Tying off threads

We are engaging in a week-long media diet. Or “media fast” is maybe more accurate. An information diet. It is exactly as hard as I imagined not to fill every dead minute with pointless web surfing.


The rise of “image sharing” (is this what they are called?) and group-surf blogs in the past three years seems to have exponentially increased the already sickening pace of image proliferation. Things Magazine references this quite often. Images have never been so disposable, so fleeting, and so easily forgotten. Blank spots in my schedule invariably see me following threads from Ffffound or Image Spark deep into nested rebloggery, never actually reaching the point of origin. Eventually these blogs will be the end of all attribution, as the Tumblr-style breadcrumb trail will never make it back far enough. All of these endless pages of decontextualized imagery. The most ridiculous experience is watching a single image bounce back and forth for a day between Ffffound and Image Spark as one group of the world (one set of users) goes to sleep and another wakes up and discovers it anew…on Ffffound or Image Spark. But after another day or two’s worth of images has buried it alive, it’s so quickly forgotten. Fffforgotten.


I think of my own complicity in this. It’s apparent that what I’m doing in “making something every day” is filling the world with more under-conceived images, as opposed to telling new stories, inventing new realities, moving a thoughtful audience, etc. (anything that would require some sustained and quiet effort in myself or you, my audience). More fodder for the infinite click trance of images unmoored from context or history, scanned and forgotten too quickly to have effect. Is this the downside to art on the Internet that I’ve been neglecting to acknowledge? All images are reduced to the flat plane of advertising, visual and mental pollution.

What is the (non-jokey) Internet version of a blank white canvas? I think of the tendency in Buddhist art for the Buddha to be represented by an empty space. How can we create a powerfully affecting aesthetics of subtraction for the Internet? A greasemonkey script that sucks all the images off of Ffffound, leaving only captions behind?

Edit: This turned into something.