This is what Goys and Birls’ Internet looks like

Goys & Birls is a design and research studio based in Amsterdam. With their work they’re reflecting on contemporary culture and developments in society. In March they showed us their Internet. These are the images they encountered and they’d like to share with you:

“Memes are the new radical art form that allow us to understand and deliver critique on contemporary society. Instead of raising questions, they make easily digestible statements about relatable issues with an enormous power of engagement. This image speaks not only about the physicality of the internet, but also about the degree of the intimate relationship we have developed with our devices. After switching off our laptops or desktop computers – objects we still consciously associate with work, or production – we move to the moment of relaxation and time-off, while jumping right back into that we just left behind in a more intimate and less obvious way with our phones.”

“Ericka Hart is a sex educator, writer, breast cancer survivor and model. For us, she symbolises the changing norms in the social construct of the human body, a battle in which social media platforms have played a big role. She is a true activist, using her social media with what seems natural ease as a weapon to deconstruct perceptions on sickness, gender, and racism, and also groundbreaking in terms of exposing one self in order to address these issues. Especially a platform like Instagram allows her to express herself by using her own body and personal experiences. We think she deserves a prominent spot in our list after Black History Month, Fashion Week and International Women’s Day.”

“Brenton Tarrant announced on an obscure 8chan board that it was “time to stop shit-posting and time to make a real life effort”. The Christchurch attack is exemplary for how the aesthetics and attitudes of the internet have been downloaded in the physical world. It was entirely designed in and for the social media age. The post linked to a manifesto dotted with references to memes and Internet in-jokes, and a public Facebook page live-streaming the spree. Reminiscing of first-person shooter video games, it made attempts of Facebook to stop the video of spreading like wildfire even more difficult as automated classifiers can’t tell the difference between a terrorist video and a video game. With “Remember lads, subscribe to PewDiePie” he referenced to the popular video game influencer on YouTube, who in the past promoted alt-right themes and had now little choice but to disown the attacks while at the same time drawing attention to it of his 90 million followers, offering it a stage. The guns he used, decorated with killers and events of violence towards Muslims, were posted on Twitter two days before.”

“This photo shows animal care takers of the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center in China. The Chinese government has made the protection and breeding of pandas into a state’s act by not only bringing them back in their natural environment but also by turning them into a source of foreign income. Almost all pandas in zoos are lease “items” that cost circa half a million dollar per year, and if a cub is born, the government receives 200.000 dollars on top. In the age of the Anthropocene, humans do not only have to teach the panda how “to survive in the wild”, the animal has also come to be seen as a natural resource that can be capitalized on.” (Photo by @adamjdean)