I don’t post here a lot, mostly because I tweet more often and more because the internet has become really an untenable place in the past few months. Sam Kriss came to my attention after his essay “The Internet is Already Over” which gave structure and style to arguments and discussions I’ve been having with friends and colleagues all year about ‘Being Online’.
I did a museum presentation this year on being Very Online, and though I was excited to work with my collaborators Andrea Ledesma and Colin Brooks – by the time the presentation happened I’d lost the verve, the fire, I had about being Online. I was happy to talk about niche parts of the internet like weird 6 hour video essays about the Japanese video game Boku No Natsuyasumi, but we didn’t really have a ton of advice for museum professionals about being online, if anything we had words of warning. Be wary of TikTok, not for its use of data, though I am curious about that, but more of what it does to your brain and experience of reality. I’ll admit a jarring part of my commute is watching people swipe infinite videos on Instagram or TikTok or Facebook, no context between them, the ultimate disposable content.
Nonetheless, Sam Kriss and his Numb at the Lodge Substack is my big recommendation for this coming year, below is a guide to a bunch of his pieces I liked a lot. I’ll note that Sam Kriss is a bit of a crank, by his own admission, I appreciate that he does not take The Discourse as something inviolable, something sacrosanct, his writing sits outside of it and cuts right through the bullshit that is how people talk on Twitter. Reading Kriss’ work and then returning to Twitter makes Twitter seem like children playing in a sandbox versus on the beach.
“The Internet is Already Over” – https://samkriss.substack.com/p/the-internet-is-already-over
This is the Ur-Sam Kriss essay that got him on everyone’s radar a couple months back. Kriss notes that once the internet created scrolling, that is algorithmic infinite content, it sealed its own demise. What he forecasts is a world that I don’t think is unreasonable even if it sounds utopian.
“The Roaring of Things” – https://justinehsmith.substack.com/p/the-roaring-of-things-a-guest-essay
This is a guest essay Kriss did on another Substack. This one is about tarot, divination, where these things sit philosophically and sentimental cartography. Really a great piece of writing. Got me into Tarot and has me rethinking a lot of assumptions I make about reality.
“A User’s Guide to the Zairja of the World” – https://samkriss.substack.com/p/a-users-guide-to-the-zairja-of-the
This is similar to the tarot piece, but this time it is about AI machine learning models and what is essentially an Islamic computer created in the 12th century in the Maghreb. Goes some real places, still thinking about it.
“The Brute Brute Heart of a Brute Like You” – https://samkriss.substack.com/p/the-brute-brute-heart-of-a-brute
Unfortunately half of this piece (and the real meat of it is private only to subscribers, but hey! subscribe like I did!)
This was my partner’s favorite and I read it to her while she played Persona 5, it’s probably the best piece I’ve read on the fascistic impulse. I particularly like how Kriss ably cuts through the “what is fascism” debate, by pointing out that calling something fascist does not change its nature, it merely states what is already present, yet we treat the marker of fascism as some major shifting in the raw essence of a thing. Fun part of this is his take on Adorno.
Have a good new year.