An idea that William Gibson has often repeated is: “The future has already arrived. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.” When I moved to New York, an old family friend took me on architectural tour through Wall Street. We shared cigars, and he told me the “greatest thing about this city is that you can live in any decade you like, going back centuries now.” I responded that most of my peers live half their time on the Internet, which is like living in the future. Michael Stipe has me back reading Gibson and thinking about how my thinking is changing into the future. I saw two futures online today, or maybe they are better called presents at the frontier. “I don’t have to write about the future,” Gibson said. “For most people, the present is enough like the future to be pretty scary.”
Pitchfork, “inspired by” Intel and produced by Kill Screen, is putting out music video games based on epic indie hits, like the Chromatic’s “Lady” and Cut Copy’s “Sun God,” and “Intro” from M83’s Hurry Up We’re Dreaming. The games don’t have a traditional telos. They are more exploratory, even philosophical, or something like art. Play Soundplay today.
The New Museum selected Taryn Simon and Aaron Swartz’s Image Atlas (2012) as the first of their “New Art Online” internet-exclusive exhibitions. Image Atlas is a search engine that indexes the top image results for a given term (search whatever you like) across local search engines throughout the world. Users can choose to view the country’s results alphabetically or by GDP. A search for “wall street” shows that the United States and Russia imagine this literally—the top search results are images of the Wall St. sign and of the street—whereas Saudi Arabia and Syria view “wall street” for its recent protest culture. “Gay marriage” in Germany signifies bridal cakes and Pride marches and Bert and Ernie. For Afghans, we see Obama and male couples. In China, no images are found on the search topic “gay marriage.” The research and art applications are, like the search capabilities, seemingly endless.