TagMondo 2000

Life on the Fringes of Cyberculture: An Interview with Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Vice interviews Gareth Branwyn, a writer for the late great Mondo 2000 magazine and author of the forthcoming Borg Like Me:

What are some of weirdest fringe scenes out there?

Well, the whole dark net world of Anyonmous, 4chan (the anonymous images/bbs where rebels, criminals, and crusaders hang out), anonymous P2P networks are pretty kooky. And things like Tor, which you can use to buy mailorder illegal drugs with bitcoin. It has been said that what you see on 4chan will melt your brain, and that’s no lie. You see things, you hear things, that you can’t unsee or unhear.

Then, of course, there’s the whole Jihadist net, but I’ve never checked that out. I’ve also been researching a feature article on sexcam sites and that’s this whole specific world and there’s very kooky stuff on there—naked yoga shows, sexual game shows, women who craft and run raffles and then masturbate when they’re done and send the craft item to the raffle winner. That’s a fascinating subculture that I don’t think anybody outside of it knows much about.

Ah yes, I’ve heard about the sexcam trend. So how do you go about researching something like that?

So far, I’ve just been watching A LOT of cams… for research. I’m establishing relationships with various models and will hopefully convince some of them to talk candidly to me about themselves and their work. This isn’t going to be a piece about the business of these sites, but rather, about the models themselves and their “shows,” who their fans are, the nature of these relationships. I think it’s rather unique and an interesting twist on DIY sex work and net-based intimacy here in the early 21st century.

Full Story: Vice Motherboard: Life on the Fringes of Cyberculture: An Interview with Gareth Branwyn

(via Chris)

The “Mindstyle” of Pseudo-counter Culturalism in the Tech Industry, in 1993 and Today

Michael Stevenson revisits the “Mondo 2000 vs. Wired” of the early 90s to compare it to the contemporary blogger and startup culture:

The co-optation argument, however, fails to recognize a subtle but important difference between Mondo’s ‘rebel cool’ and that found in previous subcultures. Where subcultures are typically conceived of as ‘outsider’ scenes, from those in the counterculture that consciously ‘dropped out’ of mainstream society to more recent outsider scenes like punk and rave culture, the subversive computer culture Mondo proclaimed to represent was different. To borrow a key theme from Alan Liu’s book The Laws of Cool, Mondo’s cyberculture is best described as a scene of insiders-outside and outsiders-inside. The ideal subversive computer culture was something simultaneously inside and outside of mainstream, corporate America – for example, the corporate- and state-employed hackers and cyberpunks that Mondo imagined to be driving a social and cultural revolution from “inside the belly of the beast,” as Robert Anton Wilson wrote in the magazine’s first issue.

Wired’s style was similarly built on this contradictory positioning. Think, for example, of its portrayals of tech CEOs as rogue upstarts, as outsiders bringing about a subversive future from inside the system. This was also the essence of how Wired itself was imagined and operated – as an independent magazine that would infiltrate and revolutionize the mainstream publishing industry (on this, see especially Gary Wolf’s history of Wired, in which he often points out Louis Rossetto’s ambivalent relationship with his traditional publishing ‘peers’). This was not a co-optation of Mondo’s style, but an elaboration of its outsider-inside identity.

Full Story: webcultures.org: Cybercultural “mindstyles” circa 1993 and 2013

(via John Ohno)

See also:

The Californian Idealogy

Silicon Valley’s Anti-Capitalism-Capitalism

(Disclosure: I write for Wired)

Big Dada, IRL Fetish And More On Mindful Cyborgs Episode 2

Mindful Cyborg

Mindful Cyborgs: Contemplative living in the age of quantification, augmentation and acceleration.

Hosts: Chris Dancy and Klint Finley.

Listen or download on Soundcloud and iTunes.

Follow: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest.

Transcript, show notes and more inside.

Continue reading

Cyberculture History: William Gibson on 90s Cyberculture

ACCELER8OR is running an excerpt from the William Gibson interview conducted by Simone Lackerbauer for the MONDO 2000 history project:

We do, in fact, now constantly inhabit a sort of blended VR, but we now assume that we don’t need the goggles as long as whatever’s on the screen is sufficiently engrossing. And the distinction between real and virtual continues to blur. The virtual is colonizing the real, but generally in ways we don’t notice. VR was predicated on a notion of real/virtual that now seems very last-century. Our grandchildren won’t be able to readily imagine where we were at, with that one!

Full Story: ACCELER8OR: William Gibson On MONDO 2000 & 90s Cyberculture (MONDO 2000 History Project Entry #16)

See also:

Whatever Happened to Virtual Reality? – Virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier interviewed by R.U. back in 2002.

Notes from a William Gibson Q&A Session (9/08/10), which covers a little of the same ground.

Genesis P-Orridge, Hakim Bey and John Perry Barlow in Conversation (1993)

Here’s an old Mondo 2000 interview from 1993 with both Genesis P-Orridge and Hakim Bey conducted by Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow:

JOHN: Right, Taoism has no truck with good and evil at all.

HAKIM: Taoism seems to be the one religion that doesn’t have the Gnostic trace.

JOHN: In our culture, the problem arose with the Romans.

HAKIM: I think it goes further back. It’s Babylon. It’s just like the Rastas say, “It happened in Babylon.” It’s Marduk and Tiamat. It’s Mr. Hard-on God up against Sloppy Mom. In China, chaos is a benevolent property. Huntun is the gourd or the egg out of which everything comes. He’s a wonton. Huntun and wonton are the same words. He’s like this little dumpling and everything good comes out of him. In Babylon, chaos is the disgusting monster vagina that has to be ripped up by Marduk into myriad blobs of shit and slime. And we are those globs of slime. That’s how the human race came into being. What is the purpose of the human race? To serve Marduk, to serve the masculine principle, to store up grain in the granary for the priests, to pay for the priests for their sacrifice so they get the free hamburgers. That’s the whole Western myth. It’s St. George and the Dragon. St. George pins the dragon down.

In China, the dragon is the free expression of creativity. He’s the mixture of Yin and Yang, the principle of power. But here’s evil, plain and simple. This is why chaos has kicked off, for me, for Ralph Abraham, and others, an interest in making a critique of this Western mythology, and saying, “Let’s put Humpty Dumpty back together.”

JOHN: There’s been an interesting co-evolution lately of a lot of apparently disconnected things, like chaos mathematics and neo-tribalism, a sudden interest in Taoism and what I perceive to be a deep feminization of Western culture.

GEN: Some philosophers feel that there’s a risk in absolute unconditional surrender of that male-God power, even though it’s obviously failed miserably. Should we seek out every possible male trait and subordinate it to a female principle?

HAKIM: I didn’t like the rule of Dad, but I don’t think I’m going to like the rule of Mom either.

Pastbin: Zoning Out, Temporarily with Hakim Bey and Genesis P-Orridge

See also:

Douglass Rushkoff in Conversation with Genesis P. Orridge (2003 and 2007)

Hakim Bey dossier

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge dossier

Technoccult TV: R.U. Sirius and Richard Metzger Interview

I interviewed Richard Metzger and R.U. Sirius last week at Contact. We talked about the Occupy movement, what it’s like to start a new publication today and whether tools for free speech have room for improvement.

I apologize in advance for the audio quality – I didn’t have a windscreen for my microphone, so things get pretty noisy when the wind picks up.

R.U. Sirius was the co-founder and editor of the influential cyberculture magazine Mondo 2000. He also ran for president on the Revolution Party ticket in 2000 and has worked for publications such as Wired and H+ Magazine. He recently started a new online publication called Acceler8or. He’s also working on an open source history of Mondo 2000. My previous interview with him is here.

Richard Metzger was the co-founder and creative director of Disinformation, where he served as the host of the online show Infinity Factory and the Channel 4 show Disinfo Nation. He’s now the editor and host of Dangerous Minds. My previous interview with him is here.

R.U. Sirius interview on the open source Mondo 2000 history project

Mondo 2000

If it’s collaborative, but also your memoir, what happens when there’s conflict of memory? When your memories of what happened are completely different than the people participating in the book?

That’s kind of the experiment. That’s something you discover in the process of writing, co-writing, or editing the book. I have no particular prejudice towards the truth. If somebody gives me a colorful story, I may run with that. I may run with some people denying that it happened, or I may choose to deny something happened that someone else thinks, or I may not.

To me, it’s not a process of journalism or a conventional memoir, but a process of trying to create a piece of literature largely out of reality — but not confined entirely to reality. It’s become a cliche, like in Kurosawa’s Rashomon, in which each character goes through the same experience but remembers it in vastly different ways.

It could be interesting to have some of that in a way that’s literary and exposes something about the human being. And also, hopefully, amusing and funny.

Kickstarter: An Open-Source History of Mondo 2000 (Audio interview and transcript)

MONDO 2000: An Open Source History

MONDO 2000: An Open Source History is a web project and a book. All those who touched directly upon the history of the scene/magazine (including the earlier versions, High Frontiers and Reality Hackers) will be invited to write — or, in some cases, speak on video or audio — their stories and perceptions. Additionally, small groups of people will be encouraged to get together and record conversations. These will be posted on a private page available only to other participants. Participants will have the opportunity to insert comments into the text or add fresh entries.

At the end of the process, estimated to take approximately two years, a collaboratively-edited electronic document will be released on the web. A more closely-edited print book composed of selections from this process — edited by Ken Goffman aka R.U. Sirius (that’s me!) with Morgan Russell — will be published. Finally, the video footage might be rolled into a Mondo 2000 film documentary.

I will be a major participant in this process, essentially writing my own full and complete memoir of this time and posting most of these in fragments on the collaborative site.

Mondo 2000’s history is an exhilarating and weird tale of early digital culture, drugs, sex, surrealism, gonzo anthropology, death, digital culture, media hype, conspiracy paranoia, celebrities, transhumanism, irresponsible journalism, appropriation, hackers, pranks, theft, fun and desktop publishing. This mostly true article from the SF Weekly tells only part of the story. http://www.suck.com/daily/95/11/07/mondo1995.html

Many extraordinarily talented writers, artists, scientists, and outsider philosophers participated in the Mondo 2000 experience and there are marvelous tales to be told. If we can get even 20% of them to participate, we may have final proof that collaborative narratives don’t have to suck.

Cyberpunk Documentary from 1993

I’ve only watched the first 20 minutes. So far they’ve talked to Timothy Leary, William Gibson, and Mondo 2000’s Michael Synergy.

The 5 biggest influences on Technoccult

I started Technoccult as a teenager living in rural Wyoming (Sheridan to be exact) almost 8 years ago as a way to share links and research. Here are the 5 biggest influences on Technoccult, in chronological order:

Mondo 2000 – This one should be both first and last on the chronology. I started reading transcriptions of Mondo articles, mostly interviews with musicians like Nine Inch Nails and Revolting Cocks, way back in the day. I actually saw one of the last issues (the one with Nina Hagen) at a Hastings in Billings, MT. But I could only buy one magazine and decided to get the “electronic music and culture” magazine Interface instead because it said they were seeking submissions. I ended up writing for Interface, which was my first “pro” writing when I was 16. So I guess it was a good decision. But I always also kinda kick myself for not getting that Mondo while I had the chance.

Hyperreal – So I ended up reading about Mondo at places like alt.culture rather than actually reading it. And I started reading about this “smart drugs” stuff, which led me to Hyperreal. Now finding Hyperreal’s drug archives seems to be impossible, they just forward to Erowid. And the archive.org pages are blocked. Anyway, this site gave me a bit of exposure to rave culture, which I basically completely missed.

The Process mailing list – I ended up on this mailing list because I thought it was a Skinny Puppy fan list. It ended up being one of my first exposures to esoteric subjects, though I didn’t really know much of what was going on. I wrote about the Process here.

Anders Transhuman Page – I have no idea how I came across this site, but it was my introduction to the concept of transhumanism. I was particularly interested in the self transformation page. Thanks to this, transhumanism wasn’t just about waiting for a singularity in some distant future, but about enhancing the self in the here and now with what was already available. I’m apparently the only person in the world who thinks this way, so I don’t really identify as a transhumanist anymore.

Disinfo – I got into Disinfo initially for the political and cultural stuff. Technoccult actually basically came about because I really wanted to work on the Disinfo site, but my e-mails to them went unanswered. I wasn’t even into the occult stuff at all when Technoccult launched… it just sounded like a cool name (I hadn’t read the Invisibles yet either, but it’s possible I came across the term “Technoccult” somewhere on the Disinfo site and just forgot about it). But since all the occult material was so present, I ended up exploring that as well. I did eventually end up doing an internship for Disinfo – “telecommuting” during my sophomore year of college.

Mondo 2000 (again) – In college, Honky Tonk Dragon let me borrow a bunch of his old Mondo 2000 magazines, and I bought several off eBay. This was late 2001, early 2002 when Technoccult had already been around for a couple years, but was really just getting going.

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