Lunch Nap News
Maya Man, Melanie Hoff, Low Tech Magazine and Wayside flowers
Did you know I always send this newsletter on Sunday at 7 AM local time? It's an arbitrary choice. I sometimes wonder if I decided on Sunday because I am the son of a pastor — or if Sunday is just the best day to celebrate the quiet, odd, and poetic web. After all, it is a day when most rest and use the internet for other things than the efficiency, growth, and production associated with work.
However, like last Sunday, I didn't manage to send the newsletter at 7 AM this week. I intended to write yesterday evening but lacked words and motivation. So I'm writing these words while Uno is enjoying a lunch nap. I apologize to anyone who has set their alarm to read Naive Weekly.
Occasionally is a page for you.
Room 1 is a virtual postcard.
Chao Bing is a poetic personal memory game.
A note, question, reminder of subverting the binary distinction between programmer and user. As the title suggests, anyone using a computer is always already programming.
The distinction between programmer and user is reinforced and maintained by a tech industry that benefits from a population rendered computationally passive. If we accept and adopt the role of less agency, we then make it harder for ourselves to come into more agency. — Melanie Hoff
I hesitate to support nostalgia for a pre-social media internet. In 1999, there were 150 million internet users, and half were from the United States. While online representation is still lacking behind today, I keep in touch with my grandmother on Instagram and admire the work of Filipino internet people on Discord. Social media is not perfect, but to paraphrase this article about native and invasive plants, “the rise of the harming social media discourse is at the very least ironic.”
In my research as both a plant biologist and a scholar of gender and sexuality studies, I have found a striking convergence in our vocabularies across plant, animal, and human worlds. Our botanical authorities habitually describe invasive plants as hyper-fertile and prone to aggressive, uncontrollable expansion, echoing the stereotype of the hyper-fertile third world immigrant. — Banu Subramaniam
A low-tech cinema (read: comic strip) about the solar-powered online magazine that reimagines our relationship with nature and understanding of technology. The comic strip is both an introduction to Low-Tech Magazine and a map of its archive.
When there is enough sun I can switch on my little train. Cargo transportation could function by the same principle. Like in the time of the windmills: grain was only milled when the wind blew. — Guillaume Lion and Kris De Decker
Meet Maya Man
Maya is always performing on the internet. She would argue that you are too, whether you admit it or not. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is liberating.
Instagram posted about Maya on Instagram.
The post features a series of computer selfies photographed by Glance Back, Maya’s Chrome extension. Once a day, at random, it takes a photo of you interacting with the computer. (I’ve used it since before Uno was born)
Maya’s work circles around how we present ourselves on the Internet using images and text. In an interview, she explains her motivation: “No one just posts for themselves. You’re always posting for an audience. And I think it’s important to be open about the fact that that’s not bad. That’s just what we’re doing, all the time, in any social situation. It doesn’t mean you’re being fake, in a negative way. It means that you’re constructing the persona that the context calls for.”
Especially female identities are ongoing subjects in Maya’s work. They are often ridiculed online. Some would even dare to say that the “feminine activities/aesthetics are used as a punching bag for men to take out their hate and annoyance out on.”
In Trust Exercise, Maya uses Vogue’s Beauty Secrets videos on YouTube to explore the practice of online beauty videos. As she reads through the comments, she discovers they are abundant with kindness.
The comment section on beauty videos is a mainstream space that is easy to ignore for anything except our cynicism. But what Maya shows is to withhold the judgment of ourselves and others and to liberate yourselves from the purity of realness by faking it till you make it.
It would be a mistake to discard Maya’s work because it is pink instead of blue, selfies instead of World Press Photos, mass media instead of academic journals and playful instead of urgent. Her work is a performance. It leverages her training in computer science and contemporary dance and has a meditative quality that comes to play in her browser-based work like Read it and Weep. It is an artwork that never ends but keeps being assembled and reconstructed from diary entries and internet trash, just like our online identities.
Maya’s work is often generative: she designs a system by defining and tweaking different parameters, but the algorithm spawns the individual artworks. In many areas of contemporary society, the design of systems, blueprints, strategies and master plans are reserved for masculine identities. So I find it poetic how Maya designs the master plan and lets the computer produce five hundred ugly bitches.
It is the second time I have the honor to invite Maya on the stage. Last year she did a stellar performance at The Conference. So you are in for a treat on August 11.
In August, when the sunflowers bloom, we gather people who expand what the web is and can be at Naive Yearly. It takes place in Copenhagen at the National Film School of Denmark.