Measure Hyperspace with Your Heart
Last update
2023-06-08 07:53:01

    idk what your all talking about tiktok rules


    [video description: a mouse puppet wearing chainmail while sitting at a table. On the left side of the table, a bowl of two avocados pushes in. On the right, there is a small chalkboard, which the puppet turns to show that it reads "2 for $10." The puppet sings a parody of running up that hill. It sings "if I only could, I'd make a deal with God, two avocados for ten bucks. He'd say 'that's not very good.' I'd say 'yeah but you're God. Isn't money kind of beneath you?' he'd say 'it's the principle.' I'd say 'do you want avocados or not?' the video cuts out. End description.]


    @dirhwangdaseul @el-shab-hussein

    I've been thinking a lot about ephemeral ecosystems lately.

    A book I read talked about whales, and whalefalls a lot. Whales are megafauna like this world doesn't see much of any more: A single whale corpse is packed with so much life and energy that it can create a whole ecosystem on its own that lasts for decades. The creatures on the bottom of the sea, you see, usually live off of tiny flakes of waste matter dropped from the life in shallower waters- a tiny snowfall of food. A whalefall is an extended feeding frenzy, a time of Plentitude, where these frugal, simple creatures have more than they need for what may be the first time in generations.

    But it ends! Eventually, the last of the fat is eaten by the last lucky bacteria, and only the bones are left to seed new coral reefs or hide predators or prey. Abruptly, feast becomes famine, and the bottom of the sea lies barren again. The detritovores die, or are eaten, or drift away in the current to maybe find another source of food. The tiny worms and shelled things scuttle or swim away, the promise of food no longer enticing them where predators might also lurk. Fish, eels, mammals... they leave.

    Then there are hydrothermic vents. These pop open, stay open for some length of time, and eventually close themselves up again. They're completely unique environments- deep past the twilight zone, where sunlight can't reach. We used to think that straight-up wasn't possible, that the sun was the source of energy for ALL life. But hydrothermic vents put out sulfur, and bacteria can turn sulfur into energy- and so life exists. The vent is the dark sun, and chemoautotrophs its plants.

    These bacteria form beautiful relationships with the strange animals that live there. Yeti crabs, colloquially named so for their hairy limbs, are one of my favorite sea critters. Living within the hairs on their limbs are countless little sulfur-eating bacteria. The yeti crabs stand in the wash of the vent and dance through it, waving their arms, feeding the bacteria. The bacteria then feed them in turn, and so they live, where there should be nothing to live off of. They live by dancing!

    But it gets weirder, right? Because these vents are so rare, and so ephemeral, and so frigging extreme, the creatures who live there tend to be pretty damn specialized. You've gotta be able to live through high temperatures, high pressures, sulfurous water...

    We can't figure out how the populations migrate when a vent closes. Many of the creatures are sessile, or not mobile enough, to fight the currents to get from one vent to the next. When a vent closes, the population it fed should just... die.

    But they don't! When we send subs down to hunt around for new vents, we find populations that manage to survive, again and again. The sun vanishes, and the plants just... find a new one, somehow. We've got no clue how they do it, but they clearly do, and I think that's incredible!

    And then I think about transition ecosystems- the fresh growth right after a forest fire, the weedy, crazed ground after human clear-cutting, the way vines and roots work to uproot abandoned human dwellings and take the ground back for growth.

    I'm not really sure what I'm trying to get at here, honestly. I feel like I'm making an argument for something, but maybe I'm just saying I care a lot about this- about surviving against the odds, about surviving in environments that aren't made to thrive in, about the gritted-teeth sense of hanging on. Maybe I'm just saying I feel that, lately.


    nyc looking like the filters they put over hollywood movies to indicate the location is mexico rn


    Hmmm ummm what the fuck. I’m more south down the coast and we have a health advisory and it’s smoggy but atleast it doesn’t look like THAT! I just popped onto the earthcam livestream on nyc to see for myself and it genuinely looks even worse than this picture?!? Yikes! Everyone stay safe!


    i cant stress enough how much it looks like that right now. it took me a few minutes to try to find just the right settings to capture how orange it is because the camera app doesnt have manual white balance settings. i had to turn my lights on, it looks apocalyptic right now.

    you can't see much across the hudson river

    Everyone gets “The 90s” look wrong so let’s fix it


    If you weren’t here for part one, lemme sum it up real fast:


    Okay, all up to speed? We’re being served 80s throwback stuff with the serial numbers scratched off, re-labeled as yo totally 90s. What we’ve got now isn’t completely wrong, but I’m telling you, theres so much gold left unmined.


    As we saw in part one with Memphis Milano, these things get messy. Trends don’t start and end neatly every ten years. The first wave of 90s throwback attempts focused on the early part of the decade, and nobody since really pushed to represent the other seven years. Well, if you really wanna do something, I guess you gotta do it yourself.

    I havesuggestions. Get your flannel ready, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.


    Analog Grunge

    SURRRRRRRGE or uh, Grunge, is probably the look that defines the decade best. The big kickoff point here is Nirvana - after a shiny pop-dominated music scene in the 80s, Nevermind was like a breath of fresh smog.


    Your design has to look like it survived a nuclear blast, then was run over by your parents’ Buick a couple of times.

  • Rust. Dirt. Scuffs and scrapes. Signs of distress.
  • Handwritten or scribbled illustrations.
  • Low-rent aesthetics. Torn paper shapes, label maker or typewriter fonts.
  • image

    If there’s a Comic Sans for the 90s, its “distressed typewriter font.” Seriously, it’s mandatory. When I pulled images for this post I could not escape typewriter fonts. I don’t think you couldn’t call yourself a respectable designer without it. Just look at how much mileage old-timey typewriters and label makers got:


    Hell, it’s the giant X in The X Files!


    I think another component to Grunge is sort of an anti-digital, pro-analog message. My pet theory is home computers went from being a semi-common novelty in 1990 to an essential gotta-have-it purchase in every American home by ‘99. Desktop publishing apps made it almost too easy to make pixel-perfect, clean, uniform designs. Digital photography and scanners meant you could now publish full color photographs with ease.

    But digital perfection is the enemy of Grunge. Analog means authenticity.


    So you had a whole gaggle of designers running in the other direction. Sure you could use a computer, but your work absolutely had to look like it didnt come from one. As much as possible, incorporate hand-drawn artwork, scribbles, dust and splotches. Write text with chicken scratch if you have to. As much as you could make your multimillion dollar ad campaign look like it came from the margins of some high schoolers’ math homework, the better.


    Factory Pomo

    Not everyone was running away from digital, though. Many designers were embracing computer apps - and I think that’s where Factory Pomo first came into being. Coined by designer Froyo Tam (that’s their logo up above!) Factory Pomo is one of those things that once you see an example, you can’t stop seeing it.

  • Strong, basic geometric primitives with inverted, contrasting colors
  • Tall typography
  • Art Deco style rivets and spikes
  • Want your logo to look futuristic and modern? Stick it in a circle and put some triangles around. Invert half the colors, then another half.


    Max Krieger has a great writeup on the probable inflection point:Tomorrowland. As the story goes, Tomorrowland at Disney - the part of the park meant to look like its from the future - would very quickly look very outdated each time they tried to update it. Instead, in 1994 they decided to own being outdated. They came up with a ridiculously fun “timeless” futuristic look, mixing industrial design with Jules Verne. Factory Pomo’s signature was all over the blueprints.

    The look quickly escaped the theme park and was especially prevalent in the booming mid 90s home computer market. It’s the Packard Bell cyborg, it’s the logo in Video Toaster. If you caught that The X Files logo earlier is both Factory Pomo with the tall type and X in a ring AND Grunge with the typewriter X in the background, you win 5 bonus Pogs. 


    And it’s a stretch, but one could draw a line between Factory Pomo’s inverted black and whites and the Ska movement’s two-tone checkerboards. Maybe. Possibly. I’d have to call Tony Hawk to double check. 


    Back toFroyo Tam for a second, but that bit about them coining the term? That was in 2017. “Factory Pomo” didn’t have a name for like… 25 years. How’s that possible, you may wonder? Weren’t designers following a defined style? Well, yes and no. I think people were designing stuff to look a certain way, but it’s less a game of “this is what the aesthetic looks like” and more like a game of telephone.

    If you do an architecture tour in a major city, you’ll learn that every building and skyscraper is classified to a specific architectural movement. Every building that is but ones built in the last 20-30 years. Newer buildings have to wait a few decades for official classification. Historians need time and perspective to figure out what emerging trends in architecture are going on, whose work influenced who, that sort of thing.


    Designing a logo for Slim Jims or Cherry Coke takes considerably less time than constructing a skyscraper, but I think the same principle holds true. It’s really difficult to tell what’s a trend and what’s a fad when you’re living in the moment. I couldn’t tell you what’s the defining aesthetic for the 2020s right now. Itll be obvious in 2053, but right now, no clue.

    Enough time has passed between the nineties and today that we can pick this stuff apart easily. Maybe if you’re lucky, you can be the first to classify these design movements, too.

    Working on a part three! I’ll look into a few other trends and address the big question– Is the Y2K aesthetic actually a 90s thing? More to come.

    *A ton of these examples above are from the CARI Institute, which you should totally check out, they’ve been cataloging this stuff for years.