“Hyperobjects…refer to things that are massively distributed in time and space relative to humans. A hyperobject could be a black hole. A hyperobject could be the Lago Agrio oil field in Ecuador, or the Florida Everglades. A hyperobject could be the biosphere, or the Solar System. A hyperobject could be the sum total of all the nuclear materials on Earth…
“According to hyperobjects themselves, who seem to act a little bit like the gigantic boot at the end of the Monty Python credits, outer space is a figment of our imagination: we are always inside an object.” – Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World by Timothy Morton
The word ‘blog’ makes me cringe. That wide-open baby bird’s mouth of an O, with consonants big enough to choke on. It’s unbridled pre-recession internet twee, from the era that brought you other unpleasant collections of plosives like ‘dongle’. It also seems like a tired ecosystem, relegated to groan-inducing retrospectives about teenagers roleplaying vampires and suburban mothers running casual pyramid schemes for Tupperware. Remember when Facebook tried to make their blogging framework, called Notes, an integral part of the site’s infrastructure but then subsequently buried them when they realized blogging was out? In an age where everyone and no one is an influencer, and everyone and no one has something important to say as long as it fits into a screenshot of a tweet, the blog is an internet dinosaur.
Blogging also makes me cringe because at one point in time I utterly failed to realize how it could trap me in a network of bullshit that I would be unable to remove myself from.
Per Timothy Morton, we are always inside an object.
I gave blogging a go when I was in my early 20s, and was hanging out in subcultural spaces that employed rigidly codified visual tropes as social currency. Interactions were encoded in your clothing, your haircut. As much as I enjoyed the idea of belonging to a community, my failure to adhere to certain visual expectations, particularly regarding gender roles, could earn me subtle social punishments from the in-group. So I decided to write about it. Filtering groupthink in cultural spaces through psychology and symbology frameworks seemed like a useful thing to do. Moreover, I was young and trying to cultivate my aesthetics for the first time. I thought I would throw up a few outfit posts, talk about presentation and sense of self, and learn how I wanted to be seen by the world.
Shockingly, putting your face on the internet while simultaneously intellectualizing a profoundly anti-intellectual subculture is an easy way to make people very angry with you.
Predictably, the hate poured in. It came from around the world and also from people I most likely knew. They crept through my social media accounts, digging up morsels that inexorably proved how much of an attention whore, a poser, and a crazy bitch I was. I closed down the blog, and put IP trackers on everything else. For years after that, one of those IP addresses would refresh my Tumblr a couple of times a day, waiting for me to do something damning. Even now, when I’m engaging in some pointless online debate, as one does, someone from that era will often step in and say: “We remember you. You’re a vain hypocrite and nothing you say can be trusted.”
In the years since, I’ve made a point of not having very much to say. The internet is an organism that has little short-term memory but endless cold storage (something I’ll be writing about later on), and to navigate it I made myself into a safe commodity, a crowd-pleaser. I’ve barely written anything and I’ve gotten bored. And now it’s 2019, the world is going to hell, and anyone who uses the internet is inexorably webbed into hundreds of interlocking networks of influence and confluence, all of them complicit in the end of the world. So, I thought, I might as well have something to say about it. My goal is to keep this space as a running catalog of Anthropocene design movements, social engineering and communication trends. I may also review an occasional album or book, if it’s on-theme.
It’s not that deep! I can hear you thinking. But that’s the thing. Nothing is deep on its own, but it’s all a part of some other immensity.
The internet barely qualifies as a hyperobject, given its relatively recent invention and a need for upkeep that relies entirely on human infrastructure. However, I like to think that it qualifies on a tiny, controlled scale, sort of like a hyperobject you can keep in a petri dish. In here, I’m just one blip in a huge expanse. Maybe I’ll enrich my little patch. Maybe I’ll get stuck in some other firestorm, but at least there’s some security in knowing that it will never be as big as the one we’re already engulfed in.