Behind the Red Velvet Curtain

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blacklodgehorse

[TW: This piece contains discussion of sexual abuse, trauma, misogyny, transphobia and racism]

“A day in the FBI was never like this before! You are Special Agent Dale Cooper and you’ve found yourself trapped inside the Black Lodge, a surreal and dangerous place between worlds. Try as you might, you can’t seem to find anything but the same room and hallway no matter which way you turn. Worse yet, your doppleganger is in hot pursuit! You have no choice but to keep running through the room and hallway (or is it more than one?) and above all else, don’t let your doppleganger touch you!”

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Jupiter is a Failed Star because It Didn’t Want It Hard Enough

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I finally adopted the cat in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. It took twenty Kim coins—one of three purchasable in-game currencies that I can use to buy clothing, accessories, furniture or goodwill from NPCs.

I didn’t actually pay real money for these coins, the primary reason being that I’m broke, and the game’s alternate coin-gathering method of downloading sponsored apps wasn’t being very responsive. So I worked for those coins. I tapped my way through photoshoots and mastered the catwalk. Whenever I ran out of energy—a blue lightning bolt constituting probably the most important in-game currency, since without it you can’t do much—I would fly coast to coast scrounging for energy in bushes, behind fire hydrants, et cetera. All the while I’m on the A-list, mired in a celebrity feud, and jetsetting around completing modeling contracts. Continue reading

A Special Radio Transmission: The Cult of the New and Climbing “Mountain”

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In this episode, Zolani Stewart and I discuss the hyperaccelerated culture of games writing, the preoccupation with “newness” or immediacy in videogames as a capitalist myth, the importance of historical and cross-comparative study, and how to talk about games like Mountain in that context. “Context” must be an important concept here because I’m pretty sure I say it like 900 times.

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Daydreaming is Healthy: An Apology for Wasting Time

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I’ve found that lately, when I’m bored or stoned or anxious, I end up pouring a lot of my energy into Patatap. It’s a music creation tool that works in-browser and mixes clean, geometric visuals with sound samples that are each mapped to keys on your keyboard for you to play around with. (I’ve heard it works well on a tablet but I don’t own one). You can make a clever, aurally and visually interesting beat. Or you can hit all the keys at once like hammering down on a piano, just to see the shapes and colours converge in cacophony. Continue reading

Aluminum Smile

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GIF made in the "Become A Great Artist in Just 10 Seconds!" tool by Andi McClure and Michael Brough.

He stands in front of the Hype Machine as it pulses and whirs. He cracks open his energy drink, the can clammy from condensation. The sweat from his fingers glides across the aluminum lip. If it weren’t for the whirring, gurgling buzz of the Machine, the transfixed crowd would hear him gulping between sighs of refreshed “Ah!’s”.

The Machine would open soon. Continue reading

They Came on Ships

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Nicholas and Jerrod Galanin form the contemporary art duo, Leonard Getinthecar. From Sitka, Alaska, the two produce works meditating on indigenous identity in the modern world and the narrative construction of history from their perspectives as part ethnically Tlingit, part Aleut, but also “American.”

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Your Consciousness is a Dead Alien Lying in a Pit in New Mexico

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You guys wanna see a dead alien?

I’ve been thinking about E.T. as an alien. E.T. is a thing from another place, an other, but also a scientist. E.T. isn’t his name, it’s his designation. We don’t know his name, but he specializes in botany and likes candy. He’s a friend to children. He’s telekinetic, and quick enough to hide from the government and pick up English from watching TV. We don’t know his name and maybe if we did we couldn’t even say it. He’s only what humans can imagine him to be: Extra Terrestrial. He’s a curiosity, maybe a threat, and definitely the main character in a really good story. He, if he’s even a “he,” is all the labels we assign to him. Continue reading

Last Minute Recovery

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We were all still laughing at around 3 a.m, doing tequila shots in my friend’s parents’ basement. Our car had broken down at a truck stop about 100 kilometers into Ontario in a small rural town called Ingleside. There was some mechanical issue with the driver’s Ford Focus—a known issue with that model which causes the automated security system to jam and the key not to turn in the ignition. The quaintly foul-mouthed gas station attendant did all he could, as did a Ford mechanic who happened to stop by. Nothing, from jerking the steering wheel to unplugging and replugging the battery, would budge it. “That’s really fuckin’ weird,” the attendant ultimately concluded with all the delivery of a Canadian stereotype.

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