Digital Folklore - To computer users, with love and respect
"Technical innovations shape only a small part of computer and network culture.
It doesn’t matter much who invented the microprocessor, the mouse, TCP/IP or
the World Wide Web and what ideas were behind these inventions. What matters
is who uses them. Only when users start to express themselves with these technical
innovations do they truly become relevant to culture at large.
Users’ endeavors, like glittering star backgrounds, photos of cute kittens
and rainbow gradients, are mostly derided as kitsch or in the most extreme cases,
postulated as the end of culture itself. In fact this evolving
vernacular, created by users for users, is the most important, beautiful
and misunderstood language of new media.
As the first book of its kind, this reader contains essays and projects investigating many different facets of Digital Folklore: online amateur culture, DIY electronics, dirtstyle, typonihilism, memes, teapots, penis enlargement, …"
Part of the Introduction by Olia Lialina & Dragan Espenschied
BODY OF WORK: The reader is subdivided into three parts:
DESIGN IDEAS: The leading purpose was to create a real amateur spirit - though you can feel that there's a "proper" design approach which makes everything practical and clear. Like the super duper tags, that you can find on almost every page - they give you a perfect idea of digital folkore topics. The strict use of little modified system-fonts let the design appear as a wonderful fail or rather "fail better":
PART A - Observations: Several essays, short articles and observations by Olia Lialina & Dragan Espenschied. Each article is designed differently.
At the end of PART A you'll find a selection of works by Olia Lialina & Dragan Espenschied. Like "Digital Divide", my favorite beach-art so far:
PART B - Research: Four essays by former Merz-Akademie students. Each essay is printed on different colored paper. The delicate layout & a delicious Arial typeface let them look as beautiful hand-outs...
PART C - Giving Back: On the last 40 pages you'll find projects of New Media and Interface Design students at Merz Akademie. Dope stuff like "Bootyclipse" by Dennis Knopf or Tobi's Timemachine (full screenshot below)
This LOL CATS FAMILY TREE comes as POSTER with the reader:
Order "Digital Folklore - To computer users, with love and respect" now - or never!
Reviews of Digital Folklore:
"This playfulness, and cohesiveness, makes a great vessel for persistent and at times rigorous analysis of online life, which itself has always been rooted in exploration, discovery and excitement, and benefits from complimentary conveyances (especially when things get technical!).“
"This balance between theory and practice is not only interesting but also necessary when introducing a new concept, as the authors intend to."
"É difficile immaginare un libro come questo scritto da qualcun‘altro (specialmente in questa peculiare forma stampata), in particolar modo con tale passione e instancabile ricerca."
"... eine echte Liebeserklärung an volkstümliche Internetgestaltung."
"Digital Folklore fills a gap in the computer and network culture you‘d never know existed if you attend only big tech or web design conferences."
--We Make Money Not Art, Internet
"Durchaus spielerisch wird Wissen geschaffen, fleißig zitiert und recherchiert und im Schlusskapitel in künstlerischer Absicht auseinandergenommen und wieder neu kombiniert; alles vereint durch ein Layout so bunt wie das behandelte Thema ist (sic)."
--The Gap, Germany
"Denn hier geht es auch um die Machtverhältnisse im Web, um die technischen Meilensteine und die Spuren, die die Nutzer hinterlassen. Gleichzeitig wird der amateurhafte Umgang mit Grafik-Design und Kommunikation zwar exemplarisch vorgeführt, aber immer wertgeschätzt."