Blood on the Goban: Exploring the Myths of an Ancient Art

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

Go, in its impenetrable elegance, is quite possibly the oldest board game that still sees widespread play. A product of ancient China, its popularity in East Asia far surpasses that of chess. In comparison, I’ve heard Go’s complexity equated with that of a war; opposing the self-contained battles fought on a chessboard. Though exaggerated, there’s some truth to that analogy, which has helped Go to maintain its appeal for over twenty-five centuries. In fact, it was once considered a founding art of the Chinese aristocracy.…   [continue reading]

Issue #1: Birth – The Frame

After the launch of Secret Cave’s online store, where slavering millennials and web-based creatives can, at last, feel the material presence of their favourite online “zine”, I, Lee‘s dad, thought it would be fitting to add to this existential element of the website.

It’s one thing to clatter around on a keyboard and instruct someone to switch on their machines and program them to churn out consumer goods, like magazines and cassette tapes. It is entirely another thing to take materials from your surrounding environment, produce objects to arbitrary dimensions, pre-determined physical requirement limitations and personal aesthetics using one’s own imagination, understanding, logic, practical skills and enough calorific intake to produce the energy required to shape and reform.…   [continue reading]

Archain Interview: Building an Uncensorable Archive of Human History

This article ties in to a podcast we recorded with the Archain team, available here.

Unreliable permanent storage is a problem that most people don’t know exists, but will have likely experienced first hand.

Under my desk, I store my fine collection of bricked laptops with the hope that one day I might salvage them for parts — on the hard drives of those long-dead machines, there are hundreds of gigabytes of lost data. Old music project files, documents, and other things I should’ve been smart enough to back up online.

However, storing files on the cloud isn’t totally safe.…   [continue reading]

Trolls, Crusaders, and Internet Territories

The conditions that enable and encourage trolling aren’t exclusive to the internet, but they are more prevalent online than off, mostly thanks to the ease of anonymity and effects of crowd psychology. Territorial behavior — based either on platform loyalty or tight-knit communities — is amplified when geographical constraints no longer play a part. Internet crusades targeting other groups or individuals have become so commonplace that major platforms like Twitter have had to rethink their stance on free speech.

The internet population is growing, but it’s also fragmenting as real world issues polarize mainstream and fringe subcultures alike. In this article, I’ll examine the phenomena of internet territorialism and those who coordinate trolling on a large scale.…   [continue reading]

The Choice is Yours (SCP Mini)

Click here for this SCP Mini on YouTube.

It’s been some time since we’ve released an SCP Mini. Therefore, I may as well go over their concept once more before I introduce our latest. Using dialogue from our podcast episodes, Benjamin creates short, compressed versions set to edited footage. They allow us to focus on a particular subject, and accentuate key points and humour. In addition, they’re an excellent way for Benjamin to express his developing skill for video editing. Though they’ve only ever pulled in pathetically small view counts on our YouTube, they’re among our personal favourite content.

For this SCP Mini, Benjamin has used a deleted “scene” from episode fourteen of our second season.…   [continue reading]

Issue #1: Birth: A Final Announcement and Update

Several months ago, we announced our first physical zine. Since that announcement, Benjamin and I have been working hard to make Issue #1: Birth a reality. On the same day as this post’s publication, we’ve made our final order for the complete batch of debut issues. Once we’ve received them, we’ll send out individual copies to our subscribers. With its release just a few days away, this post will take a look at each of the zine’s talented contributors. In addition, I’ll detail a few of the difficulties we’ve encountered in the process, and how they’ve helped us to develop.…   [continue reading]

Computer Vision: How Bots See The World Around Them

In my piece on neural network art, I looked at how bots generate images based on their existing ‘knowledge’ of shape and form. These computers are trained on large data sets of images, all classified and tagged so the machine can make sense of them. Google’s Deep Dream, for example, uses a set of ImageNet material with 120 dog categories, explaining why almost everything it hallucinates has some kind of dog, however subtle.

Projects like Deep Dream are more of an artistic side-project than a useful tool, but the tech it’s based on is a bridge towards computer programs being able to make sense of the world around them — whether that’s an image tagger for a search engine, or a robot with nuanced spacial awareness.…   [continue reading]

Three Months as a Softcore Sex Worker in Latvia’s Capital

“I saw women broken by it. I saw girls crying at the end of the night. The only reason I could deal with it is because I had no sense of self worth.”

Past the grand churches and 14th century mansions, the bewildering side-streets of Old Riga are lined with failed bars and shuttered clubs. Every week, bars are bought, sold, and shut down by the police, only to reappear soon after with a new name and logo. This harsh environment, coupled with Riga’s legacy as a sex capital of Europe, leads establishment owners to employ young Latvian women with the job of bringing foreign men in off the street and giving them an expensive fantasy for the night.…   [continue reading]

Caedmon: Creating Creativity (Maurizio Fusillo Interview)

This article ties in to a podcast I recorded with Maurizio Fusillo, the creator of Caedmon, available here.

At Secret Cave, we’ve always had an obsession with the output of artificial intelligence. Across a variety of fascinating bots and other projects, it’s been shown that their artwork is more than worthy of scrutiny. Since the birth of the internet, and the entropic prevalence of technology over the past century, the capabilities of such bots has improved at a vast rate. It’s allowed certain older ideas, about the creation of art without emotion, to be explored in the depth they deserve.…   [continue reading]

A Fake Western Halloween in Eastern Europe

With the unavoidable approach of Halloween, a holiday where people dress in costumes from the ridiculous and apparently sexy to the outright offensive, I found myself wondering about the media pressure in Latvia that transformed this holiday from a pagan ritual to the entirely commercialized bullshit celebration that it is now.

It’s no secret that Latvia as a country is behind in its adoption of Western traditions due to the iron curtain and Soviet oppression (which I refuse to elaborate on because there’s a future SCP3 episode where I relentlessly go on about it) but, as a country that desperately wants to fit in, we take over traditions we don’t fully understand just to match America; our new big brother.…   [continue reading]