Alfonso Surroca:

Made in LA, online since '89.


Years have passed since I contributed content to the Internet. I have used it going on three decades, so the novelty had worn around the time Facebook required an email address ending in ".edu" and the # symbol exclusively denoted a chatroom channel.

I'm the 2065th user on Twitter and haven't been active on the service since it was good (about 10 years ago), I post professional work on Instagram, and store my personal work offline in the form of paintings within my home and insights within my mind.

When the mainstream (media, mostly; populace, slightly) vampirized and nearly vanquished the unique creativity typical of the early Internet—BuzzFeed and Reddit being particularly but not solely to blame—I had abandoned the fight for in-group control and relegated myself to the lesser position of spectator.

From 2009 onward, as Danger Brain, I worked with my brother to develop brands. During the early days of YouTube, we developed and assisted the content creators which came to define the culture of YouTube—many of the creators featured during the first several YouTube Rewind videos, when said videos featured creators instead of ideologies. Danger Brain participated in and promulgated "geek culture" at a time when it still had vestiges of counterculture, before Hollywood absorbed and corrupted it into its opposite, a zombie pseudo-culture which now effaces what it once created.

Today, we, participants and creators alike, live within an unraveled and putrefying culture, decomposers aiding the process which will use the products of our actions to create new life. Some call it "alt-tech", and whether it was meant to be a namesake or not, the parallels to the 1970s alternative technology movement must not be a coincidence.

I prepare for an era with a degraded Internet by considering ways to harness communication, semiotics, and memory to help create a sort of protocol for a peer-to-peer data storage and communications network which utilizes our minds and our common symbols instead of the Internet.

To paraphrase the apocryphal expression, we are now living in interesting times. The future is not fixed, but it is neither random. There are crisis points during which even the common man has the ability to shape the coming era, and we are approaching one of these points. It is time to meditate upon the past so that we may be prepared to shape the next era. To encapsulate this:

the future is fiction,
but the past persists.