Masala Inc #19 - Making the Web My Own
On rebuilding my website and bringing back a flash of joy from yesterweb
We made it back to the Great White North in one piece. I have been working on my website for the last few weeks. I wanted to get it to a shape that I will be happy with. More importantly, that would reduce friction to publishing new notes or essays and become a part of my workflow. An attempt at building a robust system for consistent outcomes.
If you enjoyed the hodge-podge of topics covered on Masala Inc. and you think some of your friends would enjoy it too. Kindly share it around.
A lot of links and footnotes in this one. An archived version of this newsletter
somewhere above germany
Started reading The Rings of Saturn by W.S. Sebald and stumbled up on the word “dog days”. Who knew it was named after a star.
Stumbled up on this mesmerizing accessory cloud footage on twitter. (Everyone in the comments are saying everyone else should watch the movie NOPE)
Twice in a week came across the work of German artist John Heartfield. I like how John Berger uses Heartfield’s photo-montage work as a way to breakdown the medium.
Exploring the shape of grief with Anne Carson
John Cage : I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY AND I AM SAYING IT
Making the Web My Own
This was the year 2002. My friend lend me his internet scratch card. He said it had two hours of internet on it. All I had to do was use the serial number on that card and I can go “online”. I didn’t believe him. There is no way someone was going to give me two hours of internet. It was expensive. It was a luxury. I typed the numbers in. Heard the dial-tone go crazy. Poof! There I was, peeking into the most incredible thing I have set my eyes on. AOL chat. Then, there were blogs, directories, blogrolls, web-rings. A hyperlink wonderland.
Accessing another person’s mind, without trying to acquire a dusty old book from the library. A look at the mundane everyday goings of some randoon the other side of the internet.
I kept a blog on and off for over a decade now. I would start one up, write a blog post or two. Forget about it. Relaunch a new one couple of years later.
Slowly my need for my own website went away. Replaced by the ease of using things like Instagram, Twitter, Tik Toks of the world. And then, the algorithms started to take over. Curating an experience just for me. Maximizing on revenue by showing me exactly what they think I need to see.
It took me a long time to close in on this dissatisfaction I felt with current state of the web. I realized I need to carve my own tiny corner of the internet. Away from the whims of these infinity pools.
A website can be anything you want; a river, a plant, a garden, a puddle. I want my website to be a garden. Where I can plant my ideas and see them slowly grow over time. Building a widely connected mycorrhizal network between thoughts. I made my own little garden. At the bottom of every post, you can see backlinks to other posts. Over time, each would feed into each other. Feed off each other.
I want this website to a quiet place for someone to take shelter in. A giant banyan tree for a weary traveller to take shelter on a hot day. Where they can quietly glance through my notes or look at my commonplace book.
I want it to be resource for myself. To find [bookmarks](/bookmarks) I can revisit over time. An archive of my newsletters.
For an eventual time when the big tech I depend on doesn’t exist anymore. These tangled text files will exist on a physical disk somewhere. Until I decide to burn the current iteration of this website and rebuild it anew. Letting entropy take its course.
Until then, I have this tiny, unadorned part of the web for myself. Some place where the young-me would have loved to stumble upon. To peek at the mundane everyday goings of a rando on some corner of the internet.
yesh // august 28 2022
website - photography - instagram - twitter
I have been rediscovering a whole new community who have been building whimsical web for years now.
Modern webrings, alt-blogrolls, more links
In 2016, there was an actual app called Rando where you would send and receive images from random people across the globe. It was incredible!
Instagram in particular has been such a disappointment. Locking artist’s content because a vocal minority aren’t happy with what’s being seen. Closing down accounts for no reason and no recourse.
The thing I took away the most from the book Make Time, was the idea of infinity pools. Things that would suck up all your mental energy.
Ever since I came across the Mycorrhizal network in The Hidden Life of Trees, I have found it hard to shake that idea of how the web could be.
Another story that has stuck with me for years is Kekule’s dream of the benzene ring. Where he saw a snake eating itself. Leading to the discovery of the structure of benzene. Which apparently is not true. Why let facts come in the middle of a good story though!
I have spoke about impermanence before and my struggle with leaning into entropy of things as a photographer.
I miss stumbleupon