total recall

Brad Troemel Solo Show Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh 17/08/13 - 01/09/13
ian rothwell & james phillips

In 2010 Brad Burnham, a managing partner of Union Square Venture (a New York based venture capital firm), made a remarkable blog entry. In it he proposed that a new vocabulary is required for thinking about web service providers and web service users. He claims that these platforms – Twitter, Google, Facebook – must be considered governments, and that users are thereby citizens. For Burnham this form of governance is not a democracy, but an oligarchy. Burnham’s short entry suggests that strict parameters for content production, user communication, and sophisticated models for value production have successfully turned these seemingly every-day “tools” into “post-state apparatuses”. us they form the contemporary locus of power and subject production. Total Recall confronts this scenario shamelessly; full throttle, head-on – whutvvrr. It displays art which adheres to these user requirements: work which is contaminated, modulated, degraded and inflected by the apparatus. Obedient compliance, radical compliance, autocorrect fails and poor consumer recommendations on Amazon. Total Recall is the first UK solo show of New York based artist Brad Troemel. Total Recall hopes to create a vivid picture of this moment where artists look like users, users look like artists, and art looks like etsy.com.

interview with Brad Troemel
1. [Ian & James] In your essay ‘ e Accidental Audience’ you reference David
Joselit’s recent book Aer Art through the use of these terms: image fundamentalism (the image as always inseparable from its origin), image neoliberalism (the image as a universal product which should be free to travel wherever and for whatever reason) and image anarchism (the image as freely and aggressively distributed without any regard to authorship or ownership). Do you relate your own art practice to image anarchism or to an image neoliberalism, as is arguably visible in the exhibition Total Recall? [Brad Troemel] ose terms describe the way an audience interacts with content. So when someone goes on the Jogging homepage or my Etsy store to view my work because of its meaning in relation to those specific sites they are engaging in image fundamentalism. When someone buys the work om the Etsy store and places it in their living room they are engaging in image neoliberalism. When someone reblogs my work without its title on ereifixedit.com they are engaging in image anarchism. is exhibition, which was created by purchasing my work and moving it to another country while maintaining my name as the author is best described as image neoliberalism.

2. Again looking at ‘ e Accidental Audience’ you mention a political
subjectivity assembled through the purchase of composite products (a market determined subjectivity?). What kind of subjectivity would the purchasing of your works create? Alternatively, what kind of person would purchase your work? In that bit I was referring to how the act of ‘voting’ on certain economic, environment, and political issues has shied om something done in a ballot box to something many see being done most effectively at the check out counter. We purchase the world we want to live in. Organic beans are an extension of their buyers’ will to exist in a non genetically modified world. Guns are an extension of their buyers’ will to arm themselves against the tyranny of an individual or the state. What will is being

expressed when someone purchases my work depends on what exactly they think the work is. I try to maintain a certain amount of confusion, or adaptability in these products so that they can appear to be many things to many people. Some might see what I do as a simple reselling of used goods (a la eBay), some a genuinely insane person who has no idea what the norms of Etsy are, some an artist with an MFA degree living in Brooklyn, etc. When the project was being posted on websites like Huffington Post and Gawker a lot of people started looking at my work who had no stake in it as art. I’m not sure what will is being expressed when a suburban mom or office worker buys one of my products and gives it to a iend as a gag gi, but I’m glad that relationship with the work is possible because it suggests these products can do something other than be understood in accordance with art history.

3. Do you feel that all the big web platforms operate as a form of governance?
What are your thoughts on popular debates surrounding the collapse of privacy in relationship to contemporary technologies – i.e. surveillance, Facebook? As privacy disappears do you think people will seek it elsewhere, or just let it die? What do you like to do in your spare-time? ere’s no doubt Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. govern our social encounters. e question is whether we have the autonomy to exist outside of them. I don’t think we do. Even if my work or person never actively engaged the internet I would end up online anyway, in the form of a tagged image, or article, or installation image. At the current moment I’m content with the balance I’ve struck between using and feeling used that these platforms inevitably make their users experience.

4. In consideration of Brad Burnham’s blog entry do you feel that the current
monetisation of immaterial/digital labour - i.e. Youtube partnerships, Facebook users as marketing focus groups - is paving the way for a future of hegemonic immaterial/digital labour; where just going online and doing stuff feels like a productive job? So physical labour - i.e. factory work, farming, shop assistants - can be automated in more efficient ways? is would be like the scenario suggested in Sidney Lumet’s film Network from 1976. Wherein Arthur Jenson describes a corporate cosmology which represents a “vast and ecumenical holding company where all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock: All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilised, all boredom amused.” Yes?

For some of us going online and communicating is already our job. Is the question whether I think a movie will come true?

5. Sidney Lumet’s Network is pretty decent. e ideas contained within it are
especially surprising considering it was made almost forty years ago. What is your favourite film? My favorite film at the moment is e Act of Killing.

6. How do you feel about the term ‘post-internet’? Do you feel it
problematically normalises what could be an innovative and exciting form of artistic production on and about the internet? Naming art movements is always problematic. I think it’s necessary to separate things like glitch art om post internet because those are two types of art making that deal with completely different ideas. It’s ustrating to be umbrella cast under something that doesn’t represent you. I don’t have a problem with being contextualized with other people commonly associated with post internet art because they are the people I’m in direct conversation with artistically.

~August 2013

totally
ian rothwell & james phillips

rad

Have problem with bullies at school? Rip their face off, bomb school, kill yourself!

If it exists there is porn of it. No exceptions.
e teen image is an image which is slouched, awkward, slacking and horny. Seth Price discusses it in those terms in his essay of the same name from 2009. Within the essay he proposes that by applying this particular phrase to the dross artifacts of contemporary culture, we might find means to make positive evaluations of things like computer-generated pornography. Essentially a teen image is something which doesnotgivafuk. It is angry like birds, and horny like Drake. Obscene and barely

literate – a non-top stream of language and imagery that’s oen racist, sexist, homophobic and misogynist. e teen image says fuck with panache. e teen image cannot be seen as a new form of surreal fun times, nor can it be seen as a new mode of subversive behavior, updated for contemporary conditions of social networks and smart devices. Seth Price, instead, suggests that the teen image is too slacker-like for us to acclaim it in such a way. It is something which inhabits the present moment in an intensive, yet nonchalant manner: it exclaims fuck with aggressive ownership of the term, but does not curse at anything in particular. It isn’t really a curse. And this means that we cannot understand the teen image as negatively (or subversively) representing the present, in order to suggest some sort of therapeutic resolution. e teen image doesn’t care. For Price:

It is simultaneously ominous and absurd, empty and charged, futuristic and passé, and this uncanny indeterminacy disturbs nearly everyone… The teen image contains not only
agreement and commonality but the antagonism and contradiction buried within common experience. It’s
dumb, and it’s cunning. It skittishly glances both ways at once. It sees past and future alike. It’s like Janice’s face.1 is essay will look at the 4chan Internet apparatus and its user-generated content production - i.e. memes - as a form of teen image production. Our main concern is to highlight and speculate reasons for the immense popularity and remarkably compelling nature of the products of 4chan. It will crucially consider the teen image as an object of immense idiotic-humor and unexpected playful-eclecticism, which retains vitality within a contemporary context of mono-cultural network control. Our proposition is that the networked and post-state apparatus civilization has given birth to a special form of ludus – the anonymous and mutable content on 4chan. is content is a product of a constellation defined by the monetization of immaterial digital labour, the spectacularization of everyday personality (facebook & twitter), and the collapse of a collective and oppositional identity in relationship to the
1 Price 2009,

http://www.distributedhistory.com/Teen_Image.pdf

monstrous-abstract-black-hole-of-a-networked-society-of-control, described by Deleuze and Guattari in A ousand Plateaus (1987) in the following terms:

Today we can depict an enormous, so-called stateless, monetary mass that circulates through foreign exchange
and across borders, eluding control by the States, forming a multinational ecumenical organization, constituting a de facto
supranational power untouched by governmental decisions.2
If, like Brad Burnham, we accept that web platforms – such as Twitter, Google, and Facebook etc. – must be considered governments, and then that users are thereby their citizens, and furthermore that their form of governance is not a democracy, but an oligarchy then it follows that that the Internet and its constituent services must be considered post-state apparatuses.3 By referring to them as post-state apparatuses we are positioning them as the contemporary locus of power and subject production. Louis Althusser discussed this function of apparatuses in his essay ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses’ (1970). In the essay Althusser refers to religious, educational, family, legal, political, trade-union, communications and cultural Ideological State Apparatuses.4 It follows that an apparatus then can be made to refer to anything. On the first page of the essay Althusser references something that Marx once said in correspondence with Dr. Ludwig Kugelmann:

As Marx said, every child knows that a social formation which did not reproduce the conditions of

2 Deleuze & Guattari 1987, 435 3 Burnham 2010, http://www.usv.com/2010/06/web-services-as-governments.php 4 Althusser 1984,17

production at the same time as it produced would not last a year.5 It follows that the ‘ultimate condition of production is therefore the reproduction of the conditions of production.’6 Althusser distinguishes between two core forms of the apparatus: the state apparatus which is singular, repressive, and operates through violence; and the ideological state apparatus, which is plural and operates through ideology.7 Both apparatuses work toward the reproduction of the conditions of the current moment of capitalist production. A significant instrument of this means of reproduction is the process of turning individuals to subjects. e subject for Althusser is something which refers both to a conception of a free subjectivity (wherein the subject is the autonomous author of its actions) and a subjected subject (who’s only freedom is the acceptance of its submission); thus he writes the ‘individual is interpellated as a ( ee) subject in order that he shall submit eely to the commandments of the Subject, i.e. in order that he shall ( eely) accept his subjection, i.e. in order that he shall make the gestures and actions of his subjection “all by himself ”.’8 is process of interpellation is a mechanism which works towards the reproduction of the relations of production and of the productive forces. e current moment of capitalist production and its future continuation, is efficiently secured. e roots of Althusser’s description of the apparatuses function is perhaps derived from Martin Heidegger’s theorization of modern technology as Ge-stell, which he discusses in ‘ e Question Concerning Technology’ (1954). Heidegger felt that modern technology – machine powered – was something incomparably different from all earlier technologies. is is because it is ‘based on modern physics as an exact science.’9 Accordingly when he attempts to perform an analysis of the truth of modern technology he writes: ‘the revealing that holds sway throughout modern technology does not unfold into a bringing-forth the sense of poiesis. e revealing that rules in modern technology is a challenging [Herausforden], which puts to nature the

5 Althusser 1984, 1 6 Ibid. 7

Ideology is described by Althusser as something which functions in the private domain, and which manifests ‘a representation of the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence.’ So it operates as ‘a domination and exploitation of the “people” on a falsified representation of the world’. See Althusser 1984, 36 - 37
8 Ibid., 56 9 Heidegger 1977, 14

unreasonable demand that it supply energy that can be extracted and stored as such.’10 For this reason Heidegger claims that ‘the river is now… a water power supplier’ and that the Rhine is still a river in the landscape but ‘in no other way than as an object on call for inspection by a tour group ordered there by the vacation industry.’11 Ge-stell is thus an enframing, which concentrates man upon the ordering of the real as standing reserve. e real is commanded by profit-making for industry, and organized – like the subject in Althusser’s essay – for a specific mode of capitalist production. Heidegger also suggests a danger of this mode of capitalist production, dominated by modern technology: that man will soon come ‘to the point where he himself will have to be taken as standing-reserve.’12 One could suggest that this danger is actualized in Althusser’s essay; wherein the interpellation of the individual as subject is a process which orders the individual as standing-reserve. One could further suggest that this statement is actualized by the formation of post-state apparatuses, like Facebook and Twitter, which assert strict parameters for content production and user communication as part of a complex model of value production. Namely, enslaving users as a form of digital labour, and exploiting their voluntary participation for the purpose of reproducing and maintaining a particular mode of capitalist production.

10 Ibid. 11 Ibid., 14 12 Ibid., 27

4chan*section
The Failbook (alternatively known as: Bookface, FakeBook, FagBook, Faecesbook, Faceplant, Assbook, DeFaceBook, FapBook, MyFace, FaceFuck, FacePalm, FaceBukkake, WasteBook, RapeBook, FaceBleed, Fascistbook, PussJotter, and 'Myspace 2: Electric Boogaloo') is a Web 2.0 site and NSA safe haven originally
designed to connect school classmates and allow college graduates to find drug dealers…When Facebook goes down, users roam the streets in tears, shoving photos of themselves in people's faces and screaming "DO YOU LIKE THIS? DO YOU?"13
So Facebook, and other web services such as Twitter and Google, can be implicated within a mode of capitalist reproduction – as post-state apparatuses - of which the Internet is a composite machine. For this reason many new media commentators have increasingly been shiing their attention to alternative social platforms in order to innervate the notion that innovative and radical experiences can be found on the Internet. is is a response to the pessimistic nightmare of voluntary dividuality and desubjectivation (a digitally conditioned individuality and subjectivity, theorized by Gilles Deleuze in the former and Giorgio Agamben in the latter14 ). Tiziana Terranova clarifies this tight knit model of enslavement in an essay titled ‘New Economy, Financialization, and Social Production in the Web 2.0’:

13 Encyclopedia Dramatica 2013, https://encyclopediadramatica.se/Facebook 14

See Deleuze, Gilles 1995. ‘Postscript on Control Societies’, Negotiations (New York, Columbia University Press): 177 – 182 & Agamben, Giorgio 2009. What is an Apparatus? And Other Essays (Stanford, Stanford University Press)

The frontier of innovation of the capitalist valorization process in the New Economy is the marginalization of waged labor and the valorization of free (user) labor, which is to say an unpaid and undirected labor, but which is nonetheless control led…In exchange for their
participation, the user-collaborators receive some type of more or less immaterial return (being part of a community or social network; or, much more materially, having access to credit and various free products).15 4chan is the ‘asshole of the Internet’.16 It is also the web platform which elicits arguably the most positive critical claims from new media theorists. New York based artist and writer Brad Troemel, has even suggested that 4chan epitomizes and exceeds the model of Nicolas Bourriaud’s Relational Aesthetics (1998) - described by Bourriaud as ‘a set of artistic practices that take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context’17 – in an essay titled ‘What Relational Aesthetics can learn from 4chan’.18 4chan.org was started in October 2003 by Christopher Poole (AKA m00t, m00tle, mootykins, m♥♥t, Doug, mοοt  !Εр8рui8Vw2 ## Αdmіn19 ), to act as a forum for discussing Japanese anime, and image board to share fan-art amongst a small community of friends. e name was borrowed from the Japanese image board Futaba Channel, whose web address was 2chan.net. is was an image board which served communities of Otaku: a Japanese term which David Auerbach describes in his essay ‘Anonymity as Culture’ (2012), as referring to ‘people whose obsessive, fanlike

15 Terranova 2010, 156 16 Douglas 2008, http://gawker.com/346385/what-the-hell-are-4chan-ed-something-awful-and-b 17 Bourriaud 1998, 113 18

Troemel 2010, http://www.artfagcity.com/2010/09/09/img-mgmt-what-relational-aesthetics-canlearn-from-4chan/#_n1
19 Encyopedia Dramatica 2013, https://encyclopediadramatica.se/Moot

interests…are such that they become a distraction from “real life”.’20 Poole acquired a copy of the Futaba Channel’s source-code, and rewrote the site in English; the only thing Poole changed was the translation of the kanji signifying Futaba’s default username – Nameless. He changed it to Anonymous.21 4chan was thus introduced as an English language image-based, message board with the very straightforward design and working model used by the Futaba Channel. Users were encouraged to upload images, and look at and comment on other user’s images on one of the two themed boards - /a/ for anime, and /b/ for anything else (as the site has subsequently diversified, /b/ is now known as the random board). It offered fully anonymous posting, and no log-in or membership was required. e site has expanded massively since its inception: Poole began by sharing the site with a small group of twenty friends, and without any ‘effort or marketing’ the image board expanded to a much larger community of users.22 At the time of writing boasts 575,000,000 page impressions per month23 , 25,000,000 unique site visitors per month, 1,000,000 unique posts per day and forty-nine themed message boards serving a wide-range of interests - Flash, Transportation, Sports, Alternative, Sports, Science & Math, International, Photography, Food & Cooking, Artwork/Critique, Wallpapers/ General, Sexy Beautiful Women, Hardcore, Handsome Men, Hentai, Health & Fitness, Paranormal, Literature etc.24 e random board /b/ however accounts for nearly half of the 1,000,000 daily posts; it is the ‘notorious epicentre of 4chan, responsible for thirty per cent of the sites total

20

Auerbach discusses the mindset of the Otaku in more detail in his essay, emphasizing its desire to take pride in obsessive geeky preoccupations, which might normally be viewed as negative or antisocial. He writes that ‘with otaku stigma and pride are inseparable. To be an otaku is to willfully identify as rejected and alienated. Otaku-like communities began when personal computers and modems first appeared on the consumer marketplace in the 1980s, but did not grow significantly until Internet access became widespread in the '90s.’ See Auerbach 2012, http ://canopycanopycanopy.com/15/ anonymity_as_culture__case_studies
21 Dibbell 2010, http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/420323/radical-opacity/page/2/ 22 See http://www.crunchbase.com/person/christopher-poole 23

A page impression is a record of a particular web page loaded through a particular browser. Each time you load that page counts as one page impression. e website Basic Blog Tips suggests the use of page impressions in order to quantitatively assess a website’s popularity: ‘You can use page impressions to indicate how popular your site is by showing the rate of page impressions per visitor. In other words if let’s say there are 10 page impressions per visitor, this means that your visitors are interested in your website and they keep going from one page to the next because they like your content.’ See http:// basicblogtips.com/hits-page-impressions-visits.html
24 See http://www.4chan.org/advertise

traffic.’25 Gabriella Coleman describes it as ‘obscene and frequently barely literate – a nonstop stream of language and imagery that’s oen racist, sexist and homophobic’26, and also by 4chan founder Poole as ‘responsible for pretty much…anything that comes out of 4chan that makes it into the public…that people become familiar with.’27 It is the reason 4chan is frequently made out to be something like ‘the legendary butthole of the internet.’28 An example of a typical image and comment thread from /b/ is transcribed here: Anonymous:

sup Faggots this is my puppy sleeping it makes cute noises and shit and watches me play xbox jealous?

Anonymous:

im jealous im not there fucking that dog so hard that ur mothers eyes pop out29
One might assume that 4chan is populated by a mostly teenage, white and male userbase. However considering the fact that conversations are not archived and that users are allowed to post anonymously, it is difficult to make demographic assumptions. Despite this, Auerbach explains how ‘4chan reports that 35 percent of its members are
25 Knuttila 2011, http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3665/3055 26 Coleman 2011, http://mediacommons.futureohebook.org/tne/pieces/anonymous-lulz-collective-

action
27 Poole 2009, http://digiom.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/moot-on-4chan-and-why-it-works-as-a-

meme-factory/
28 Chen 2012, http://gawker.com/5925535/4chans-moment-is-over-even-though-its-more-popular-

than-ever
29

is is transcribed from an image on Encyclopedia Dramatica’s entry for /b/. e image is tagged ‘typicalb.jpeg’. See https://encyclopediadramatica.se/B

female; half the visitors are from the United States, with the rest being chiefly drawn from other English-speaking countries, European countries, and Japan.’30 He goes on to explain that whilst the ‘most dominant sites all use English…Chilean and Brazilian users have also created 4chan-like image boards in Spanish and Portuguese.’31 On the subject of racial data, Auerbach indicates the frequency of contributors identifying as Asian, black, and Hispanic; it follows that 4chan’s culture ‘has the flexibility to absorb people of vastly disparate backgrounds without those backgrounds causing conflict— or even being apparent.’32 e /b/ message board is also the focus for the most prominent critical research into innovative forms of online collective experience and action. is is perhaps because, as a random board, it has no fixed theme or structured content, and thus allows a more perspicuous glimpse of how the 4chan platform differs from other – previously discussed – platforms which streamline users into new-media capital.33 Indeed in a paper titled ‘User Unknown: 4chan, Anonymity and Contingency’, Lee Knuttila suggests that the experience of 4chan – and /b/ in particular – is both ontically, and ontologically different from Facebook. For Knuttila, different mediated online experiences lead to distinctive ontological encounters, and it follows that 4chan’s mode of online experience positions the user as a being with an ontological attitude. is would differ from platforms such as Facebook, whose system regulates and monetises user experience. Knutilla’s ‘ontological attitude’ is produced through engagement with 4chan’s particular mode of ‘virtual contact’, and is described as a reflexive awareness of oneself as ‘dwelling in a complex set of social, political, technological positions.’34 He continues by directly implicating Facebook as currently representing a sort of disingenuous mode of being online, contra 4chan’s more genuine model: ‘the code of 4chan as platform dovetails with the user base to create a culture of anonymity. rough this frame, we can both clarify what makes it unique and also see alternative, increasingly more prevalent, ways of being online in sites like
30 Auerbach 2012, http://canopycanopycanopy.com/15/anonymity_as_culture__treatise 31 Ibid. 32 Ibid. 33

4chan’s rules page suggests the openness of the /b/ message board. Rule 3 states :‘Do not post the following outside of /b/: Trolls, flames, racism, off-topic replies, uncalled for catchphrases, macro image replies, indecipherable text (example: "lol u tk him 2da bar|?"), anthropomorphic ("furry"), grotesque ("guro"), post number GETs ("dubs"), or loli/shota pornography.’ It is the one section without any explicit rules about what can and cannot be posted (other than certain site-wide prohibitions against child pornography and other violations of U.S. law). See http://www.4chan.org/rules
34 Knuttila 2011, http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3665/3055

Facebook.’35 Furthermore Julian Dibbell writes of the separation between 4chan and Facebook, highlighting particularly 4chan’s culture of anonymity. He comments that ‘anonymity, once thought to be a defining attribute of online interaction, is nowadays widely approached as a bug to be fixed’, and that ‘the clearest demonstration of the Internet’s move away from anonymity has been the rise of social-networking sites like Facebook, whose appeal to both users and marketers rests on a closing of the gap between online and offline identities.’36 e impression is that sites such as 4chan retain the Internet technology’s capacity to foster heterotopic social environments, which are allowed to function in non-hegemonic conditions. In an interview with Techcrunch, Poole states the two most significant features which have contributed to 4chan’s – and especially /b/ - success, as the two features inadvertently retained from the Japanese source, 2chan.org: anonymity and its lack of an archive. Regarding the former, Poole states that, ‘we don’t have recognised user accounts, there are no structural barriers to entry, and anyone can go in and post a comment within five seconds.’37 ere is an option to use a pseudonym on 4chan, but it is uncommon. David Auerbach comments that the technical aspect of anonymity has grown into a self-declared virtue amongst users. He writes that ‘any repetition achieved by a member, even under a pseudonym, is almost invariably negative, though a very small senior subset of the community such as moot [Christopher Poole] himself are treated as guardian angels, and the abuse heaped on them is tinted with respect.’38 Indeed Encyclopedia Dramtica (a collectively compiled online encyclopaedia established to develop a taxonomy of /b/ and anonymous-culture, and which proudly distils and protects its most misanthropic and antisocial aspects) refers to Poole as a ‘completely respectable human being who, aer turning into a swan and raping the maiden Internets, conceived 4chan.’39 Moreover ‘he is the only man in existence who can pull off being both cool and a #faggot at the same time.’40 Auerbach outlines how this principle of anonymity is protected by a collective policing amongst users; ‘irritating the community can result in a member’s being deanonymized and “doxed” by having their personal information published: A35 Ibid. 36 Dibbell 2010, http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/420323/radical-opacity/ 37 See http://www.crunchbase.com/person/christopher-poole 38 Auerbach 2012, http://canopycanopycanopy.com/15/anonymity_as_culture__treatise 39 https://encyclopediadramatica.se/Moot 40 Ibid.

culture’s [anonymous culture’s] form of ostracism.’41 Moreover it is common for users to remind one another that one should not behave like a leader, nor seek personal attention; the practice is commonly referred to as ‘name fagging’ or ‘leaderfagging.’42 An example of this sort of policing taking place is reported by Gabriella Coleman, in her essay ‘Our Weirdness is Free: e logic of Anonymous—online army, agent of chaos, and seeker of justice’ (2012). Coleman discusses the publication of an article she wrote for the Washington Post about anonymity and the Anonymous political group that grew out of /b/’s social-culture. Within this article she had mentioned information gleaned from an interview with an Anon, who had revealed details about his personal life. e anonymous community perceived this as a malicious infraction, and banned him from the server. Coleman quotes a member assessing the situation: ‘Attempting to use all the work that so many have done for your personal promotion is something I will not tolerate’, (‘*grabs the shotgun*’).43 Indeed roughly ninety per cent of all messages on 4chan are posted under the site’s default tag Anonymous. By maintaining this anonymity 4chan is made an amorphous, non-individual and nonpersonalized collection of information. Rather than encountering people on 4chan, we encounter the actions of others. us, Knuttilla suggests, there is an alterity engrained in the user’s experience of the site: ‘ e actions controlled and anonymous others continually push beyond the simple binaries of you and I, self and single other, troll and victim, joker and audience member.’44 It is quite clear then why a site that encourages, and whose users militantly police, a principle of anonymity stands out against a contemporary reality of corporate controlled surveillance apparatus, such as Facebook and Twitter. It seems to offer a heterotopian oasis; where one is safely anonymous, and invulnerable to subjection through data mining - which implicates regular users as digital labourers within a control society. Control society archives our personal data online; so that our identities, preferences, specific interests and future plans can be collected and monetised. Its contributory apparatuses – Internet and web services – push a logic of constant selfpublication and self-reification through platforms such as Facebook profile pages, Twitter subscriptions, giving the thumbs-up to your favourite news stories on Digg,

41 Auerbach 2012, http://canopycanopycanopy.com/15/anonymity_as_culture__treatise 42

Coleman 2011, http://mediacommons.futureohebook.org/tne/pieces/anonymous-lulz-collectiveaction
43 Coleman 2012, http://canopycanopycanopy.com/15/our_weirdness_is_free 44 Knuttilla 2011, http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3665/3055

and individually curated sets of bookmarks on Delicious. ese platforms appeal to both users and marketers by closing the gap between online and offline identities. e user makes themself a celebrity amongst peers, and the marketers get quantifiable sets of data regarding consumer habits and desires. Facebook for example, is built on a model of ‘radical transparency’ in online dealings.45 Indeed this social network’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, when defending the site’s commercial practice, once told an interviewer that ‘having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.’46 Consequently, Coleman has described the Anonymous user mode – a requirement if one wants to be part of the 4chan community – to be a ‘provocative antithesis to the logic of self-publication, and the desire to attain recognition or fame’; it is in opposition to celebrity.47 Furthermore, she introduces anthropologist David Graeber’s analysis of ‘possessive individualism’, whereby we view everything around us primarily as commercial property, and suggests that Anonymous enables users to practice a kind of individuality which pushes beyond this.48 e effacement of the self, by the anonymous tag, is then a form of desubjectification (a sacrificing of the subject for the collective) which is crucially not instrumentalised for new-media capital accumulation. e lack of an archive on 4chan also helps to differentiate the platform as anomalous within the Internet apparatus.49 Poole explains that ‘the way the soware works is that you can only have something like 160 threads that exist at any given time on a specific board, and for every new thread that’s posted, an old one gets bumped off.’50 is leads to a constant waterfall of information and image feeds; every time user refreshes the web page, they are confronted with a whole new thread of posts. e lack of an

45 Dibbell 2010, http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/420323/radical-opacity/ 46 Zuckerberg quoted in Ibid. 47 Coleman 2012, http://canopycanopycanopy.com/15/our_weirdness_is_free 48 Ibid. 49

Despite there being no archiving of 4chan itself, Encyclopedia Dramatica has established itself as a wiki (web application which allows users to add, modify and delete content) which acts as an aggressively politically incorrect encyclopaedia to the transient threads of 4chan and other image and comment sharing boards.
50 Poole 2012, http://www.crunchbase.com/person/christopher-poole

archive on 4chan means that the content is both anonymous, and ephemeral – once its bumped off it disappears, unless it gets reposted by someone else.51 is means that any one user’s experience of the site will likely be unique. Images and messages vanish as new ones are posted, meaning that only in cases where numerous users find the thread’s content to be especially compelling and worthy of reposting, will a thread last more than a few minutes. e site does not automatically update in real-time, and so it is incumbent upon the user to refresh, and reload the page – revealing a new iteration of the thread, particular to that moment when the refresh key was clicked. e pace and volume at which images and comments are posted means that it is very unlikely that one user will see the same page as another user; instead each impression of the thread will reveal new arrangements of random images and comments. It will auto-bricolage at your request. Knuttilla suggests that this feature produces something like ‘an encounter with anonymity, with a stranger in passing.’52 is culture of temporality thus produces a mode of sociability wherein information is produced and published with total awareness that it will either be cannibalised or made to disappear. What is at stake here, for Knuttilla, is the enabling of contingency, contra other web services which work to dissuade the contingent. e contingent here is defined by Knuttilla as the presentation of a ‘unique instance, event and state of becoming’; moreover it represents the ‘complete absence of certainty.’53 e sort of contingent experience enabled by 4chan – and particularly the /b/ board, in consideration of its non-determined random nature – is described as ‘truly radical and historically unparalleled’ by Knuttilla. He emphasises how it maintains a particular value in relationship to the contemporary moment by forcing an encounter with otherness; where we are able to transcend our condition as an individual or dividual with pre-determined parameters for experience, and instead encounter otherness as

51

ere are however various other sites which will republish certain material from 4chan boards i.e. images and specific conversation threads. Nevertheless on the 4chan system there is no option to view older posts, as there is on sites such as Facebook and Twitter (which contain timelines displaying a user’s history of activity on that platform). Because of this one navigates the site using the refresh key on the keyboard or browser toolbar, rather than trawling through pre-existent information.
52 Knuttilla 2011, http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3665/3055 53 Ibid.

something strange and new.54 He compares the 4chan situation, to a scenario within which we are able to meet a stranger, as a stranger, without automatically making assumptions and thereby fitting them into a particular schema of knowledge that we might already have.

One could meet a stranger on the street or appear with a crowd of anonymous individuals, but after the initial encounter contingency diminishes. The stranger is embodied; the person in the crowd is accountable for their actions. There is never full
knowledge of a person in these circumstances, but the unique expression of the unknown other reveals itself in some sense. Otherness exists, but it is jumbled: it is impossible for them to be other than themselves. 4chan… is encounters with groups of strangers, who can appear
and disappear without a trace, an audience neither detected nor known and a discourse of images and text beyond the individual user and out of the individual user’s control.55

On 27/07/13 an anonymous poster began a thread by detailing a bizarre set of events that he (the user identifies himself as a man within one post) had apparently experienced that night:

54

On the requirement to meet the world with pre-determined parameters for experience, one can think of Facebook’s Like key. e Like key can be thought of as something that problematically eliminates the experience of contingency, thus legitimizing Knuttilla’s valuation of it within 4chan. To like something is a means of expressing pleasure with an article, song, film, or photograph (etc.) within the Facebook apparatus. is means of expressing opinion and taste produces standardization of user response; as a complex and subjective state is reduced to a simple thumbs-up icon. Within the Facebook apparatus then, ones appreciation of – for example - a piece of political journalism, a pop-song, a friend’s holiday photos and particular brand of soda is all the same. On the face of it; coke zero, a photo of a house-party, an article on Chinese foreign policy, and Beyoncé, are all reducible to, and can be made to fit , the same value system.
55

Knuttilla 2011, http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3665/3055

>driving home early morning hours >most of my driving I do really late so I’m not too spooked by the dark countryside >windows open, blaring music through my phone through an aux cable because I’m a dick >I text while drive because fuck you, phone is at 10% >drive maybe 5 minutes and suddenly phones dies so music shuts off >look up and I see some movement in road >slam on breaks >looks like animals in the road >two HUGE and I mean HUGE fucking dogs in the road tearing something apart56

e OP (original poster) continues to describe how he scared the dogs off with his car horn, and investigated what may have been the carcass of a horse or cow, completely stripped of skin. e OP makes the assumption that the dogs killed the animal. When driving away from the scene he sees a terrified looking girl standing by the side of the road, and stops and offers to give her a li somewhere. She accepts, and the OP goes on to describe how they engaged in polite and inane small-talk whilst he drove. Upon mention of the dogs however, she goes BLANK FUCKING WHITE and yells and screams about how she can’t let them get far. She jumps out of the car and the OP notices blood stains all over her clothes. When home, and back at his computer, the OP confides that as he is writing he can hear scratching and howling outside the door
56 Transcribed from screenshot of user post at http://boards.4chan.org/b/

of his house. Fearing the worst, he looks out of the door to see a large dog staring through the window as if trying to get in. To prove this he posts two photos; both document the scene through the window on the door, clearly showing what could be the animal’s eyes, luminously reflecting the flash of the camera. He then questions whether or not he can legally shoot the dog, and upon request states the road he was driving on when he first encountered the dogs (a country road in Illinois which turns into Makanda). at is the last that is heard from the OP (unless of course he begins posting as if assuming another identity). e thread subsequently expanded massively - requiring users to begin new threads dedicated to the subject as older threads gradually expired (404) - as various anon posters attempted to investigate and prove or disprove the events described by the OP. Was the OP still alive? Have there been any reported sightings of wild, dangerous animals in the Makanda area of Illinois? Are there any missing girls reported in the area? Was this a creative act of trolling or elaborate hoax by the OP? eories were exchanged regarding the identity of the OP: for example, one compelling case was made that he was in fact the dark-fiction writer, Jim Garvey, who was testing out new material on 4chan’s /b/ board.57 To support this proposition, anons researched Garvey’s Facebook profile page, and also tried calling the school where, it was found, he worked. Furthermore there were girls who matched the description of the roadside girl in the OP’s story found in the records of the National Center for Missing and

57

A user who believed this to be the case, posted the following as evidence. ‘Jim Garvey enjoys writing dark fiction as according to his Facebook page and blog. Garvey is a /b/tard and decides to practice his writing skills. Maybe this is his first time, maybe not… Creates first thread. Pic of dog outside door is just that, a pic of his dog outside the door. Or even a random dog that coincidentally showed up, he lives in bumfuck nowhere… is Garvey trying a new writing style, could also be a troll. Either way, he led credence to the original story. Evidence: Anon called Garvey household. Most likely got no one, comes on here and claims he talked to them and they have a 16 year old daughter who is missing. Since then, other anons have tried contacting them and gotten nothing…. Jim Garvey is practicing his dark fiction and is writing about what he knows (his hometown). Y'all got trolled by a guy who was just doing a fun creative writing project.… Case fucking closed.’ Transcribed from post on http://boards.4chan.org/b/

Exploited Children – thus adding another layer of intrigue to the mysterious scenario. Other anons expressed their desire for any anons who lived in the area go and check for blood stains or other incriminating evidence on the roadside, or track down the OP’s house to check on his whereabouts. Following this request, various users drove out to the area, posting photos (with timestamps as evidential proof ) and commenting on what they found. Suspicious marks were found on the road-side according to one post, and another claims to have been en route to the OP’s house, only to see a dog, get scared and drive away.

I hear some disturbance in the bushline nearby and what we agree was some kind of growling or shit. It was a low moaning kind of
sound and it wasn't entirely unlike a howl... just... really chillingly low pitched.58
Other commenters felt that this could instead be something like the most elaborate troll ever. Regardless in this example of a proliferating thread on /b/ we are able to see how – what Knuttilla describes as - contingency within 4chan, can operate to exploit the potentials of online networked organization and communication for both individual and collective action, in strange and unpredictable ways. Here an anonymous story regarding the late-night sighting of two monstrous dogs accompanied by indistinct photo evidence, which may or may not be true, leads to a large scale, rigorous and global investigation into the bizarre chain of events. Whilst this sort of distributed and collective investigation could take place on other networking sites such as Facebook, it is unlikely that they would be so energetically acted upon. e contingency produced through the anonymity of the postings, engenders a – to twist Zuckerburg’s notion of radical transparency - radical opacity. is removes both responsibility and accountability; one can never be sure who the poster is or whether the stated information is legitimate, and one has no obligations toward a particular profile or construction of online subjectivity. Instead the discussion and investigation is under no control whatsoever, and is allowed to proliferate by an indeterminate and dialectical logic.

58

Transcribed from screenshot of user post at http://boards.4chan.org/b/

good

?
In a post on /b/ one user asked whether anyone remembered when /b/ was good? is was met with the response that /b/ was never good. So contra much critical commentary on 4chan, and its notorius /b/ board, as representing a potential form of online experience preferable to, and ontologically superior than, other social networking sites, such as Facebook, this anonymous user states that /b/ has in fact never been good, never will be, and is just plain bad. i.e. Stop talking about it as a good thing. e sort of valorization of the online platform (something which was once good), met with derision by the cynical 4chan user, is manifest within Knuttila’s essay on anonymity and contingency within 4chan: he writes that ‘this online mode of being hold[s] promise beyond the oen repugnant content generated by the site.’59 Knutilla, and other commentators such as Olga Goriunova, generally ignore 4chan’s non-stop stream of shit. – which comes together to form something like teen images. ere is a tendency to refer to the shit as an unfornate side-effect, of an otherwise innovative site of online communication and collaborative activity. e structure is divorced from the content it breeds. However we would argue that these two aspects of 4chan – structure and content – are indistinguishable. Furthermore, that the deplorable content is the most radical part of 4chan; it is a teen image simultaneously ominous and absurd, empty and charged, futuristic and passé, uncanny and indeterminate, antagonistic and contradictory – and is the only thing online that says fuck with panache.

59 Knuttilla 2011, http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3665/3055

e random board, known by its hook /b/, is the focus of our attention. Because it is badbadnotgood.com. It is where the hacking/activst sect Anonymous was born. Although they are now oen seen as moralfags within the current /b/ community arguably because they have suspended enagagement with /b/’s playful abuse of everyone and everything which follows rigid identiary social roles, to utilise the power of anonymity for moral and ethically-led projects, thus becoming themselves a rigid and conservative libetarian social group - and so do not interest us here. On the /b/ board one is likely to find on any given day an absurd cocktail of pornography, requests for advice on medical matters, discussion of topical issues and image sharing based on any given theme – i.e. a user request for photos of crabs with cigarettes, is responded to energetically by fellow users, keen to trawl the Internet for photos of smoking crustaceans and to share their findings. One of which might be a fish made out to look like its smoking a cigarette, whilst chillin inside a chicken carcass.

e nature of the random board, not tied down to any thematic locus and without any explicit rules regarding what can and cannot be posted (other than certain sitewide prohibitions against child pornography and other violations of U.S. law), and the ephemeral quality of the image and conversation threads (they are not archived and old posts are bumped off into non-existence, when a comment is published) leads to a game-like environment of anything goes, and gives rise to extremes of content as users try to make an impression before their contribution disappears. In his article

‘Anonymity as culture: Treatise’ (2012), David Auerbach explains this environment as one of constant-play:

Anyone entering into an A-culture [anonymous culture] forum is likely to witness a nonstop barrage of obscenity, abuse, hostility, and epithets related to race, gender, and sexuality (“fag” being the most common, often prefaced with any trait, e.g., “oldfag,” “straightfag”). Anyone objecting to this barrage will immediately attract a torrent of even greater abuse. These forums maintain an equilibrium of offense…This is not to say that the participants
are not racist; the point is that there’s no way to know the views of the participants, even more given the self-referential irony in constant play. A-culture is hardly a utopia of free speech, but neither is it a fulcrum of hate speech. Yet the barrage inoculates
against sincere, extreme hatred by making it harder for genuinely virulent views to stand out, homogenizing the group.60 On Auerbach’s terms the culture of /b/ has become its own form of ludus, particular to the networked apparatus’s duel properties of anonymity and ephemerality. Whilst obscene and likely to insult, /b/’s playful shit-ness is maintained with a set of rules, which using Auerbach’s text, we can summarily refer to as an equilibrium of offense. When summing up Johan Huzinga’s definition of play, Roger Caillois writes that: ‘we might call it a free activity standing quite consciously outside ordinary life as being not serious, but at the same time absorbing the player intensely and utterly. It is an activity connected with no material interest, and no profit can be gained by it. It proceeds
60 Auerbach 2012, http://canopycanopycanopy.com/15/anonymity_as_culture__treatise,

within its own proper boundaries of time and space according to fixed rules and in an orderly manner.’61 It follows that the especially provocative and ubiquitous use of the word fag (detailed in Auerbach’s essay), whilst sometimes used as a diatribe against other users, is more generally employed as a label to identify users within the /b/ community, and acts to denote membership. On /b/everyone is a faggot, regardless of sexuality. Moreover there is a need to differentiate between different forms of faggotry: e.g. a British user is a britfag, a heterosexual user is a straightfag, a new user is a newfag. /b/’s culture thus works to preserve the stigma of the term – and so contribute to its equilibrium of offense – and drains it of any specific meaning. All of the meaning is contained within the prefix – brit; straight; new – and the suffix fag is emptied, leaving only an abstract sign of abuse to be deployed when the rules of the game demands it. is relationship is reinforced by the /b/ board’s masthead which states that:

The stories and information posted here are artistic works of fiction and falsehood. Only a fool would take anything posted here as fact.62
e form of play manifest on /b/ is a form of idiocy. is distinguishes its obscenity, abuse and hatred from a base level of stupidity. Stupid is a baby just born, without any frame of reference. Idiocy is a knowing form of behavior which comes into being in relationship to a particular set of references, or against a particular apparatuses framework. Idiocy on /b/ is a form of subjective individuation which occurs in relation to 4chan’s technical set of circumstances, and is a product of the rules of its game - based on an equilibrium of offence. Idiocy is of interest, whilst stupidity is base thinking. According to Olga Goriunova, in her article ‘New Media Idiocy’ (2012), ‘idiocy is a noble crasmanship of modes of living’, and moreover, ‘reveals the trouble of the current human condition.’63

61 Caillois 1961, 177 62 http://boards.4chan.org/b/ 63 Goriunova 2013, http://con.sagepub.com/content/19/2/223

e content of the 4chan random board, /b/, can thus be seen as the result of a particular set of circumstances - anonymity of users, ephemerality of posts, lack of any determining theme – which create very broad yet fixed parameters for users to work within. It allows the existence of a space where people – to paraphrase Christopher Poole’s 2010 talk at a TED conference - can be wrong. An unfettered and seemingly lawless environment where users relentlessly push each other to inject new vitality into an image or conversation thread, or just simply push each other to better the previous post – i.e. by out-grossing or intensifying the extremity of the content. And so ‘they get rowdy – it’s like a bar without alcohol’ remarks William Ling, when describing his experiences as a moderator of 4chan, in an article published in the Wall Street Journal.64 e author of the article, Jamin Brophy-Warren, utilizes Ling’s observations to contextualize 4chan as some Wild West community of porn sharing and morally vacant users, who in posting such deplorable content create a site with limited economic potential. However, 4chan founder, Christopher Poole, is not concerned with the site’s limited potential for outside investment. He prefers to view it as a site of unfettered creativity: in other words; the idiot rules. Poole’s position regarding the site certainly differentiates it from other, lucratively monetized, platforms such as Facebook. 4chan attracts a huge population of users, yet it still runs on bare-subsistence revenue. Poole has explained a discomfort with monetizing the various boards and users of 4chan, or in his words, ‘essentially raping the site for dollars’65 (Poole however does own another image sharing website – Canvas Networks - which is highly profitable, and should he not have this alternative revenue stream one imagines he may not be so reluctant to monetize 4chan). is form of monetization would presumably take the form of pop-ups, ads with sounds, and other forms of advertising which might antagonize 4chan’s community. Poole’s position regarding the platform demonstrates the conflicting position 4chan occupies when viewed from a mainstream media perspective. Brophy-Warren analyses, in his Wall Street Journal article, 4chan in terms of site traffic and consequent economic potential. Poole and Ling, on the other hand, recognize it as a space of unfettered creativity. Its mob mentality and non-stop abuse is not seen as a lack or mark of degeneracy, but instead as an intensive occupation of the present. A socialization of the Internet apparatus which disregards the parameters set down by other social networks for the purpose of making users into laborers for new-media capital, and
64 Ling quoted in Brophy-Warren 2008, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121564928060441097.html 65 Dibbell 2010, http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/420323/radical-opacity/

instead idiotically celebrates subjectification by inhuman technical apparatuses. e actions of the users of, particularly, /b/ are flawed according to normative modes of online being conditioned by the Internet’s post-state apparatuses. /b/ produces a surplus of user-generated-content which – despite its extremities of gross shitness isn’t commanded by profit-making for new media industry, and isn’t organized for a specific mode of capitalist production. e surpluses which /b/ produces - and which disturbs and antagonizes normative modes of being online - are Lulz and its visual manifestation as memes (the images which are shared and edited on /b/’s threads).

ginormous

and autistic strap-

on
Lulz is a corruption of L O L, which stands for "Laugh Out Loud", signifying laughter at someone else's expense (from the German concept of “Schadenfreude"). This makes it inherently superior to lesser forms of humour. Just as the element of surprise transforms the p hysical act of love into
something beautiful, the anguish of a laughed-at victim transforms lol into lulz, making it longer, girthier, and more pleasure…Lulz is the only good reason to do anything, from trolling to rape.66
Pretty much the driving force behind teen images on the Internet, Lulz is the quality against which the content produced by /b/ is measured. For Microso researcher Danah Boyd, in her blog post ‘For the Lolz: 4chan is hacking the attention economy’ (Zephoria.org), it highlights the negative, apathetic side of
66 See https://encyclopediadramatica.se/Lulz

humour on the Internet. Boyd advocates the phrase lolz over lulz – for its apparent focus on ‘generalized laughter, not always hurtful laughter.’67 In our opinion, she misses the point entirely: focusing on a politics of consensus, and ignoring playful antagonism. Lolz is a good natured giggle and a massaging of wholesome self-satisfied ego. Lulz is the defining characteristic of anonymous culture, and the breaking point at which individuals turn-away in disgust from an anonymous community. /b/ is where lulz reaches its epic heights and catastrophic lows. Anti-Lulz; Epic Fail; Unfunny; OH-SHI; Furries. Lulz generates content from the fallibilities and ineptitudes of others, oen mixed in with some sort of grotesque event and obscenity, and engages the viewer/reader within an equally compelling, confusing, contradictory story. It is where the particular form of idiocy, as conditioned by the 4chan apparatus, finds its epoch. Idiocy produces what could be called a generative folly; by drawing attention to social ineptitude or an intense fail (etc.), it identifies the folly as a moment of incomprehension within the present, and thus a site of new relations to the present. us the grammar of social behavior is disrupted, broken and rearranged – giving rise to immense lulz. Which can hereby be seen as the introduction of folly into a normative, presumably understood, scenario. For some gud lulz we can look at this lulzy example from 14/01/2013:

67 Boyd 2010, http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2010/06/12/for-the-lolz-4chan-is-hacking-

the-attention-economy.html accessed 23/06/13

e story above depicts a nine year old child with a fanatical devotion to the popular Dreamworks character Shrek. Aer proclaiming Shrek is love, Shrek is life, the child is derided by the father for being a faggot. is reduces the child to tears (following a smack from the dad). en in the cold bed, the child finds that the lovable ogre has entered into his bedroom and snuggled up in the bed, only to flip him over and sexually engage him in an act of sodomy. Rather than resisting, the child gives himself over completely, to the sexually deviant mythical green swamp dweller with an Austin Powers voice. Dad comes back, and Shrek jokes it’s all ogre now, before departing. Played out in this compelling story is a complex interplay of empathy, apathy and detachment. At first the reader is drawn in by the child’s attachment to a fictional character – a process most can relate to. However, at this point there is a break with our empathetic engagement with the child, when he pathetically equates Shrek to the apotheosis of his life. And our apathy is demanded if we are to accept his willful compliance to the ogre’s sexual wants. One cannot be sure whether this is a colourful repainting from the anonymous poster of a suppressed, traumatic event from his childhood, or purely an imaginative fantasy (the distinction isn’t hugely important). e reader is fully detached from this purported experience by means of the fantastical flair with which it is written, and the intensity of obscenity at play. Lulz is produced by a surplus of obscenity. e intention on the part of the OP is to provide an audience with something as shocking and disgusting as possible, so as to produce a moment of lulz for the community to respond to. It sets a bar from which others can proceed to attempt to surpass, in terms of wretchedness, disgust and overall hilarity. is perceptual attempt to ‘set a point of maximal achievement’, Auerbach notes, is one of the principles of anonymous /b/ culture.68 We could here say that the anonymous user and the community of /b/ forms an idiotic machine; which in its particular consumption of cultural information, exceeds the real world’s normative comprehension. It is a machine which sets up new concatenations of information; turning them uncanny and
68 Auerbach 2012, http://canopycanopycanopy.com/15/anonymity_as_culture__case_studies

indeterminate. It is important here to distinguish the machine not as the sum of constituent technological parts, but rather as an assemblage of individual and technology. To paraphrase Gerald Raunig’s description of the collective man and bicycle machine in A ousand Machines (2010): What seems to be at work here [in the collective individual and /b/ machine] is an opaque form of machinic enslavement that is hard to grasp, inducing invention and cooperation without a visible hierarchy, without perceptible subjection, which is even capable of overcoding state apparatuses and feeding them into the dispositif of the machine.’69 It is from this perspective that we can understand /b/ as a particular site of relations established between the 4chan apparatus, and its anonymous users; an example of machinic enslavement which innervates the Internet apparatus to which all users are linked, rather than a machinic enslavement to an apparatus, to which we only function as integrated components. We might say that technological contraptions produce lulz, and lulz produces technological contradictions. e highly subjective and highly divisive Internet culture archive Encylopedia Dramatica has produced an unparalleled, almost unsurpassable, Comprehensive eory of Lulz, which is integral for understanding this peculiar machine. It explains as follows:

Introduction to the Field of Experimental and Theoretical Lulz

Researcher on steroids, yesterday.

You think that I Can Has Cheezburger invented lolcats. You've lurked for at least ten minutes and you're pretty sure Milhouse might be a meme. Wouldn't Encyclopedia
69 Raunig 2010, 17

Dramatica be a great place for an article on that guy from your high school that you really don't like? Uh oh! It sounds like you aren't very familiar with lulz, but fear not - salvation lies within reach. By studying The Comprehensive Theory of Lulz you, too, can finally understand what this internet thing is all about.

Origins of Research: The Lollege University Incident
Last Thursday, a member of an anonymous advocacy group engaged in independent research at Lollege University got word that the much-anticipated IHM9000-CPX Internet Hate Machine would soon be delivered to his hallowed halls of knowledge. Much whooping and hollering was had, as it was believed that the precise properties of the lulz could finally be isolated. Once it was up and running, he began a series of experiments designed to determine the exact nature and properties of Lulz. The results of these early experiments are seen below:

Early Experiments

Spongebob --> Spengbab

Mudkips --> Hitlerkips

Lol --> Lulz

These first three landmark experiments were declared a resounding success. In a short period of time, this intriguing work attracted other great minds to explore this promising new field of research. Leading scientists such as Bill Nye, Gordon Freeman, Dr. House, and many anonymous technicians left their posts and flocked to Lollege University, resulting in one of the greatest thinktanks yet known to man.

Countless experiments were run, the results of which greatly expanded the body of knowledge relating to Lulz. The greatest breakthrough came when lulz were fed into the machine, producing pure Anti-lulz, thereby allowing this element to be studied for the first time.

Further Experiments

Hentai --> Shitting Dick Nipples

Penis --> OH, DEAR GOD!

Longcat --> Tacgnol

Porn --> Goatse

Truck --> Hackers on Steroids

Lulz --> Anti-lulz

Anti-lulz --> Lulz

Unfortunately, the scientific team was unsatisfied with the limits of the Hate Machine. A short ways into the research, they discovered that the energies produced by the Hate Machine, while closely resembling Anti-Lulz, were not quite the same. This, in addition to repressed memories causing the unexplainable desire to insert large things into orifices much too small to hold them, spurred the scientific team to further push the boundaries of Lulz. They surmised that by constructing a second Hate Machine, and then entering it into the first, they could create a machine capable of producing AntiLulz, or even Lulz, to be used for further testing. As lulz creates anti-lulz, and anti-lulz creates lulz, the internet hate machine is effectively a perpetual lultion device.

Hate Machine --> OH SHI-

The result was pure, epic fail. When the second Internet Hate Machine was inserted into the first a phenomenon known as dividing by zero occurred, which resulted in the largest explosion of Anti-Lulz and Epic Fail ever recorded. Many /b/tards were lost that day. The black hole of Fail and Anti-lulz instantly swallowed most of them, while an unfortunate few suffered even worse fates.

FAIL Community College
The tragedy at Lollege did not mark the end of this line of research, however. Inspired by the heroic efforts of the (now legendary) science team, a number of technicians at FAIL Community College surmised that their own engine, "Hugbox", could generate

lulz in a similar fashion. The results, displayed below, were as inevitable as they were depressing.

300 --> BAWWW

Lulz --> Unfunny

Caturday --> I Can Has Cheezburger?

Stimpack --> Jenkem

Encyclopedia Dramatica --> Wikipedia

Fail --> Milhouse

Porn --> Furry Porn

Whilst the researchers at FAIL created multiple abominations, their results were at least somewhat useful to the broader scientific community. Their independent study resulted in the discovery of the fourth component of the internet; Retard; and the isolation of Unfunny. As can also be seen above, the experiments ended abruptly when the technicians discovered that their Hugbox could transform ordinary porn into furry porn. Since then, their Hugbox has been used for no other purpose and as a result no more worthwhile research has come from FAIL Community College.

The Chanology Experiments

CoS fails at the interbutts.

The Chanology Experiments encompass a series of experiments involving Scientology and the Internet Haet Machine, Internet Love Machine (the Hugbox), and four machines invented over the course of the experiments -- the Internet Change Machine (a.k.a. World Wide Justice Device or Why We Protest Device), Internet Liek Machine, Internet Hurr Machine, and the Lulz Haet Construct -- and dramatically advanced the field of

Theoretical Lulz. Among other discoveries, these experiments ultimately resulted in the isolation of a fifth force of the Internet: the Hivemind, colloquially termed Zalgo.

Internet Change Machine
Marblecake Labs, having managed to acquire the blueprints of both the Internet Haet Machine and the Internet Love Machine a.k.a. the Hugbox, constructed both machines in their sekrit treefort clubhouse. They inserted the Internet Haet Machine into the Internet Love Machine, surmizing that the Hugbox could convert LOLs into a force that could Change the World, a.k.a. World-Change. The experiment produced the Internet Change Machine, a.k.a. the World Wide Justice Device (WWJD) or Why We Protest Device (WWPD). Researchers have since found that World-Change is in fact a complex LOLicule composed of one part Anti-Lulz and one part Retard.

IHM -> Hugbox -> Internet Change Machine 500px

Internet Liek Machine
The Internet Liek Machine was born when Marblecake researchers inserted an Internet Haet Machine into the Internet Change Machine. Under ordinary circumstances it turns LOLs into Mudkips-Liek, a complex LOLicule composed of one part Lulz and two parts Retard.
500px

IHM -> ICM -> ILM 500px

Internet Hurr Machine
In the ensuing aftermath of the Second Thunderdome War, several Thunderdome researchers saw the need to set up backup treeforts in case their clubhouse in the Enturb basement was even threatened with closure again. One of these was Scientology Exposed a.k.a SEx. Hoping to yield results similar to the early initial Scientology experiments, but sorely lacking the technical know-how, they built a sorry replica of the Internet Liek Machine and inserted it into the Internet Haet Machine, producing the Internet Hurr Machine, which turns everything into Hurr-Durr, a toxic form of Retard that causes everything it touches to decay into Retard. In its lifespan, the Internet Hurr Machine produced nothing of value whatsoever.

Internet Liek Machine -> Internet Haet Mchine -> Internet Hurr Machine 500px

Findings
Lawl of Newfag Attraction Epic win attracts massive amounts of a super dense particle composed of Anti-Lulz and Retard called Newfag. Researchers dubbed this effect the Lawl of Newfag Attraction, also known colloquially as the Eternal September Effect. Haetfags The Newfag particles that stray into experiments involving the Internet Haet Machine are transformed into Haetfag particles, gravitating towards traditional research /i/ nstitutes.

• Protestfags

Newfag -> IHM -> Haetfag

The stray Newfags that are attracted to experiments involving the Internet Change Machine a.k.a WWJD are transformed into Protestfag particles.

• Moralfags

Newfag -> ICM -> Protestfag

Newfag particles that stray into experiments involving the Internet Love Machine a.k.a. Hugbox are transformed into Moralfag particles.
500px

• Lawl of Newfag Coherence

Newfag -> ILM -> Moralfag

One Thunderdome experiment presented itself in a fat Attention Whore called "Nameless." Researchers first identified her as the cancer that was killing Kansas Chanology, and proceeded to attempt to isolate the properties of Moralfag and Egofag. Researchers found that when sent through the Internet Liek Machine, the Moralfag part of her would transform into BAWWW mode, further fueled by the Egofag, causing several Newfags to transform into Moralfag and white knight in her defense. This phenomenon, named the Lawl of Newfag Coherence, caused Thunderdome researchers to consider the experiment a danger to the integrity of the Dome.

Nameless (surrounded by Newfags) -> ILM -> Bawwwing Camwhore (surrounded by White Knights)

/td/iot researchers finally realized the only way to disperse such a concentrated form of attention whore was to starve it. So they did, and she eventually dispersed into the nether regions of the internets. BAWWW Theory: Moralfag vs. Haetfag On the heels of The Reconnect Debacle, Thunderdome researchers made some startling observations. Just as Epic Fail can spontaneously transform into Epic Win through an as yet unexplained phenomenon, Epic Win can also transform into Epic Fail via its rapid decay into potential Anti-Lulz, in part due to the aforementioned Lawl of Newfag Attraction. In addition, when Moralfag and Haetfag particles come into contact with one another, they react and transform into a form of Anti-Lulz and Retard known as BAWWW. The reaction of Moralfag and Haetfag particles due to Operation Reconnect caused Anonymous to divide by zero, collapsing into a black hole of Anti-Lulz and an explosion of faggotry rivaling that of /b/-day, swallowing many brave /b/tards scientists into the drama void and shooting many more out into the vast reaches of the Internets and IRL, never to be seen again. This phenomenon would become the basis of the Lulz Haet Construct. Theory of the Lulz Haet Construct Independent researchers in the Thunderdome developed a controversial new variation of the Internet Haet Machine known as the Lulz Haet Construct under the deft guidance of a Marcabian (not to be confused with Marblecake Labs) double-agent. Having observed the collision of Moralfag and Haetfag particles during the fallout of the Reconnect incident, they sought to harness this strange new energy, noting that the caustic effects of the collision of Moralfag and Haetfag particles could be utilized as chemo against the cancer that was thriving all throughout the various Anonymous research /i/nstitutes. Theory of Epic Fail In the Chanology Experiments, an interesting property of the Internet Liek Machine was found: the ability of Liek to convert normal boring Fail (Anti-Lulz) into Epic Fail (by adding two parts Retard and one part Fail), which can then be converted into Win or Epic Win by an Internet Haet Machine.

• • The Zalgo Effect

Fail -> ILM -> Epic Fail 500px Epic Fail -> IHM -> Epic Win

Unrelenting drama and attrition had ultimately worn the Chanology research groups down to a state of perpetual Anti-Lulz. A fresh supply of Lulz was needed if Chanology were to continue for another six months. In a rare instance of cooperation among Enturbulation, Marblecake, and the Thunderdome, the three groups headed a public, collaborative message video project that would take Anonymous contributions. Their work resulted in Reclamation : Phase Three, a call for Chanologists to come back and return Chanology to its lulzy roots. Unbeknownst to the researchers, the use of Internet Change, Haet, and Liek Machines, as well as the recent test-firing of the Lulz Haet Construct all at once awakened a monster that would threaten to unravel the very fabric of the Intertubes. His name is Zalgo. He who -- OH SHIT ̖̩͕̫ ̗̯ ̴̙$̼͎ ̩ ̵ m ͎̗ ͉ ̖͔̩̯͉̞ ̘͈̀ͪͯ͗ͫ͌ͦ ͯ͒̎͗̃ͧ $̜̫ ̯ ̠̞̝͕ ̣͉$̖͕̞̲̪͇̎͐͒ͬ ͊ ͊ͪ ̉ͮ ̐ ̀& ̃+ŗ̷ ͒̎ͥͫ ͊̕͠oͣ̽ ͗#̝̠$ ͍ ͖ ̪͢% ̵ ̿ͤ ͣͧͦ̒͒̍ͫ͑͌͊ ͮͤͬ&ͨ͡#̷ ̳̣ ͗͋ͯ ̐ͨ ͎̣ ͎͍ͥ͑ͭ ́&͗ͮ͊̃̐ ̗̻͇̫ę ͎̪i ̡̘̻̳ ̀ ͖ ̹̗͍͕̩̫̬͔̞̟͍̒ͤ& ̵̶ ͇e̵̡ ͒͑̕+ & ̲͍̜̩̗ ͍͕̪ ̹̪̗͉ $̠͐̽ͧ͌ ͊́ͮͫ * ͬ ͪ ́ͫ ͣ ̽̀͟ l̢ͯ ̙̪ ͐̎̀́v ͤ͒ͬͭ ͮ ͥͫͭ͞#̗͔̠̩͎̹̲̬ n ̟o͎̠̗͈̪ ̎͋̀ͤ ̎̕͟k̝ ̖͈ ̗̟͉͕̫̿̒͑͋ͭ ͐ͬ̅̀ ͫ͗͌ ̟͕̬ ͔̒ ͮͫͥ $ ̼̠̜͎̻̘̞̹ ͭ͋ ̽ ́ ͯͦ̚͢͞ ̃ͧ̿ͩ̎ͥ ̾̚͟͝͡s ̩͕̪̲$ * ̬̜̠̝̫͇̲͇̠̿ͧ͒͆ͦ́*͟ ͨ ̃ͤͥ ̉͞͏# ͍̟͕ ̘̼͕̯ ͐͆̿̚ *̕ ̟̜̠̘͇ͩ ͋ͥ ́͑̉̚͟͝e̴ ͖͍̠% v͕ ̀ ͮ͐͌ͨ ͞- ̫% ͍̼ ̠͈ ͍͓ ̖̫ͨ ͆͐ͥ̃͗ͧͮ̍ & ̞ ̪̗̙̼$͒̍ ͊͡d ͉͓$̯ ̼̩ ̴ ̖͎̝̪͇̠̯ ͕ ̪̝͖̗͎͒̽& ͭ p ͣ̀́*r ̘̫ ̣$͔̳͗̾͐̍ͬͮ ͦ̍́ͭ ͑ͮ͝ḛ ̚͞ ȩ̟̞͔ ̗̲͉͔̞̖͔̫͍ ̿ ͊ͫ͑ ̉ ̚͡

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The Comprehensive Theory of Lulz, Explained

Will Smith desperately searches the gamut of Lollege's scientific resources. For bacon.

Johnson, come quickly! I've isolated Shota!

One of Lolledge's brave /b/tard lab techs. Nevar forget.

The last thing Gordon Freeman ever saw.

Since the Lollege University and FAIL Community College events, the field of Experimental Lulz has advanced, albeit through theoretical calculations, resulting in the creation of The Comprehensive Theory of Lulz. The Chanology Experiments further expanded our understanding of lulz, resulting in the theory you see today.

Laws of Lulz (Also LOL)
(Not to be confused with the Rules of the Internet.)

1. There exist five “components” of the internetz; Lulz, Anti-lulz, Haet,
Retard, and Hivemind.

2. Of these five components, there exist different states of being.

(Including Fail, Epic Fail, Win, Epic Win, Potential Lulz, Unfunny, and Zalgo) states.

3. Lulz cannot be created nor destroyed, only transferred to differing 4. Lulz, once generated, enters a constant state of decay; eventually
reverting to its previous “Unfunny” state. Note that this does not counteract rule #3; decaying lulz is merely transformed into potential lulz. exist via a complex interaction among the latter four.

5. All that exists contains one of all five components. Hivemind can only

The Forces of the Internet, and their Varying States
LULZ: The first component to be isolated, is also the least common. Through a phenomenon not currently understood, Lulz is sometimes spontaneously generated. It is diametrically opposed to Anti-Lulz, and has four states of being: • •
Win – Transitory, short-lived state of Lulz, exists only when Lulz is first generated from another state of being. Epic Win – Theoretical super-dense state of Lulz, it has never been officially recorded by any reputable sources. Many Independent Researchers claim to have produced it; however their results have yet to be substantiated. Unfunny – Lulz once fully decayed. Some argue this is actually comprised of Anti-Lulz. Such people are dumb. Potential Lulz – Usually marked by a high incidence of Retard. This state of Lulz appears to originate from Fail. The reason for transformation from Fail to Potential Lulz is currently unknown.

• •

ANTI-LULZ: Discovered shortly after Lulz, it is most often produced by Independent Research Teams attempting to generate Lulz. Has only two states of being. •
Fail – though not composed exclusively of Anti-Lulz, it is still considered a state of being for Anti-Lulz. Its second component is Retard.

Epic Fail – Super-dense, unstable and highly dangerous form of Fail. It is observed to be caustic to other states of being, often incorporating Retard, Haet, and even Lulz unto itself, resulting in more fail. Thankfully, Epic Fail, though extremely prevalent, is often selfcontained in places unfrequented by man. Under extreme circumstances Epic Fail has been known to transform into Epic Win. The forces responsible for this are currently under debate. World Change - A new form of Anti-Lulz discovered during the Chanology Experiments, it can only be produced by inserting freshlymade Lulz into an Internet Change Machine. Quickly decays into Fail, requiring cleansing operations to be conducted in any labs running World Change experiments.

HAET: The least understood of the components of the internet before the discovery of hivemind, it was originally thought to have direct relation to Anti-Lulz, as it is most often found around retard, fail, and epic fail. However, recent research has since proven that it is actually an entity unto itself. No known states of being have yet been found. Some argue that Haet, and not Lulz, is the driving force behind the internets. Sufficient evidence suggests that Haet serves as the lattice-work which binds the internets to each other despite the natural repulsion produced by those elements which exist as either fail or win. RETARD: The second to last of the components to be isolated. Being a primary component of Fail, as well as many other things, it is by far the most prevalent component of the internet. It is thought to be a force of self-attraction, as Retard tends to eventually amass in large quantities where ever it can be found. Has two states of being (Fail and Epic Fail), though these are officially categorized as being states of Anti-Lulz. Through a process not yet fully understood, Retard can spontaneously transform into Potential Lulz. HIVEMIND: Isolated during The Chanology Experiments, and composed of a complex interaction among Lulz, Anti-Lulz, Haet, and Retard, this exotic force exists only for a certain time according to some law of its own. The hivemind cannot be known by those who speak of it, but only those who become a part of it.

Examples of the Differing Components

̡̢̛̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̚ HE̡̢̛ ̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔ ̕̚ ̔̕̚Ȳ Ȳ ̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̕̚͡ ̒̓̔̕̚ ̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚ ̡̢̛̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̚ ̡̢̛ ̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔ ̕̚ ̡̢̛̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̚ ̡̢̛ ̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔ ̕̚COMETH̔̕̚Ȳ ̒̓ ̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̕̚ ̡̢̛̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̚ ̡̢̛ ̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔ ̕̚

As previously stated, all entities contain each of the components of the internet. However, some are comprised almost exclusively of a single one. In order to give a better understanding of the four components, the purest embodiments of each have been provided below. LULZ-MUDKIPZ: Mudkipz are the closest entity in existence to pure Lulz. Recent experiments prove that they can synthesize lulz for energy. Many /b/tards are furiously at work studying mudkipz and their unusual ability to escape decay into Unfunny. If this property can be isolated, it may very well halt or even cure the cancer that is killing /b/. ANTI-LULZ-FBI: The FBI is the embodiment of Anti-lulz. Some, using advanced Lulz/Anti-Lulz String Theory, have postulated that they may contain no Lulz whatsoever. HAET-ANONYMOUS: This mysterious cabal of steroid-ingesting hackers is made almost exclusively of Haet. Aside from the fact that they designed the Internet Hate Machine, little else is known about them. RETARD-FURRIES: The purest form of retard, they are marked by their innate ability to produce Potential Lulz from their near unlimited reservoirs of Fail. HIVEMIND-ZALGO: Tͤ̀
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ͥé̘ ̠͈̣ ͆ͯ$ ͌͢ḻ̡̩͔͎̫̻̙ͨͮ̕͡i̢ ͕̘̫ ͍ z̵̴̞̟ &̒̍̉͑̀p̝̩̠ e$

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́͐ȩ ̼ ̫̅ ͝ ́ r͖%

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Advanced Lulzology: The Mechanics Of Ruin

RUIN

RUIN

RUIN

Bill Nye; prophet, savior, legend.

The controversial "Lulz-Hate Construct".

Ruin is a sub-science of fail which runs on the following laws, with the most prevalent being at the top. If this law has not been fulfilled, the case will resort to the next in the hierarchy, and so forth.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Furries ruin everything. Otaku ruin everything. The Internet ruins everything. Japan ruins everything. America ruins everything.

Note that "Otaku" is here intended to include all sets and subsets of fans, obsessives and people with an irrational philia for any particular thing. If someone writes Angel slashfics, he/she is still an Otaku. The mechanics of ruin are more complex than they appear at first glance. One may initially imagine simple cases of direct or "Mundane" ruin, for example: • Porn invented, ruined by furry porn • • • • •
Video games invented, ruined by yaoi fanfiction Social networking invented, ruined by LiveJournal Pop invented, ruined by J-Pop J-Horror invented, ruined by Sarah Michelle Gellar /b/ invented, ruined by ED

In reality, however, such straightforward cases are now almost extinct. The internet has turned the process into not so much a domino effect as a firework effect via the following process.

1. Something in America or Japan becomes popular and makes money. 2. Online communities follow, and pornographic fanfictions follow their
wake like seagulls behind a fishing trawler.

3. Someone in America or Japan buys the rights to localize it, and it
becomes cool and imported.

4. Furry happens.
There are even cases of recursive or tautological ruin in which the ruin is passed back and forth between the same sources. The most extreme case of this is called a Full-Track Ruin, in which something is ruined at every single level, including the one at which it was conceived. A rare example is Sailor Moon; created in Japan, raped in America, gang-raped by slashficers, furry artists and fangirls and then parodied as The Powerpuff Girls and sold back to the Japanese who took it at face value and created their own version. In future years it is expected that Full-Track Ruin will become commonplace. Cloverfield, for example, has been ruined at all levels except furry, as nobody has yet dressed up as the monster, covered themselves in live spiders and had sex with someone dressed as the Statue of Liberty while a shouting Nigra dressed as a marine drops firecrackers on their head. It's just a matter of time, though. LULZologists are working hard on a way to fit "China Ruins Everything" into the equation by the year 2050 next week.

Alternate (and Consequently Fail) Theories of Lulz
Alternate Universe Theory
Created by the Certified IT Technicians over at YTMND, it states that there are four alternate universes (YTMND, PTKFGS, YES YES, And THE FOURTH CORNER), each having been created by Sean Connery. This theory is primitive at best, and equivalent to saying that the Earth is flat, that stars are really holes punched through a giant box, or that black people should be given things such as property rights and the ability to vote. No. YTMND has never done anything useful, and never will. Look at the above paragraph as a textbook example of Fail and Anti-lulz.

Discrete Pornographia Expanse Theory
States that while there do exist Lulz, the internet is rapidly approaching a state of total porn, at which point Lulz and all other properties shall cease to exist. This theory may be entirely correct, as there exists a great deal of empirical data to support it.

The Quantitative Lulz/Anti-lulz Relationship Theory
This theory states that contrary to current beliefs that the Lulz/Anti-lulz relationship is linear, it is in fact cyclical in nature. THIS IS THE ONLY THING THAT HAS SAVED THE INTERNET FROM DESTRUCTION. See diagram below.

Pioneers in Lulz Research
Bill Nye, "Science Guy"
Previously famous for his work dealing with inertia, he was made head of the scientific team at Lollege University since he happened to be an expert on the subject. Responsible for suggesting that a fifth element of lulz may exist.

Gordon Freeman
Apparently not content with his epic failure at Black Mesa, Gordon Freeman suggested the idea of using an Internet Hate Machine on another Internet Hate Machine. Also responsible for postulating that the fifth element was lupus.

House MD
Brought the pills and needles. Responsible for beating Freeman to death with his own crowbar.

Richard Dawkins
Visiting professor of meme study, and currently writing a paper about why Jesus is a douche. Specialist in trolling godfags.

Recent Developments in the Field of Experimental Lulz
Spurred by the courageous actions of the Lollege University Science Team and all the promising data they gathered, the Illuminati have begun building a gigantic machine from the recovered blueprints of the Internet Hate Machine and the Hugbox. Called the "Lulz-Hate Construct" (or LHC for short), it is expected to be fully armed and

operational by mid June. When it finally switches on it will likely reveal to the world all the secrets of the Internets and Space-Time. Either that, or kill us all. Scientists have speculated that there are high chances that the machine will have to divide by zero in order to complete many of its tasks and operations, which could end up destroying the very universe itself. No worries though, Gordon Freeman has been assigned to the job of operating the machine.

finally
...in making their own contributions to that world (however unreal), participants establish ownership; the world becomes their own because it
is distinct and detached from the real one.70
/b/ is an anomaly within the post-state web apparatuses, in terms of its architecture of anonymity and ephemerality, and its lulzy surpluses which evade total subsumption by new-media capital. David Auerbach describes the relationship of the anonymous user as one who takes ownership of the world they create and are involved within.71 at they are in some sense encrusted upon the 4chan apparatus, forming a machine from which they cannot dislocate themselves, as one sustains the other. Maurizio Lazzarato defines an enslavement to mainstream media apparatuses in his essay ‘ e Machine’ (2006), which we could apply to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter:

We are enslaved to a machine when we are a cog in the wheels, one of the constituent parts enabling the machine to function. We are
subjected to the machine when, constituted as its users, we are defined purely by the actions that use of the machine demands.72
70 Auerbach 2012, http://canopycanopycanopy.com/15/anonymity_as_culture__treatise 71 Ibid. 72 Lazzarato 2006, http://eipcp.net/transversal/1106/lazzarato/en

Lazzarato here defines a relationship of dependency between the participant and the apparatus. In Raunig’s A ousand Machines, however he writes of a more complex assemblage which contains more abstract, non-instrumental ‘concatenation and connections, compositions and movements.’73 By way of example, Raunig suggests that the bicycle – and the peculiar relations people form with them - within Flann O’Brien’s e ird Policeman (1967), acts as a functioning, abstract and not-entirelyinstrumentalised, machine.

The more time a person spends on their bicycle, the more their personality mingles with the personality of the bicycle. This has specific
consequences, especially for the modes of movement and the phenomenon accompanying them: humans who always move along walls, walk as continuously as possible, never sit down, and prop themselves up with their arms and lean against a wall when they stop… indeed
there are bicycles with a high human portion, which obviously develop emotionality and sexuality, and occasionally food inexplicably disappears when they are near.74

A person’s subjectivity thus degrades or shis in relationship to the bicycle. ey appropriate traits of the bicycle, and form a peculiar machine – which, for example, props itself up with its arms and leans against a wall when it stops. To transubstantiate this notion to the user//b/ relationship, the user becomes a peculiar machine – which can’t stop posting shit and trolling, even though in real-life (RL) it feels no hatred and might have a generous, empathetic and open-minded attitude. Indeed such is the morally apocalyptical nature of /b/ - full of contingent hate, sexism, racism, homophobia – that participants seem to be mostly /b/ machine, rather than their own individuated person. is however does not neglect the overall effect produced by the user-generated content of /b/.

73 Raunig 2010, 19 74 Ibid.

Memes and lulz represent an intensive visualization of the ostensibly negative social and cultural realm of today’s post-state apparatus present: the only thing - like a teen image - that doesnotgivafuk. ey enjoy, and celebrate subjection by these formations of power and control; by endlessly producing new content which is either destroyed or too obscene, to be subsumed as standing reserve. Rather than staking a position against the apparatus, memes and lulz draw attention to its contradictions through idiotic conversation and image threads. is suggests that – an arguably depraved – elasticity is still functioning within an atrophied contemporary scenario of no-future. Finally, the machine of /b/ might supposedly function as a haven for brutal and hateful micropolitics, or as a hub for any sort of pornographic imagery (a machine is aer all an ambivalent, shimmering and not-entirely-human assemblage): ‘yet’, to paraphrase Raunig, ‘against that and on the other hand, there is a great charm about it.’75

75 Ibid., 17

totally
Have problem with bullies at school? Rip their face off, bomb school, kill yourself!

rad

If it exists there is porn of it. No

exceptions.

reading
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Goriunova, Olga 2013. ‘ e force of digital aesthetics: on memes, hacking and individuation’, Die Zeitschri für Medienwissenscha Vol. 8 (April 2013): http:// w w w . a c a d e m i a . e d u / 3 0 6 5 9 3 8 / e_force_of_digital_aesthetics_on_memes_hacking_and_individuation, accessed 15/07/13 Goriunova, Olga 2013. ‘New Media Idiocy’, Convergence: the international journal of research into new media technologies Vol. 19, No. 2 (May 2013): http:// con.sagepub.com/content/19/2/223, accessed 14/07/13 Knuttila, Lee 2011 ‘User unknown: 4chan, anonymity and contingency’, First Monday Vol. 16, Number 10 (October 2011): http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/ fm/article/view/3665/3055, accessed 17/07/13 Lazzarato, Maurizio 2006. ‘ e Machine’, European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies (October 2006): http://eipcp.net/transversal/1106/lazzarato/en, accessed 16/05/13 Poole, Christopher 2009. ‘Meme Factory’ Digiom (April 2010): http:// digiom.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/moot-on-4chan-and-why-it-works-as-a-memefactory/, accessed 17/07/13 Poole, Christopher 2012. ‘(Founder Stories) Christopher Poole, (AKA Moot), Full Interview’, TechCrunchTV (August 2012): http://www.crunchbase.com/person/ christopher-poole, accessed 24/07/13 Price, Seth 2002. Dispersion, http://www.distributedhistory.com/Dispersion2008.pdf Raunig, Gerald 2010. A ousand Machines (Los Angeles, Semiotext(e)) Terranova, Tiziana 2004. Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age (London, Pluto Press) Terranova, Tiziana 2010. ‘New Economy, Financialization and Social Production in the Web 2.0’, Crisis in the Global Economy: Financial Markets, Social Struggles, and New Political Scenarios (Los Angeles, Semiotext(e)): 153 – 170 Troemel, Brad 2010. ‘What Relational Aesthetics can learn from 4chan’, Art Fag City (September 2010): http://www.artfagcity.com/2010/09/09/img-mgmt-whatrelational-aesthetics-can-learn-from-4chan/#_n1, accessed 24/02/13

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