Fuck it. I am here to hook you up. Last week i gave you a glimpse into one of the sites i like to scroll while looking for inspiration. Today I'll add a few more. Most of them come from those no-code site makers like cargo. Which is kind of sad when you think about it. A lot of these sites are amazing but they start to feel like thousands of dollars of student debt screaming their art into the void, razor-sharp aesthetics that at best will be dulled into a bland corporate nubs with parallax animations once they get hired. Please visit these portfolio sites. Find creators you enjoy, follow them on instagram. email them and say youre happy you found them. repost their shit. hire them if you can. make their efforts feel worth it, and applaud their time spent off of soul-templating monsters like wordpress and squarespace.
What a shit name for a superb collection of talent. ok i dont know why im hating on the sites im featuring right now. its not the platforms themselves, its the way the whole internet works right now that i think has me in a stink. but never mind that, theres a lot of cool artists with sites here from all around the world. I do want to put it on record that Readymag's email newsletter isnt half as good as cargo's though it's been recommended twice as much from the accounts i follow.
This is actually a goldmine. One of the cool consequences of quarantine was this elite book fair finally being brought to the masses. Say what you will about the people behind printed matter (ive heard so many conflicting things that I have no right to believe or repeat), but their exhibitors tend to represent the best, the brainiest and bad assest in an industry that lives and dies on aesthetics. Very good place to waste hours and find inspiration.
cargo.site is probably the polar opposite of neocities.org, the platform where i make the site you see before you today. It's almost another one of those run-of-the-mill no-code drag-n-drop site makers, but if the mill was chic as fuck. catering mostly to artist portfolio sites, exploring their use cases or sites in use section is a great place for those who love some good typography or just to digitally wander. AND their weekly newsletter is one of the very few I actually look forward to! if youre into that shit, definitely sign up.
It's where i came across the Craigslist:Now project (pictured below) from internet kook Matthew Bielak. glitched-out in-browser windows is an aesthetic i will never tire of. its a cyberpsychedelic good time, and he has some other fun stuff on his site so go check it out.
speaking of cool projects that spills out into the real world. Im reading a book right now called Rabbits, and it involves this massive game with clues hidden all over the world, a la (that find me game), kinda a la cicada, slightly a la ready player one, and very a la Jejune Institute. Jejune was a fantastic game that used all of san francisco as its board, and i was lucky enough to play a few rounds while living there. You would buy a specific postcard at a shop in China town, or seek out a radio transmission in a specific spot in Dolores park. it was magic and fun, and the inspiration for the AMC show Dispatches from Elsewhere.
wouldya take a look at this css??!
Thinking about Jejune, i looked up their website, which i had never bothered to do before. Jejune Institute ended a few years ago I believe, but it turns out the institute is just one project under the umbrella of an entity called Divine Nonchalance.
There is one project that I suppose could still be considered active, which i might spend some time spelunking in the coming weeks. Last thing I'll say about this is, I found their IG account, and the guy behind all of their projects flat-out roasted Meow Wolf, which i thought was fantastic, as I could see how people might unjustly draw similarities between their work and his own. I wonder what he thinks of MSCHF? What do you think of MSCHF?
I realize i have no way for people to leave comments, and i doubt i even should, as the silence would be deafening, if not defeating.
last but not leasterdly, i recently watched this docuseries my pal clark had kept recommending me on exploring all but abandoned virtual worlds. the series is free up on means.tv- the leftist worker-owned answer to streaming services like netflix. the first and last episodes are easily the best for those who don't have all the time in the world to invest, like i do.
i havent signed up for means.tv yet- there's just so much free content out there, im trying to make it through the rest of my years without a single streaming subscription. which reminds me, i was thinking of starting a search engine that scans titles on those streaming sites of ill-repute, typically hosted in countries youve never heard of or never want to visit, that involve mouse-click jiu-jitsu skills in order to get the player going: fmovies, c1ne, kisscartoons, watchcartoons and the like. which in turn reminds me i was supposed to start a project journal page for this site, to catalogue all the wee dumb DOA idears i keep collecting in my head.
first up we have this wonderful gem from a creator i mentioned in last months linkdump, picsnportraits, who you may recall holds the honorary title of being the only entity i support on patreon, as their sleepcore series is a vital component of my nightly routine and im also kinda poor atm. so. The above video is a seven-and-a-half minute exploration into the work of the first Armenian animation studio, and their lead animators work exploring visions of the future. This episode is just one in a series of videos dilligently exploring Retrofuturism in Animation, and imho, some of the most underrated educational content on the youtubes. I rewatched this one this morning and damn, every frame is putting in the work. do your eyeballs a favor and treat them to something new. hell, do your balls a favor and jerk off to it, who knows what it might do for your inner map?
yall would you look at this game design? above is the cover of a fold-out poster/map for a tabletop rpg i ordered from worldchamp. es so sick! i thought tabletop rpgs were all on some warlocky elven fantasy shit. but this guy turns all that on it's head. two other projects he had that caught my eye are No Game, a weird zine describing their abstract process of creating a game, and CYBERMETAL 2012, who's setting is described thusly:
"A role-playing game that takes place in Pentagram City, a fictional city in an alternative history where a metal band became incredibly popular, and brought about a ritualistic sacrifice of Ronald Reagan, and in doing so, created a rift in dimensions, allowing Hell to come forth into the world. There was a war between the US Gov and the demons of hell, that took place in Pentagram City which became walled off and quarantined from the rest of the world. The demons win the war, and now we find ourselves in Pentagram City, a place that is stuck in time, with technological and cultural progress grinding to a halt, perpetually stuck in the late eighties and nineties after being walled off. When I say walled off, there's a firewall that is literally the impenetrable fires of Hell that have blocked pentagram city off from the rest of the world."
there is a digital ($18USD) and hardcover version ($40USD), and fans have gone on to add extra material and characters to the game. dude has tons of digital content on his itch page (including free games and zines, and even free community downloads of some paid projects if you look hard enough) while all the impeccably made physical products live on the WorldChamp.io website.
turns out there are tons of creators using the same ttrpg skeleton structure to create new worlds that are far removed from dungeons and dragons, just take a look at the website for MÖRK BORG, whose design is simply divine on the UX front.
at this point you might be asking- emily, are you becoming a fucking nerd? and to that i say, check out the beard im sporting on my neck. not only am i dabbling in fantasy games, ive become a mod on a few reddit threads and discord servers, and even ordered hentai-themed keycaps for my "setup" (click keys for full board).
and now that ive picked up all the funny dice i need from my local comic book shop, all i need is friends! le woot.
been bout a month since i did one of these, but i think I have yielded a pretty robust basket of cybercandy in the interim for yall. Today's dump-cover comes from a Femme Type article on Lean Maldonado, who's website is tragically down at time of this writing. Sadder still, her feature project GlyphWorld also seems to be down. I remember when I first saw a glimpse of glyph world in that bright red inclusive graphic design book that was floating around stores that didnt normally sell books (BOLD!), i scribbled down a note to go home and find it, but it was a whole process and i remember it not working out for whatever reason - and it still isnt and i still dont have it. As a consolation, i will offer up another typeface from the same book - STONEWALL- which is free to DL, or Diversity Type, which i found while click-clacking around on FemmeType (there's a lot of fun stuff to be found there if typography is your thing), free for a nominal donation to one of their preferred charities.
Now if you think you done noticed a theme, youre right, theyre all designs stand for something beyond a strong aesthetic. The Femme Type site celebrates women in graphic design, Glyph World is a project centered on growth and the individual's history within the collective, STONEWALL is a "tribute to those that have fought for LGBTQI+ equality and freedom, and to encourage action where inequality and oppression still exist", and as eponymously suggested Diversity Type celebrates and champions diversity. The site also has a fantastic resource list for folks in advertising & design and a really neat slide-deck of artists who contributed to the project.
But wait there's more!
as soon as I saw Diversity Type I was instantly reminded of this gorgeous LOQI bag which was also sold through proof of donation to Voices of Children. While sadly no longer available the charity of course is still open, and LOQI puts out tons of high-quality bags. Ive had my collapsible shopping bag featuring this weird still life crawling with insects for a good 6 or 7 years and has become one of my absolutely necessary every day carry items. That i have never lost the zip pouch its housed in isn't so much a testament to my carefulness, but my willingness to go back to any place i may have left it.
Last on my list of things worth a damn, is the latest issue of DAZED (Summer 2022, Issue 5). While its always been a top-notch fashion and culture rag, I am absolutely gobsmacked at all the dope editorials featured in this season's issue. I cant feature them all, but I have a feeling I might end up scanning half the magazine in, if I can't hunt down the photos online. I promise you wont regret it, and you can find it for $6.66 USD here, if there isnt a local Barnes and Noble in your area to rack it from. (Note: Per usual, they have gone with a multi-cover release so don't be disheartened if you don't come across the one that is pictured below)
This was the first magazine that Ive ever seen that does inclusivity right, featuring so many rad and relatively unknown POC without making a huge fuss over it, or a "theme". If you go through a lot of magazine stands youll know what i mean, if they do center POC they treat it like its a triumph and we should be so fucking grateful that they have done us this favor while they break their arms patting themselves on the back**, or its a one-off and regular programming will resume shortly. This is just a bunch of dope shit that happens to have an onslaught of sick and slick POC creators behind it. love it.
and while DAZED's blog isnt the best, i did find this project, which i gotta admit sounds a little bit brain-breaking.
Jubilee, (1983) - funky animation from russian animator Vladmir Tarasov, described as "Animators from the distant future fly to another planet to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Soviet animation"
Late Night Sci-Fi, (2020) - while I am usually not one for music comprised solely of samples, I am a sucker for albums released on dead or obscure media (like sega genesis cartridges and floppy discs), and this album from AFDS strikes the balance betwix both. The samples come from old ad spots glorifying what was once new media like betamax, the internet, and lazerdisc, and theres even a song called rotten.com [the old stomping grounds of my youth]. AFDS had originally released this one on digital compact cassette, with other releases on VHS and cassette, all of which have sold out. However you can have a listen to other music theyve made, set to vaporwave style VHS collages, on their youtube channel, where most videos are under a hundred views.
Sleepcore - a video series from one of my favorite channels on youtube and only creator i support on Patreon, picsnportraits. Sleepcore is slow media meant to fall asleep to, and is mostly sourced from the public domain. It's how i discovered the Jubilee video, waking up in the middle of the night to a technicolor display of typography in space. The channel has other series covering retrofutrism in media, foreign animators, propoganda and more. Can't recommend enough.
Another round of gems that mostly owes to the good folks at the Internet Archive. It has shot to the top of my most frequented websites this year and I can't endorse wasting your time there enough. They've done so much to catalogue media (digital and otherwise) and make it easily accessible for everyone, so please consider donating a few bucks.
A lot of the time, I'll be juggling a hundred and one half-baked project ideas, some more fully fleshed than others. In the case of this week's link dump, I was researching imagery to use in a zine I've always wanted to make about McDonald's related murders*, when i found myself rabbitholing into another Mickey D phenomena- it's history of run ins with international anarchist groups. Writing this now, I see why that should come as no surprise, with the whole "alienation of labor"/McDonaldization liberal studies stuff. Regardless, its still pretty fun stuff and these gems ooze an old print aesthetic im happy to see archived and share with y'all.
The above image depicts a rural French McDonalds seized by workers and turned into a food bank during covid, the Washington post article it's sourced from is some experimental editorial in full-screen slide format, and has some cool pics, but if you just want to get the full scoop, I would suggest reading about it here.
this is a super fun gem archived by the Brisbane Solidarity Network. Meant to be a tool of resistance, it is "alternative" handbook for reluctant to radical McDonalds workers that want to stick it to the clown. (Give it a scroll-through or go to the archive page for full page view).
a page I pulled from another anarcho zine project, faithfully reproduced and freely visible on archive.org. Ive really come to recognize the full glory of that site this year. theres tons more on there if you havent fucked around with it, i would highly recommend investing any time u need to waste.
*(that is, murders which took place in, or were somehow related to the golden arches- you'd be surprised at the number of victims that turned up with remnants of a happy meal or big mac in their stomach contents, leading the ME to conclude they were lured in by the promise of hot and crispy french fries. I had actually forgotten about the project and all these links i had saved until i stumbled across this while researching Chinese folk religion)
I fell into a few archival rabbitholes this week. Here's some of the best gems.
Above: The Drolatic Dreams of Pantagruel, Author Unknown (1565), 120 engravings of medieval monsters dressed like clergymen with cool hats. You can use the embed above to flip through the book or click to get taken to high-res archival scans. The site that hosts this scan, Gallica, seems to be a compendium of cool old French shits.
The Unknown Masterpiece by Honore de Balzac Speaking of old french shits! One of the first stories I read that made me think "literature" might actually be worth reading, written in 1845, set in 1612, and still satisfies my 20th century too-much-trash-tv brain. Its like a Twilight Zone episode for the aristocracy. Other hundred year old tomes that would lead to me giving "classic literature" a chance were Knut Hamsun's Hunger, Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground, but in a more borderline psychedelic stream of consciousness type o' way, that I had already grown to love in writing post my discovery of Henry Miller.
this site is sick as shit for someone like me that loves robots, diagrams, and retrofuturism. It is so thorough. Unfortunately the man who maintained the site, Reuben Hogget, passed away in 2016, whom you can read about in Farewell to One of Robotics' Greatest Citizen Journalists- evidently it was a huge loss to the robot history community, which goes to show how dedicated and dilligent he was, and the impact he left. The article is really sweet, and includes an interview that ends with "His is an excellent example of pursuing a passion to meaningful ends." and who doesn't love someone like that?
it's pronounced Honorary Ballsack
From what I can tell PullStay is a game about a hikikomori (those fools in japan that dont leave their apartment ever, very not.. like.. me. i go outside shut up) that is antagonized into leaving his home and astrally projects his alterego to go on ahead of himself defeating anyone who might bother him, and smashing the hell out of the local convenience store. A solid six years in the making, the game is a labor of love, hope and obsession, from Nito Souji, who himself identifies as hikikomori. The game isn't out yet, but there is a demo on Steam.
Finally, no discussion on video games, tits and asian indie developers can be complete without this exceptionally long compilation of Hentai Pixel Games posted to r/PixelArtNSFW. Only about 80% of the links still seem to be working, but the time it took to source this knowledge really puts the "rough" in "thorough". For a glimpse into more fully fleshed Hentai games (pun intended), check out this list of top Hentai sex games from Future of Sex. And when you're done with that, if you're still looking for quirky indie projects to chill your bones, check out some of these gems ive found on itch.io, or these ranked sex simulators to rock your bussy.
Web3 is going great! A virtual timeline that hilariously records and tabulates the scams perpetuated thus far in the name of crypto, defi and unfortunate acts of hodling.
Nvidea's AI ART Playground on the other hand, is a truer representation of what gets me hyped for the the world wide web of tomorrow, insanely powerful tools that anyone can use for free, without coding knowledge. Plus, one of their GANs is named Gau! As in Gau-GAN! History Joke! XD AF, bro. also if you didn't see it (because who did?), my first "post" on this site is to a virtual shmorgasboard of ai shits for u to play with