Suzanne Forbes, an expat New Yorker in Berlin. Made possible by the generous support of her Patrons. https://www.patreon.com/SuzanneForbes. Former DC Penciller for Star Trek, former courtroom artist, painting portraits and teaching drawing.
Category Archives: Infuriating news of the cyberpunk dystopia we live in.
In honor of the Binding “President” Trump rituals happening all over the world beginning February 24, I made this picture.
Since I am a science fiction person and not an occult person (love and respect to all my occult peeps!) I boundTrump to the Phantom Zone. You may recall that’s where Superman puts villains.
The picture is licensed Creative Commons CC0; it is in the public domain and I waive all rights to it.
I wish with all my heart for “President” Trump to vanish to eternal imprisonment in the Phantom Zone with the rest of the supervillains, and may he stay there for all eternity, outside space and time, harming no one else.
Lots of good folk are involved in this project and its sharing around the world. Here is a central source and the beginning of the binding words:
I call upon you To bind “President” “President” Donald J. Trump So that he may fail utterly That he may do no harm To any human soul Nor any tree Animal Rock Stream or Sea
Bind him so that he shall not break our polity Usurp our liberty Or fill our minds with hate, confusion, fear, or despair And bind, too, All those who enable his wickedness And those whose mouths speak his poisonous lies
The horrific situation with the US makes me want to make transgressive art that shows love and faith. I don’t know if this will give comfort to anyone but me, but it makes me feel better to have made it. Thanks to the monthly support of my Patrons, I can make and distribute free and copyright free art. He can gut the NEA, but he can’t stop the people from supporting artists.
Usually I make my free drawings available with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial ShareAlike License (CC BY-NC-SA), so that people can use them freely but Urban Outfitters can’t profit off them. However, in this case, if Urban Outfitters wants to make t-shirts or phone cases with my fat, hairy, trans demon sheltering a spectrum of marginalized children, they are welcome to.
This drawing is in no way intended to be a critique of the official Satanic Temple Baphomet statue, created by Brooklyn sculptor Mark Porter after a drawing by 19th-century French occultist Eliphas Levi.
The official sculpture is a transgressive work of art that derives visceral power from the clever use of two children in a pose that echoes popular formatted iconography of the 1950s. No shade, just a variant, an homage I offer to the world!
The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will. Politically aware, Civic-minded Satanists and allies in The Satanic Temple have publicly opposed The Westboro Baptist Church, advocated on behalf of children in public school to abolish corporal punishment, applied for equal representation where religious monuments are placed on public property, provided religious exemption and legal protection against laws that unscientifically restrict women’s reproductive autonomy, exposed fraudulent harmful pseudo-scientific practitioners and claims in mental health care, and applied to hold clubs alongside other religious after school clubs in schools besieged by proselytizing organizations.
(edit: Art historian Suzanne Wegh is now co-curator; check out her blog!)
The show, called “Freer in Berlin“, was beautiful; I really loved the photographs by Laurence Philomene especially. I made this drawing of Ms. Duveau in glimpses through the packed crowd. Also, in an amazing piece of Berlin magic, a friend from the Bay who I hadn’t seen for years spotted me drawing; he couldn’t believe the synchronicity. I was like hey, Berlin is ALL synchronicity.
Then I went to the Gig Poster Screen Print show at ESDIP Berlin, where I teach.
I wanted to buy fucking everything, the prints were so amazing, but as a poor artist I controlled myself and bought only this Noise Armada piece of Trump getting it in the head with a machete. Husband finds it too horrifying to hang in the house, I am bummed.
I just read Lizzie Widdicombe’s thoughtful New Yorker piece on Soylent. On the face of it, Soylent seems like a classic example of privileged people solving Valley problems. No-one wants to not need food but supertaster Aspies who think they’re too busy saving the world to eat, right? When the Kickstarter launched, I saw it primarily as another asshat lifehack from an engineer who lacks sensuality. And a possible solution for my hacker fiance’s dislike of eating.
But… I care about space travel as much as I care about heirloom tomatoes, and Soylent could be an important piece of making it viable. We know that the DNA of heritage turkey breeds could provide the genetic diversity from homogenized foodstock turkeys we need for a resilient new-planet ark. Slow food is part of the future of space travel for those reasons. So is DIY. The legion of unpaid researchers using their own backyards to develop greywater irrigation and raised bed planting innovations are working for space. Although they’re only trying to grow their own food to save this planet, and building these raised beds because their West Oakland soil is full of toxins, they’re advancing our sustenance palette.
NASA would have to pay people lots of money to live on beige post-food slurry and carefully monitor and record the results. Companies would spend fortunes on the R&D these Soylent formula obsessives are doing for free. If I get on the generation ship (as a resident artist, I hope!) I’ll be glad a bunch of vegans in a Santa Cruz dorm tested green sludge recipes for a year. So I withdraw my criticism of Soylent, and I say, drink all the sludge you want, narcissist ascetics. Just make to quantify everything you learn.
Imagine Google searching through your whole life on the internet and pulling up all your likes and endorsements and comments.
Then they pair them with your name and the photo from your Google+ profile, and display them as ads. That sounds positively….evil, doesn’t it? Remember that time you “liked” your friend’s band, even though you hadn’t seen him since college? What was the band called, PedoNecrophiliaBestiality or something?
It’s too awful. It’s too awful to read TechCrunch’s apology for the ogling/masturbating apps at Disrupt 2013.
It’s too awful to look at screencaps of douchebro Pax Dickinson tweeting threats at Anil Dash. It’s too awful that my hero Hugh Jackman has to resort to PandoDaily as a bully pulpit for social welfare messaging. It’s too awful that DC Comics posted a talent contest that involved a naked Harley Quinn attempting to electrocute herself. It’s too awful that the Penny Arcade guy still hasn’t grown up or healed or become human. The NSA situation is so awful, I really prefer not to think about it. It’s been a bad, gross week on the Internet, for technology and for geek culture.
So instead, we bring you a new T324 geek Pinterest board:
Most ridiculous results of mainstreaming and appropriation of geek culture.
Where we post the most cognitively dissonant attempts to monetize how much geeks love the things we love.
Like this Wolverine nightlight to watch over your child. Because this guy makes me feel so safe.
I’m currently re-reading Gibson’s Spook Country. Like all of his recent works, Spook Country is mostly a collection of stylistic tics (luckily, I love Gibson’s stylistic tics). However, it’s interesting in that it foresees* (in ’07) our return to the seemingly failed notions of VR and AR.
The idea of locative art has long since peaked, but the notion of enriching our awareness of the world through technology we wear is red-hot. The eversion of cyberspace has happened, is commodified. There is a wearable tech gold rush on, and HUDs are a big part of the territory. So a number of devices that compete with Google Glass are emerging.
One is the very affordable ($299 without camera) GlassUp device, which projects your phone data onto your glasses.TechCrunch suggests that price and eyelessness could push adoption of GlassUp- that people who are creeped out by the camera on Glass would feel better about buying GlassUp. This ignores the fact that GlassUp will be available with a camera for just $100 more.
The privacy issues that horrify my boyfriend (see my “promise me you won’t wear them in the house” post) about Google Glass are related to the Glass camera and facial recognition. He is a person who is very uncomfortable about the idea that his movements can be tracked, online or in meatspace. Not because he’s a criminal, but because he read Ayn Rand at an impressionable age.
Myself, I assume that the government is tracking everything I do, and has been all my life. Because my parents were drug-taking hippies in an era when people who took drugs were the objects of a Phil Dickian surveillance state, and by the time I was fourteen all my friends were drug dealers (Stuyvesant had a lot of them in 1981), I accepted being watched as a fact of life.
Being connected to the Grateful Dead tour acid dealing network meant being connected to people whose phones were tapped by the DEA and FBI. I was lucky enough to get sober and out of drug culture as the “war on drugs” escalated and people I knew began to go to prison, in the late ’80s. But I never shook that feeling of being watched.
My boyfriend is a Millennial; he was born in ’82. He’s been online since the beginning, since chatrooms and dial-up. He’s always been in hacker culture, which is intrinsically paranoid and anti-establishment and parasitically infiltrated by the Man, so even though he’s not a druggie, we share a cellular, atavistic reaction to the word “narc”. And we share the experience of having our friends go to prison.
I trust my friends at the EFF to protect my rights, and I trust the American Constitution to bounce back from damn near anything. I trust human adaptability and I trust the future. This is what growing up on science fiction did for me: it gave me an OS of hope. If we all wear glasses that tell us when the Colosseum was built and that mom is at the restaurant already, it’ll be no big deal. If we all wear glasses that let us see through each other’s eyes, it might change the world.
*About Spook Country: It also contains a chilling awareness of the NSA tap-o-sphere that foreshadows both Snowden’s revelations and the surprising public indifference to them.
Gibson notes that most Americans assume the government is tapping their phones, and so the idea of their digital communications being monitored as well is unsurprising.
Edit: in 2019, I must edit this post to note, obvs I was fucking wrong.
It never occurred to me that the tech companies would use our data for anything other than the simplest and fastest way they could make money, or that anyone OTHER than marketing people for expensive jeans and our own government would use our data, or that waves of incels downvoting Captain Marvel would actually have a real-world effect.
In 2019, I reserve my techno-optimism for a Hail Mary pass at saving the burning planet, even though I know the plastic-eating nanites will come up on the shore and eat us after they clear the water column.
My husband and I got rid our of our phones in 2015, instead of getting Google Glass.
We have a landline. We live happily without Facebook and when I take the bus Zuck doesn’t know where I am until I pass a camera. But it’s too little, too late, and I have no idea what’s gonna happen. Honestly, I would no longer get a chip, in my head or anywhere else, and I hate those fuckers for destroying my jolly vision of my 2020 cyborg self. Among other things.
Some days, my husband says he thinks the internet was a mistake.
I just watched the video of Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, with my boyfriend. He looks like any of our cute, smart young friends in the security industry; we know quite a few guys like him. But he’s also special, because he’s done something that appears to be very, very brave.
I don’t think he’s a plant, or a Chinese spy, or a sociopath who wants attention. I also don’t think the data he leaked is a big deal, because I’m a tad jaded and always figured Panopticon was the status quo. Plus, as David Simon very intelligently explains, wholesale recording is nothing new. It’s actual listening without court orders that’s the really bad news, in terms of the wheels coming off our whole freedom deal.
But I believe that Edward Snowden feels he saw wrongdoing that was poisonous and that he had to make public. I believe he is a badass geek with a fine brain and serious principles. The video is absolutely tight, an incredibly well-stated message from a thoroughly articulate thinker who appears to have stepped up and given away the life he had for his principles. It takes Fox-level signal corruption to in any way construe that this guy wanted to give aid and comfort to anybody, let alone enemies of the nation.
I saw this article from The Atlantic and it happened to have to a sidebar with the header, “Millennials vs. Earlier Generations”. I didn’t watch the video, even though it appears to a straightforward economic projection, because I’m already plenty sick of hearing subtext about how Millennials are lazy and entitled. As a Generation X’er, I’ve dated Millennials for the last fifteen years, because I think they’re amazing. Millennials are the NOS turbocharger for the 21st Century, and Edward Snowden just flipped the switch.