Antz and the Hero’s Journey

Does the use of ‘z’ as a plural mark something out as being shit? Boyz II Men certainly had me thinking so. But, through snippets and half-memories, I’d gathered that Antz had the kind of political undertones that set it aside from your run-of-the-mill ’90s kids film that plays fast and loose with plurals.

Even though I’d seen the film’s “another ant film” counterpart, A Bug’s Life, as a child, I wasn’t prepared for how much graver and sincere Antz would be. To say that it has political undertones would be a childish reading: The film’s opener contains a sign that reads “Free Time Is For Training”; not the first jab at dehumanization in the industrial age, and certainly not the last.…   [continue reading]

Issue #2: Breath: General Updates and News

This year at Secret Cave, we’re changing our pace somewhat. Following the release of our first zine last year, we’ve already started work on a second issue. It’s important to us that Issue #2: Breath is an improvement in every possible way on our original venture. As such, certain elements of our output are likely to slow down until our estimated release date in April.

In no way does that mean our domain content will stop. In fact, Benjamin and I already have numerous drafts that we’re working on. However, we have made our next zine a conscious priority. Unfortunately, this is likely to have an impact on the amount of posts here.…   [continue reading]

Written in Stone, When All Stones Erode

Often, we think of an artwork as absolute. Picasso’s work, for example, is simply Picasso’s work; unchanged over time. We’re aware that a digital JPEG of a painting will lose all of its tangible resonance, such as its finer brushstrokes. Yet, we still consider it to be a fair representation of an essential absolute. Those with a passing interest in art may even have some peripheral sense that a long life would naturally degrade the brilliance of a piece. But, outside of the exclusive world of art criticism and appreciation, it’s rare for us to consider the ways that an individual expression can evolve.…   [continue reading]

Poor Messrs. Fish

This piece is an extract from our first print zine, Issue #1: BirthClick here for more information.

I can’t bear to harm a smiling face. A smiling face conceals a soul. A smiling face’s feelings are hurt when you mangle it. Eating it is bad enough, but throwing it away is reprehensible, and if I eat the smiling face it has at least served its life purpose.

That’s why I’m sitting, edge-of-my-seat, eye-on-the-clock, flicking through a plate of goldfish crackers to find the ones with faces so I can eat them and rescue them from the garbage. It is very horrible of the makers of goldfish crackers to put faces on some but not all of the goldfish.…   [continue reading]

Rucka Rucka Ali Interview: Constructing Parody and Character

This piece ties in to a podcast I recorded with Rucka Rucka Ali, available here.

For our final interview of 2017, we invited Rucka Rucka Ali to speak to us about his creativity and craft. Since 2006, Rucka has carved out a significant legacy as the internet’s most offensive parody artist. In his music, he often makes use of racial stereotypes and observations. All too often, and erroneously, his songs are accused of racism. In fact, his output is a cleverly constructed dissection of the culture politics we all drown in. They’re also incredibly funny, with a “no holds barred” attitude that starkly contrasts the safe-space mindset of modern liberalism.…   [continue reading]

The Work of Art in the Age of Microsoft Paint

This article is a re-formatted extract from Issue #1: Birth, which you can read more about here.

As Microsoft throws Paint into the digital wasteland with the rest of the internet’s abandonware, it’s hard not to get nostalgic about the simple graphical editor that influenced the “shit is good” aesthetic of the early 2000s internet. Its influence on internet culture is huge, with obvious examples being rage comics, stoner comics, and any image macro with awkwardly superimposed text and graphics.

Digital art that looked like shit started out as a necessity, yet slowly became a preference. Even today’s memes hark back to the days where the best material was thrown together on Paint in a matter of minutes.…   [continue reading]

Exploring Power and Public Social Spaces; Why The Network Isn’t New

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

Thomas Jefferson can’t be blamed for not getting excited by historical materialism, given that he preceded its inception, but an optimism for the future doesn’t require a rejection of the past.

The past is not a static entity. The past can be re-imagined and reinterpreted much as the present can experience the same. The past can teach us new things about itself, the present, and the future. Equally, the present can help us re-understand the past. We can create a knowledge loop where each informs each other.…   [continue reading]

SCP3 #11 – Zine

Click here to hear SCP3 #11 on YouTube.

Since Benjamin and I recorded a bonus podcast detailing our first tape release, we thought we’d do a longer episode on Issue #1: Birth itself. Throughout this conversation, we discuss the zine page by page. We wanted to give some of the background behind the talents involved, and why we chose them. Each of the artists provided wonderful work, and deserves a spotlight. There are also some good stories behind some of our meetings. The intention is for listeners to have a copy of the zine open during this podcast, for some more context on our dialogue.…   [continue reading]

ACME: An Introduction

This ten-part fiction is currently being serialised in our zine. You can download a PDF of our first issue, featuring this part, here.

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An Introduction
(welcome to the wonderful world of entertainment)

Petey stood perspiring, rubbing his porky and ill-defined pinkies together in angst, fearful but energized. Let’s proceed to paint this picture with all the full wonder and respect it commands, for the room in which Petey shook – not entirely out of disturbance, but more anticipation – was so unlike any enclosed space you have ever entered. The only thing known to the average human, like you or I, that could even approach the decoration, architecture or general ambience of that cavernous chamber is what hallucinogenic drug users may find in an un-enclosed clearing.…   [continue reading]

Decentralized Social Media and The Fragmentation of Control

The architecture of a social network doesn’t just affect a bunch of invisible server-whirrings and documentation jargon. It’s directly responsible for how the network’s users interact — what they’re allowed to say, what they’re likely to see, and who controls these factors.

A good example to start my examination into centralized/decentralized social networks is Twitter.

The name “Twitter” and the platform’s relentless bird imagery isn’t an arbitrary choice — it actually makes a lot of sense with regard to how the network works.

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Starlings, for example, flock in groups of 10,000 or more, unified and communicating as a network. Birds learn to sing by listening and imitating, which often means that groups of co-existing birds learn the same patterns, inflections, and memes.…   [continue reading]