty marketing agency at SXSW in 2012, Li has traced the development of ‘hobonets’ around the world and their use in a wide range of applications, including landscape mapping, traffic management, guerrilla marketing, artistic performance, security, covert surveillance, drone range extension, and mass distraction crime. Li will examine the ethics of the hobosourcing as well as pragmatic and technical considerations for those wanting to explore this still emerging medium.



×

Anika is staring at the escalators, watching them deposit their mixed cargo of tourists, art students, and aging intelligentsia down into the Stedelijk Museum’s lower annex. From where she’s standing the escalator tube seems to curve upward away from her as it disappears out of sight, its matte-white, minimalist stylings yearning for some forgotten, Kubrickian future where its passengers would be held in place by Coriolis forces.

Behind her she can hear a voice, self-aware and assured, talking about her: “What’s interesting of course,” it states, to anyone within broadcast range, “is that although taken from an apparently digital source the entire work has been recreated by the artist in found, analogue materials. Every layer is made from discarded billboard posters, torn by hand and affixed with paste. There are obvious nods to Warhol, Touchon, Cornell, early décollage techniques . . . but most interestingly it seems to be gently poking fun at the New Aesthetic movement, if anyone remembers that. Whether it’s pure nostalgia is unclear. In fact, that seems to be the very question it wants to pose.”

Anika glances in the direction of the voice but doesn’t see its owner. Instead she gazes over a line of heads to her work on the wall, the 20-foot-by-10-foot canvas, framed by reclaimed billboard housing, asking her the same question over and over again:


Why chase the past?


She doesn’t have an answer, even now. She’d hoped she would, that the act of taking all those discarded fragments, the rejected shards of art and color and fiction, would help her understand. They didn’t. Instead she just looks back at the escalator tube, wondering what futures lie at the top of the rolling steel stairway.


Infinite Detail book cover

Infinite Detail

MCD × FSGO, 2019

A timely and uncanny portrait of a world in the wake of fake news, diminished privacy, and a total shutdown of the Internet

BEFORE: In Bristol’s center lies the Croft, a digital no-man’s-land cut off from the surveillance, Big Data dependence, and corporate-sponsored, globally hegemonic aspirations that have overrun the rest of the world. Ten years in, it’s become a center of creative counterculture. But it’s fraying at the edges, radicalizing from inside. How will it fare when its chief...

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