<- Internet Studio

by Vlad Ionescu & Rastafan

199X_MILLEN.HTML is a collaborative project between Vlad Ionescu and Rastafan that explores the treatment and utilization of digital material/digital space in mass culture during 199X and its adjacent decades. This project is not quite research and not quite based in personal experience and remains fragmented in terms of both aspects. Media intake is at such a high rate today that pinpointing influences and resources becomes extremely hazy, because one source always points to another. Sharing, stealing, borrowing and giving is a very fluid aspect of the internet, as The Gift by Lewis Hyde pointed out.

Technology, ever expanding its sphere of influence since the industrial revolution, reached a critical development point with the invention of the computer. Prior to this, technology was used as a catalyst to amplify humanity’s ability to process and transform organic material. With the advent of the computer, however, technology began to create its own space -- digital space -- which had no precedent and was completely removed from organic manipulation. One article that brought attention to this was the Brenna Murphy Rhizome interview, in which she talks about her tendency to walk between the digital and organic realms by moving sculptures and other media back and forth between several related and unrelated programs. The initial attitude regarding this space was to attempt to find a way to assimilate it back into the organic realm and further augment organic material. It wasn’t until 199X that a new attitude was formed – one that radically shifted from the previous paradigm – and in this decade digital space was elevated to the point at which it had an equal standing with organic space. As the prejudice regarding this digital space began to attenuate, so too did the optimism regarding its potential rise. Digital space was seen as the new, messianic force that could propel humanity into the next state of evolution, and within this decade we can see prolific use and celebration of digital material that is entirely unique. This project uses 199X as an anchor point; or, rather, the apex of a bell curve. The attitudes in 198X worked as a foundational structure upon which the optimism of 199X could construct its ideology; and 200X represents an abandonment of the principles set forth in 199X and the adoption of a set of regressive strategies that served to diminish, deconstruct, and decenter digital space as the focus of cultural discourse. In this project we seek to examine the historical apex of digital space’s autonomy in the hopes that we can better understand its effect and application in contemporary times.

The project is divided into a series of episodic documentaries uploaded on YouTube. The physicality of the video player is one of the things that were taken into consideration after observing Constant Dullart's experimentation remarks in his interview covering one of his works titled YOUTUBE AS A SUBJECT. In this piece, his annoyance with the design led him to experiment with the most seen interface in the world. With that in mind, images of the YouTube front page layout, each iteration 5 years apart from the other, was used as a motif for the overall design. rONEJtHWOfs.MP4 introduces the idea of 199X as the apex of overt celebration re: digital space by examining and analyzing sections of Timothy Leary’s How to Operate Your Brain. The prior decades of 197X and 198X are also analyzed and proposed as critical developments in cultural attitude that prompt 199X’s response to digital space. U5A1GfmoYaL6zEk61eVGA.MP4 analyzes a specific kind of digital medium, the console cartridge, and makes the claim that various compression strategies devised in response to hardware limitations led to a set of unprecedented sonic and formal aesthetic experiences. MC-303 HTOYDM^4 examines an advertisement for Roland’s MC-303 drum machine hardware and attempts to analyze the impact of digital material in the world of music.

q7ohMTIhNEJNlV0dkMcZIEAjYDRU8VoIPyExMCEU.MP4 studies two contemporary music artists Carpenter Brut and Perturbator, both of whom create music that is entirely informed by 198X and 199X sonic strategies, and uses these artists as a touchstone to explore and understand the nostalgic fetish in mass culture entertainment in relation to lingering effects and ideology from 199X. PRICE OF AN EDUCATION.mp3 is a retrospective study meant to examine the excessive optimism started in the 90s re: the pursuit of higher education via state institutions and juxtaposes it with contemporary data collected on loan debt deficits and the waning job market. xn13Wtol2XU looks to a new kind of criminal action that was made prominent in late 199X, the school shooting, and seeks to explore the way in which digital material is used to perpetuate and encourage recursive shootings. 5KIdF5A86XL0uXNIQFalkyBBzjPySExMyFM.MP4 looks to the movie Pi, made late 199X, as well as 199X’s use of sampling of the Amen Break as a way in which to examine simultaneously 199X’s optimism re: the future of culture with the power of technology as well as 200X’s rejection of this optimism and recursive refinement of pre-existing idioms and tropes. Finally, TwRt1rMImb61npCwqOup.MP4 is an examination of the nostalgic fetish dominating the creative impulse of the 201X entertainment industry by using the video game Hotline Miami as the exemplar pastiche. Within this episode we see 201X’s inability to fully break from 200X’s conservative ideology of refinement while simultaneously re-adopting some of the optimism re: digital material that was started in 199X.