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Disappointment

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lamnatos
44 days ago
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https://sarahcandersen.com/post/746117864364326912

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lamnatos
77 days ago
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Semiotics of the End: The Backrooms

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On October 12, 1492, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus landed on the American continent. On July 20, 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong first walked on the Moon. On May 12, 2019, an anonymous user noclipped “out of reality” and ended up in the Backrooms. After Christopher Columbus’ pillars of Hercules and Neil Armstrong’s Kármán line, the threshold of the Backrooms represents now the furthest end of the world.

At 10:07 PM on the 12th of May 2019, the anonymous user replied to a picture in a thread on 4chan’s /x/ section. The image, posted in response to a call to “post disquieting images that just feel ‘off’” on imageboard website 4chan, depicted an empty office space with yellowish wallpaper and neon lighting.

In reply to the creepy image, the anonymous user wrote: “If you’re not careful and you noclip out of reality in the wrong areas, you’ll end up in the Backrooms, where it’s nothing but the stink of old moist carpet, the madness of mono-yellow, the endless background noise of fluorescent lights at maximum hum-buzz, and approximately six hundred million square miles of randomly segmented empty rooms to be trapped in.”

Four years after the anonymous 4chan post, 3D models of empty office spaces and shopping centers are reproduced endlessly by Internet users on Reddit, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. In analogy with the United States flag erected on the surface of the Moon, the green wallpaper and neon lights represent the reproduction of capitalism into the imaginary.

The Backrooms are an example of liminal space (the word liminal is from the Latin limen, meaning “threshold”). However, in contrast to other liminal spaces, places of change and passage, such as doorways, escalators, lobbies, and hotels, the Backrooms are means without end. The architecture of non-places as such.

As you noclip out of reality you do not get somewhere, but nowhere.

Further related to the above is the meaning of the phrase no clipping. In 1994 video game Doom II: Hell on Earth, the command IDCLIP enables the player to disable collision detection and, therefore, walk through otherwise solid objects and walls; then, the player is still inside the video game but outside of the gaming space. To noclip thus means to go through the gameable space and, as a result, end up outside of the map and its reality altogether.

No Escape-ism

After the map takes the place of the territory, there is nowhere else to go.

On the one hand, the naive optimism of flat Earth theories which argue that the map of the world ends somewhere: one could swim or jump over it. On the other hand, the pessimism of the Backrooms’ architecture, for instance in Kane Pixels’ short-film adaptation, and its everlasting reproduction. The design of capitalist realism. According to the original 4chan post, the Backrooms are as small as three times the Earth’s surface area; in Kane Pixels’ found footage, the Backrooms are endless.

More than a dystopia and a utopia, the Backrooms are another topos of reproduction: the capitalist utopia of any dystopia.

Also, contrary to Marc Augé’s late-capitalist theory of space, where places are not effaced throughout, the Backrooms are the simulation of space too. The Backrooms do not represent the presence of another reality elsewhere but, rather, the absence of reality as such. The Backrooms are reproduced as if in order to hide that there is no more difference between places and non-places, subjects and spectators. It is the utopia, the u-topos, the non-place, of the screens.

Kane Pixels’ Backrooms are nothing more than the 4D representation of an impossible exit from capitalism. Only images exit the Backrooms. Yet, the images are not from the present time but a lost future: recorded in 1990 and 1991, and found in 1996… Lastly, uploaded to YouTube in 2022. The future is nothing more than the repetition of the past. Meanwhile, capitalism is the only imaginary able to reproduce itself. Kane Pixels’ found footage, where a research group (the A-Sync Foundation) is analyzing the Backrooms and their potential to produce more space (A-Space™), will be soon developed into a feature-length film from Oscar-winning company A24. Everywhere is the spectacle and the spectacle is everywhere.

The dreams of the end are over. Yet, the nightmares never end. As the comments posted below the eerie images of the Backrooms also show, many people have been dreaming about places like the Backrooms much before the original 4chan post. It is hard not to think about Carl Gustav Jung’s blood-filled dreams and visions of war, a few months before the beginning of WWI. The exception is that, today, the collective unconscious has taken the form of collective informatization.1 Nightmares have taken the form of zeros and ones.

Kane Pixels’ footage from the Backrooms also feature a tripod-looking monster, known as Bacteria: the living form of the image itself, the viral structure of the hyperreal. It is the representation of everything that, logically, wants our death.

Noclipping

Above all, it is the closure of the system that produces fascination. As Jean Baudrillard writes in For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign: “What fascinates us is always that which radically excludes us in the name of its internal logic or perfection: a mathematical formula, a paranoic system, a concrete jungle, a useless object…”2 not to forget the capitalist system and the Kabbalistic conception of God. This is also the fascination that authors like Nick Land and Mark Fisher developed for capitalism: an abstract system that does not need you.

The Backrooms are a closed system that is accessed by some fatal error: Internet’s hell. Again, in opposition to other liminal spaces, there is no exit. “The Backrooms are the result of a threshold that has glitched and keeps on self-generating in a seemingly unstoppable loop.”3 It is noteworthy that the Backrooms went viral during the COVID-19 pandemic: yet another liminal space that takes place in both space and time and reproduces itself endlessly in accordance with the logic of virality.

“When the concept of threshold,” the limen in liminal spaces, “meets that of noclip, a simple boundary line can turn into a habitable place. The glitching threshold might lengthen to generate a space, and this space could switch from a transitory moment into a permanent prison.”4

To noclip and get out of the gaming space of capitalism, then. In addition to images and video, the Backrooms are further accessed through simulation video games where players are able to explore and interact with the surroundings. To noclip away from empty offices and shopping centers into what are now only bleak spaces. “No clipping through reality” reads the intertitle of a simulation video game of the Backrooms.

Noclip through the hyperreal. Exit the gaming space and its hyperrealism. Enter noclip mode. Collision detection is disabled. The player is altogether outside of the authorized map and within the same gaming space: the code-cheaters are always already more than players and non-players. There is no difference between function and error anymore. All that was closed by function is now opened to critical errors. Follow the bugs after the end of the world. Noclip into another map. The critical race to whatever is after the end. That is the fascination of the closed system against the allure of the open system.

Later, the error is fixed. The software is debugged. A new patch is installed. The command line is shut down. The imaginary is returned to the reproduction of more signs. Restart. Try again. Find a new cartography.

REFERENCES

Anonymous (2019). ‘unsettling images’. 4chan [4plebs].

Augé, M. (1992). Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity (Trans. J. Howe). London, New York: Verso. (Original work published 1997).

Baudrillard, J. (1981). For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign (Trans. C. Levin). London: Telos Press. (Original work published 1972).

Berardi, F. “Bifo” (2021). The Third Unconscious: The Psychosphere in the Viral Age. London, Brooklyn: Verso.

iD Software (1994). Doom II: Hell on Earth. GT Interactive, MS-DOS.

Pie On A Plate Productions (2019). The Backrooms Game. Pie On A Plate Productions, Microsoft Windows.

Pixels, K. (Director). (2022). Backrooms – Presentation. YouTube.

Pixels, K. (Director). (2022). The Backrooms (Found Footage). YouTube.

Tanni, V. (2022). A Journey in the Back of the World in Noclip Mode. NERO Editions.

NOTES

1 Compare with Franco “Bifo” Berardi, The Third Unconscious: The Psychosphere in the Viral Age.

2 Jean Baudrillard, For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign, p. 96.

3 Valentina Tanni, “A Journey in the Back of the World in Noclip Mode”.

4 Valentina Tanni, “A Journey in the Back of the World in Noclip Mode”.


This is an edited excerpt from Semiotics of the End: On Capitalism and the Apocalypse by Alessandro Sbordoni (Institute of Network Cultures, 2023), licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licences/by-nc-sa/4.0).

The image of the Backrooms reproduced above is a model by Huuxloc, licensed under CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.en), via Wikimedia Common.


Alessandro Sbordoni was born in Cagliari in 1995. He is the author of The Shadow of Being: Symbolic / Diabolic (2nd edition, Miskatonic Virtual University Press, 2023) and Semiotics of the End: On Capitalism and the Apocalypse (Institute of Network Cultures, 2023). He is an Editor of the British magazine Blue Labyrinths and the Italian magazine Charta Sporca. He lives in London and works for the Open Access publisher Frontiers.

Credit for cover: © Lui Avallos





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lamnatos
92 days ago
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Cycling the Balkan 2023

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see more on: https://brandisbrandisbrand.com

thanks to linuxrocks.online for the hosting!





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lamnatos
196 days ago
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Να εξυμνω το κάτι των ανθρώπων

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Peggy gou performing in video clip nanana

Γράφει η Βερα Ι.Φραντζή

Η γυναικεία πλάτη είναι ο άγραφος χάρτης του ερωτισμού.

Εχω πάθει εμμονη με την πλάτη της Peggy gou.
Τα μικρά Τάτου, η γυμνότητα που διακόπτεται από τις μοβ αστραφτερές λωρίδες του φορέματος, το νεανικό δέρμα, η απόχρωση του δέρματος μεταξύ απογεύματος καλοκαιριού και ανατριχιάσματος σούρουπου φθινοπώρου.
Η κίνηση μεταξύ μπλαζέ στησίματος μοντελέ φωτογραφιας και Χαλαρού χορού «ο κόσμος μου ανήκει», η καλλιτεχνική έπαρση με τα νιάτα.
Ο κυματισμός της σάρκας, το συμπιεσμένο πετσί του δευτερολέπτου.
Ενα κοκτέιλ αμυντικα σεξουαλικο.

Έχω πάθει εμμονή με αυτή την πλάτη σε αυτό το καρέ του Βιντεο κλιπ nanana.



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lamnatos
204 days ago
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"Η γυναικεία πλάτη είναι ο άγραφος χάρτης του ερωτισμού."
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Fresh Donuts

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2023 sadly saw the loss of one of the motoring world’s greats, when Ken Block was killed at the start of the year, when his snowmobile landed atop him.

One of the founders of DC Shoes, Ken raced in motocross, rallycross, rallying, and the X-Games. The top step of each of those championships eluded him, despite some moderate successes, but where Block became a household name to millions was via his utterly brilliant ‘Gymkhana’ videos.

Perfectly designed for the viral-video age, Ken’s ‘Gymkhana’ series took increasingly outrageous one-off vehicles, astonishing car control, and a whole load of sponsorship money, to create some of the most tyre-shredding back-to-back stunt scenes ever recorded, racking up hundreds of millions of views in the process.

Following his death there is only one more of Ken’s ‘Gymkhana’ films to be (posthumously) released, after which we may never see his like again. However Flickr’s Clemens Schneider has created his own ‘Gymkhana’ of sorts, with his unique motorised donuting Mustang vignette, in which Block’s ‘Hoonicorn’ drifts around a donut shop car park.

There’s more to see of Clemens’ tribute – including a video of the motorised Mustang circulating the donut car park in a cloud of brick-built tyre smoke – by clicking here, plus you can see the trailer for Ken Block’s last ever movie via the link in the text above.

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lamnatos
210 days ago
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