Restricted Frequency #134
New dot com, Selective Myopia originals, Hong Kong's new protest models, and the uses of Instagram
|Ganzeer||Aug 31, 2019|| 2|
New ganzeer.com is now live.
I ended up going with Cargo. The reason I was initially reluctant about using them was that—based on the examples showcased in their “Sites-in-Use” section—it seemed to be only really good for limited portfolio type things. But upon messing around with it a bit, I discovered that my assumptions were completely false, and you can in fact have an unlimited number of pages and easily categorize them using the handy metadata/tag system that made Tumblr so attractive to me some 8 years ago. But the backend offered by Cargo allows for more control and versatility, and it’s intuitive enough for non-coder types (it me! 👋). This has allowed me to create a browsing system that is… well, a bit more varied that what is common.
Which is just perfect because much of what I do isn’t so easily departmentalized and more often than not fits somewhere between commonly understood categories.
Personally, I’m really not a fan of the website-as-brochure model, where you just have a handful of static pages offering a feeble token of what someone does. What I am a big fan of is the website-as-archive. One of my favorite websites of all time for example is that of Experimental Jetset.
Unlike Experimental Jetset though, I couldn’t create an archive of eeeeeverything I’ve ever done, because I’ve been terrible about documenting my shit and even more terrible about safekeeping what little I had documented; a consequence of relocating (a lot), of hard drive crashes and even misplacement, and well… a general disregard for that sort of thing. Resulting in a ton of stuff either getting lost or just going undocumented. I did however unload everything of mine that I could find, with absolute disregard for what I think is “good” and what I think is “bad”, because if I start thinking in those terms, I probably wouldn’t even consider showing anyone what I did just last week. Part of the drive of making new work is looking at older work and saying: I can do better.
With that being said, I quite enjoyed rediscovering some of the older stuff I worked on and seeing how it relates to newer stuff. Like, there’s an obvious link between this little sticker I was putting up around Cairo in 2010 and say, the Solar Suits in The Solar Grid graphic novel for example. Or some of the social-activisty dimensions that were infused in some of my early commercial design work. Funny, it’s not how I remember my work in those years at all.
Pages 1-5 are already sold, but pages 6-16 are still available, offered either individually or as one single lot.
I enjoyed reading Alan Jacob’s dispatch of forms of organization and protest being used in the streets of Hong Kong (discovered via Robin Sloan’s consistently good newsletter).
Alan writes about protesters’ insistence on remaining leaderless (what Egyptians in Tahrir Square were criticized for in 2011), and about the various ways Hong Kong protesters are sharing minute-to-minute information to stay fluid in their mobilizations and tactics. It’s fascinating stuff.
(My one fear is it inevitably gets infiltrated because all “networks”, socially based or technological, are subject to infiltration. And once infiltrated—leaderless or not—it’s not so hard to influence actions and sabotage the movement.)
One last thing before I go, somewhat related to the website-building stuff in point #1. Using social media platforms as your sole “portfolio” is no good. I’m old enough to remember when DeviantArt was the big thing among visual artists, and I remember when Dripbook got trendy for a while. Heck, I even remember when MySpace exploded. No matter how inconceivable it might seem now, neither Facebook nor Twitter nor Instagram will last, I promise you. They’re having their time in the sun right now but sooner or later a more superior social-networking platform will arise and steal their thunder, resulting in a huge exodus of users and very likely complete closures. And along with that goes all your data and all your audience. It’s imperative to have a website with all your stuff on it that can stand on its own legs regardless of what new platforms pop up or disappear; a reliable place for your “audience” to visit and revisit knowing that you and your output is there no matter what (hello, Charlie Stross).
I once saw an art dealer berate a young artist for having more selfies on her Instagram feed than actual paintings. Fuck that dealer. Instagram is not an ideal portfolio platform (just based on the fact that it has no “categorizational” capacity—which I guess isn’t important if all your work is one type of thing). What Instagram is truly good at is what it was originally created for: snapping pix with your phone—selfies or otherwise— and applying some stylish filter to them. That, and the Stories feature, which I enjoy quite a lot actually. It’s like watching a running TV station with all its programming made by friends!
And I’m out! Building the new Ganzeer.com involved way too much time on my computer over the past couple weeks which finally culminated in 48 sleepless hours before the thing went live. And I really need to not be looking at a screen of any kind right now. Double vision is only fun for a short while.
Take care and happy weekending,
August 31, 2019