February 12th, 2008
This graf from Paul Ford is evocative for me:
In the late 1980s there was a prevalent nostalgia for the 1950s that made its way into collage culture. That was my first exposure to irony proper; I watched Leave it to Beaver and bought zines with collages of men with pipes and smiling housewives. An escape from the metalhead norms of the neighborhood. At the same time cyberpunk was on the rise, science fiction as pure chaos, styrofoam in the bay and VCRs washing up on the beach, brains filled with silicon, empty buildings. I saw the point of these novels as I sat for hours spinning pixels in DeluxePaint, cutting and pasting. It was nearly impossible back then to get an image into the computer: scanners were exotic, audio recording nonexistent. You had to use the images provided or create your own. The only way for the computer to communicate with the larger world was through the printer, or a modem dialed into a BBS (never for me), or disks copied from friends. I remember spending tens of hours working with one image of Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd that I’d found on some disk somewhere, switching heads, adding third eyes, and so on. Just for the process, to see if I could.