[education is a weekly (or once in awhile) post about one or two worthwhile links. sites you should visit, see, hear, just generally experience and appreciate and learn from. I'll write a brief "WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?" along with each one. think about it. analyze it. do you like it? do you not? I want to educate you; as in the latin verb educo, to lead forth, as in I'm leading you away from my site. Hahaha.]
I should probably put a warning before this one, even though you may have already clicked the link over on the right. discharges is a bit not safe for work, or home, or anywhere. It's loud and gross and unforgiving, which is why it's amazing. For someone who's never seen it before, you might immediately be reminded of YTMND. At least you're seeing the trend in internet culture/art. But discharges showed up around the same time YTMND was starting, and is generally considered "YTMND, but good". The two sites follow the same path, but take different approaches.
Back in the day there was a site called dickcream.com which (I like to think) spawned the whole art-mess of random gif / loud noises / possibly text. dickcream was worse, as I remember, and the few mirrors left of it don't do it justice. discharges, however, picked up along the same time, and follows the same overall theme of brilliance. But why do I keep not-so-subtly hinting at this being art? Why is this culture? I'll explain a little bit, but some of it belongs to a YTMND education post, which will come later.
A lot of my theories on why this is art can be easily dismissed as bullshit because I mainly just like saying it's art. But really, I have a few pieces of precedence for my view. There are a lot of avant-garde artists from the 50s onward who used techniques like found objects, reappropriation, and "creative misuses of technology." These artists would bring random music (or just random noise) and random pieces of film (sometimes found, sometimes popular imagery) together, occasionally superimposing text over it. There were even filmmakers who built looping film projectors that would just loop the same five seconds of randomness over and over. Sound familiar?
Contemporary "internet artists" have been trying to do the same thing, but working with what they think is hypertextuality and metagraphics. This is bullshit. The problem with modern art on the web is that the artists think too hard. Lettrism and Situationist International had it right, as dead as they seem to be now. Places like dickcream, discharges, ytmnd, and 4chan fight commodification and culture with their own exploitation of commodity and self-generating anti-culture. This is what the SI tried to do, I think, but it's not easy in real life to make culture, to hold it and try to shape it a certain way. On the internet, culture is much closer to being visible and tangible. On the internet, culture exists like a malleable web of hyper-spreadable content without rules or limits. The system is set up for sharing. Sure, corporations are trying to exploit this with viral marketing, but the biggest observation by design professionals is that it's nearly impossible because the system of viral anything on the internet must be purely organic.
An organic system of unreal cultural objects (LOLcats and flash loops) that is self-perpetuating by an anonymous mass of highly-connected users. That's the art and the culture. Real internet art is hard to exhibit because you can't put up one of these flash loops from discharges on the wall and have it really make sense. The piece, on its own, is funny and neat, but it's not really a whole and complete artistic object, nor can it truly ever be. The five percent missing is the whole point of considering it as art in the first place: the nonsense and the grotesqueness that is associated with it and the system that generated it.
But don't get hung up on this unless it excites you. I get all kinds of hot and bothered by 4chan in an art gallery. Really I just want you to enjoy some funny shit on the net.