tumblr & the collapsing internet
I am thinking a lot over the past few years about how profoundly the culture of the internet has changed from the weird decentralized space it once was into a frantically commodified series of walled corporate spaces. In retrospect, the decentered-ness of it in 2006 was probably the circumstance most necessary for me to have a Career doing the sort of art that I do, that I effectively started doing in that year. In recent years I don’t know what to tell to independent artists trying to start working in “webcomics;” the dynamics are profoundly different and less forgiving of experimental work, or messy and digressive work of the sort that Rice Boy was, starting out. Part of that is increasing financial pressure on more and more of the population, part of that is increasingly rigid and centralized corporate control of the places in which we make the work as individuals.
I get a vertigo feeling looking back at how the internet has shifted so quickly and fundamentally. Like a short-term caricature of the process by which capital commodifies every available space; breaks it apart and categorizes it in order to better do so, centralizes itself. The internet being defined by smaller and smaller numbers of social media platforms owned by smaller numbers of enormous media corporations is a process basically in parallel with the gentrification of cities, the privatization of public or uncommodified spaces, etc, right? Neoliberalization; desperate late-capitalism shit.
Tumblr and all of these platforms have been conspicuously dismantling themselves for the sake wringing out ad revenue for a while! The new rule about Explicit Content is another big stupid step in that direction! Destructive to the culture that grew here, destructive to the lives of sex workers and queer people (tho I guess “female-presenting nipple” is meant to have something to do with a performance of trans inclusivity, lol). Grotesque and absurd to see performative moralizing about sexual content from corporations that openly and uncritically provide platforms for overt fascism. I don’t and probably won’t ever make work about sex, but it’s extremely clear to me how this tendency is destructive to the culture I make work in, the culture I grew up in.
I have to figure out how to occupy whatever social spaces there are out there as a mostly-independent artist type; I don’t know what that looks like exactly! But I’ll be mostly using my full actual name on every platform unless another evan dahm gets to it first; I’m on twitter, facebook, instagram, patreon, medium, and now ello??? Maybe that pillowfort thing soon? I don’t know. Continuing to slowly back off of this platform in particular, though I’ll try to keep important things updated here.
I appreciate so much the audience that’s come to my work as an independent creator over the past several years; I appreciate the increasing effort it takes to keep up with independent creators in general!! I’m not going anywhere; I’m making more work now than I probably ever have, and I welcome you following along and saying hello in whatever space works for you even if tumblr in particular totally collapses. thank you for reading.