We’re really internet and we’re here to stay. A website about things Will & Seb and various friends & guests think are interesting. Little-to-no specific focus, a bit odd, speling errors, and incredibly culturally relevant. Not the first nor the last. Why copy when you can steal?

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William W. Marx

William W. Marx

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William W. Marx is a bricoleur and research scientist. He is the founder of the creative practice A-TEMP® Studio, Co-Founder of The Internet Times, Creative Director of GRIDLOCK Magazine, and has served as a guest lecturer and visiting critic at Dartmouth College. Since becoming an artist in early 2022, his work has been shown at galleries across the US and UK.


The Politics of Image Making

I’ve been making many images of late. Compared to the other media I work in, it’s remarkably simple — so simple that it’s necessitated my reckoning with the role of the work’s

Just Keep On Telling The Story

Just Keep On Telling The Story

Dear Internet, it’s been a while. Sorry for the delay.

I’ve just gotten back from the theater, and needless to say, am still digesting Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City for all that it is. Though a relatively short film, running just an hour forty-five, it’s surprisingly dense (save for the second act, which was a bit slow for my liking). I expect another two or three viewings will be necessary to appreciate it for all it is.

When people think of Wes Anderson, they think of an aesthetic. If you’re a fan, worry not, Asteroid City will certainly quench your thirst for beautiful symmetry, saturated colors, and meticulously orchestrated camera movement. Anderson’s painterly vision is enough to discuss on its own merits but make no mistake, the film thrives not on the pictures themselves but the story — the reckoning — that underpins them. The plot is inconsequential. If anything, it’s a vector of discontinuity, stumbling along to keep you engaged… to keep you thinking.

Asteroid City is a film strengthened by the social contract of the theater. When do you laugh? When do others laugh? When is there silence? With Anderson’s compositions, a big screen is critical. It forces your insertion into the fabric of the film as you wrestle with where to look. What gets your attention, and what hides in the periphery? The film oscillates between a 1.37:1 aspect ratio and one of 2.39:1. In many a scene, Anderson makes you yearn for more. Such is particularly intense in the academy ratio shots when he positions an actor ever-so-slightly in the frame — the tip of a nose or half of a foot visible, the remainder of the screen’s width obstructed by blackness. Heightening this feeling is Asteroid City’s consistent use of anamorphic lenses. Those boxy shots feel so insufficient; the screen’s width beckons for more and, in doing so, holds your gaze.

Indeed, with Augie Steenbeck (played by Jason Schwartzman), our main character, being a war photographer, the interaction of the image and the audience is paramount — as is the interaction of the image maker and the image’s subject. While eating at a diner, Steenbeck photographs the celebrity actor Midge Campbell (played by Scarlett Johansson). Campbell stoically accuses Steenbeck, ”You didn’t ask permission,” to which Steenbeck responds, “I never ask permission,” forcing a reckoning among the audience around the nuance of image-making and ownership. Later, an alien steals the town’s asteroid (its namesake), but not before posing with it upon seeing Steenbeck’s camera. The alien returns the asteroid a week later, now inscribed with markings — seemingly a signature or indexing to mark its origins, eerily similar to the strange “ownership” practices of the NFT community. Contrasting the realism of the sci-fi pictures to which we’ve become accustomed, Anderson favors a combination of stop-motion and rudimentary costume design for the alien, a reminder of the early days of science fiction films and the Lynchian proof that the genre’s strength lies in its simulated emotional stakes, not its technological fanfare.

Come for the whole film, but stay for the third act. Asteroid City’s penultimate set of scenes is where it earns its stripes. In a koan-like dream sequence, spotlights are shined on actors as they repeat, “You can’t wake up if you don’t go to sleep.” With the film set in the 1950s, it’s jarring to hear such an amorphous yet irrefutable crystallization of modern life. Constantly assaulted by digital noise — misinformation, disinformation, oversharing, relentless media, etc. — we must all remember that we’re hard-wired for oscillation, not stasis. It is in that very oscillation that Asteroid City thrives. Viewers must navigate the film’s reckoning with death and its humorous moments. Its authoritative visual language and the acknowledged incompleteness and mysticism of its story. Jones Hall (also played by Jason Schwartzman) tells Schubert Green (played by Adrien Brody), “I still don’t understand the play.” Green responds, “That doesn't matter. Just keep on telling the story.” Hall knows this, or at least Steenbeck does. As he repeatedly says, “All my pictures come out.”

I don’t believe in star ratings but go see Asteroid City. As soon as you can. If you’ve already seen it, watch it again.

What’s the deal with everyone’s “A.I.” obsession?

What’s the deal with everyone’s “A.I.” obsession?

Everywhere you look, it’s “A.I.” this, “A.I.” that. Enough. No computer is intelligent — at least not yet. We’re inches away from putting an “A.I.” eraser in a pencil and calling it the next Shakespeare. Who needs actual talent or imagination when you’ve got a little robot fixing all your mistakes for you? Next thing you know, they’ll be selling us an “A.I.” paintbrush that‘ll turn you into Matisse. It’s madness. These software are tools. Useful? Occasionally. Trustworthy? About as much as a politician during an election year. I mean, even Eric Trump can outsmart these things… and let’s face it, that’s not exactly a high bar to clear. So what’s the deal with everyone’s “A.I.” obsession? I think it comes down to three groups: disgruntled engineers, corporate vultures, and an optimistic general public.

The reason for engineers’ religious fanaticism around “A.I.” is clear as day. With 85% to 90% of “A.I.” engineers being men, it’s no wonder the tech giants that dominate the field have become breeding grounds for rampant sexism and sexual harassment. Is it really so shocking that a field rife with vengeful men who can’t get laid is obsessed with the idea of creating “life” unilaterally? It’s the ultimate revenge fantasy. For them, “A.I.” is nothing more than a desperate attempt to fill the void left by their own inadequacy. They’ve lost sight of what it means to be human.

The executives who fund these tools have a more classically sinister motivation: the façade of free labor. Don’t let the tech babble fool you — the engineering behind these so-called “A.I.” programs is astonishingly simple: download the things you put on the internet, find patterns in them with plain-old statistics, and output some extrapolated content as if it were an act of artificially immaculate conception. Consider Google Translate. Every day, Google steals the latest translations from the web, finds the most commonly accepted ones, and presents them to you without crediting those who did the actual work. It’s an impressive feat built on a lie. Disguising theft as “innovation” isn’t just morally wrong; it’s economically idiotic. The Googles and Metas of the world are unnecessarily putting people out of work — people whose work, without which, their algorithms will fail.

Now, let’s talk about you, the general public, who likely enjoys using these so-called “A.I.” tools. I get it. They’re undeniably cool and, in many cases, quite useful. Take GitHub’s Copilot, an “A.I.” algorithm built on top of Open AI’s GPT models and refined for code. I use it daily. It speeds up my coding with its autocomplete engine… and yes, it helped me build this site. I love it. So please don't take my criticism of “A.I.” as a call for boycotts. My plea is only for you to stop calling them “intelligent” — doing so undermines the preciousness of humanity. The only thing smart about these tools is the marketing behind them. They’re pattern synthesis engines, and when used properly, can improve your efficiency, not unlike a good pair of pliers. Let’s not confuse “A.I.” with the “artificially inflated” egos that market them.

Devon did it again

Devon did it again

Surprise, surprise… Devon did it again! At his lecture for Oana Stanescu’s Harvard GSD class last week, Benji B read a quote from the 19th-century German multi-hyphenate Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Music is liquid architecture; architecture is frozen music.” Rarely do you see these worlds intersect. With his “just for fun” Rimowa Artbook Shelf Speakers, Devon Turnbull has done just that, adding another node to the network of architectural history, swapping out natural and painted wood for Rimowa’s trademarked ribbed aluminum — more steel and glass than earth and sky.

Though these speakers are a 1-of-1 art project, they mark an evolution in Devon‘s quest for “natural sound” — a journey he’s guided on, I think, by the text of the Narada Purana and the work of Erik Satie. The design of something spiritual. To be seen but not looked at, heard but not listened to. There’s an inherent irony in that Ojas speakers look and sound so impeccable they’re hard not to pay attention to. But in a luxury world, what blends in more than a Rimowa bag?

We’re really internet and we’re here to stay

We’re really internet and we’re here to stay

The rumors are true. We’re really internet and we’re here to stay. Welcome to The Internet Times, a weblog as unnecessary as it is unoriginal. Who we are doesn’t matter; whether what we say does is up to you. As citizens of the internet, we’re fed up with the polish of social media. It’s counterproductive — while a digital ecosystem of one-upmanship and posts meant to impress may be for some, it’s not for us.

There was a naïve beauty to the early internet. The one that existed before it was a manipulation machine built to turn free labor into digital dollars. We’re carving out a space to keep that same energy amidst the noise. Let us know what you think… “two heads are better than one.”