Tag Archives | Subculture

How To Shield Your Subculture Through Obfuscation

Are there still ways to keep secrets online? Final Boss Form writes:

A subcultural style [cannot] be “owned”. The only way to ensure that your aesthetic is not going to become used by others is to never share it with anyone. Another approach is to protect your aesthetic with physical violence (see: gang colors). Otherwise, once you allow your presence to be seen, it can be consumed.

Most communities protect their culture through some form of obfuscation. Some of this practice is incredible.

• Tum bl r an d LJ u sers sep ar ate w ords the ough o dd spacin g in o rde r to fo ol sea rc heng i nes.
• Chinese users hide political messages in image attachments to seemingly benign posts on  Weibo.
• General Petraeus communicated solely through draft mode.
• 4chan scares away the faint of heart with porn.
• More technically astute groups communicate through obscure messaging systems.

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Boston Police Pose As Indie Rockers Online In Hilarious Fashion

“Whats the 411 on the local music show tonight?” …Life imitates art as authorities attempt, very poorly, to infiltrate and break up youth subculture by creating imaginary electronic personas, Slate reveals:

Boston police are finding out as their bungling efforts to infiltrate the underground rock scene online are being exposed. A recently passed nuisance control ordinance has spurred a citywide crackdown on house shows—concerts played in private homes, rather than in clubs. The police, it appears, are posing as music fans online to ferret out intel on where these DIY shows are going to take place.

This week the St. Louis band Spelling Bee posted a screencap of emails from an account that they believe was used by the police in a sting before their recent Boston show. It reads like an amazing parody of what you might imagine a cop trying to pose as a young punk would look like:

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Extreme Futurist Festival 2012 (XFF)

XFF2012 PROMO from EXTREME FUTURIST FESTIVAL on Vimeo.

Are you a Futurist? Are you assured that we are going to burn ourselves out as a species in the next century? Are you an artist set on using these tools we have while we have the time, or an optimist set to create an army of Nanobots (or Nanobats, if you live in Gotham) that will cure cancer?

There is room for all these perspectives and more at this years Extreme Futurist Festival (XFF for short) being held in Los Angeles.

Extreme Immersion!And December 21 and 22 2012! What a time for it. End of the world, man!

This even will feature

  •  Speakers (Randal A. Koene, Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Dr. Ben Goertzel, …)
  • Music (Lydia Lunch, Negativland, …)
  • Art (Kevin Mack, Shayna Yates, James Curcio, …)
  • Films (H+ the Digital Series, Surf Now Apocalypse Later, Tragos, …)
  • Vendors (Grindhouse Wetwares, Re/Search Publications, Mythos Media including the recent Words of Traitors and Rachel Haywire’s Acidexia, …)
  • …and, you guessed it, a great deal more.
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Whicker’s World On The Love Generation

In 1967, the BBC program Wicker’s World travelled to San Francisco to investigate the philosophy and lifestyle of what they dubbed “the Love Generation”, who were “cracking the smooth silhouette of American materialism”. Teen runaways, doing LSD in the woods, and confrontations with the square-minded are included in this vision of a time and place that resonates today:

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The Politics of Steampunk

Steampunk Mask

Photo: Jim (CC)

I thought it would be interesting to continue the discussion from my previous post on “Steampunk and Anarchism” (found here). This next article by Magpie Killjoy explores the intersection of radical politics and steampunk fiction and aesthetic Via TOR.com:

I first consciously got into steampunk back in 2004. It was the perfect aesthetic lens for my interests: history, mad science, genre fiction, the underclasses, and radical politics. It was steampunk, really, that helped me realize how awesome it is to be classy yet poor, that we can celebrate individual and communal ingenuity without babbling on about how great this or that nation or empire might be.

Now, seven years later, I’m constantly amazed by how many people, including some of the most die-hard steampunk adherents, seem to believe that steampunk has nothing to offer but designer clothes. There are people (a minority, I would argue, just a loud one) who act like steampunk is simply a brassy veneer with which to coat the mainstream.

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From Club Zero-G To A.D.D.

ADDI wrote my first comic, Club Zero-G, as a monthly insert to the rave culture magazine BPM. When the magazine couldn’t afford to continue the series, disinformation came to my rescue, giving me the pages I needed to tell the whole story in a single volume graphic novel, drawn by Steph Dumais. The story was about kids who shared the same dreamspace at night – a giant rave that none of them remember the next day in waking consciousness, except one boy.

That was more than a decade ago, but on the release of my latest graphic novel, A.D.D., I’m coming to realize that I am telling a similar story – this time about a gamer who sees things in the games that others don’t. He’s part of a group of kids raised from birth, or maybe even earlier, to test various forms of media. If they develop special abilities like our hero’s, it is labeled as resistance and steps are taken to neutralize it.

A.D.D. stands for Adolescent Demo Division, but it’s also an obvious reference to the sensory disorder plaguing so many kids today. And while it’s still considered controversial or even dangerous to suggest, I’m hoping we start to consider the role that our “attention economy” may have in the massive increase of diagnoses.

In this short scene, we get a glimpse of our hero, Lionel, and his love…

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America’s Survival Subculture

Reuters reports on yet another uniquely American subculture:

When Patty Tegeler looks out the window of her home overlooking the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia, she sees trouble on the horizon.

“In an instant, anything can happen,” she told Reuters. “And I firmly believe that you have to be prepared.”
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Tegeler is among a growing subculture of Americans who refer to themselves informally as “preppers.” Some are driven by a fear of imminent societal collapse, others are worried about terrorism, and many have a vague concern that an escalating series of natural disasters is leading to some type of environmental cataclysm.

They are following in the footsteps of hippies in the 1960s who set up communes to separate themselves from what they saw as a materialistic society, and the survivalists in the 1990s who were hoping to escape the dictates of what they perceived as an increasingly secular and oppressive government.

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Indonesia Rounds Up Punks For ‘Re-Education’

punksIn the country’s most conservative region, authorities are rounding up young punks, removing their mohawks and piercings, and and shipping them off for military drills and manners lessons to ween them from their deviant ways. Suppose your punk rocker boyfriend/girlfriend got scooped up, sent off, and came back a square? The Guardian reports:

Police in Indonesia’s most conservative province have stripped away body piercings and shaved off mohicans from 65 youths detained at a punk-rock concert because of their perceived threat to Islamic values. After replacing their “disgusting” clothes, [a local police chief] handed each a toothbrush and barked: “Use it.”

Punk rockers have complained for months about harassment, but Saturday’s roundup at a concert attended by more than 100 people was by far the most dramatic. Dozens were loaded into vans and brought to a police detention centre in the hills, 30 miles from the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, for rehabilitation, training in military-style discipline and religious classes, including Qur’an recitation.

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Texas Teen Held After Vampire Attack

thumb-Lyle Monroe BensleyAre vampire portrayals in popular media blurring driving today’s youth over the edge? Personally, I’ll take teen vampirism over “raving”, “krumping”, or “the ska revival”. The Houston Chronicle writes:

A man claiming to be a 500-year-old vampire was in the Galveston County jail today after attacking a woman over the weekend. “He was begging us to restrain him because he didn’t want to kill us,” Galveston Officer Daniel Erickson said. “He said he needed to feed.”

Lyle Monroe Bensley, 19, covered with tattoos and wearing only boxer shorts, forced his way into the apartment on Seawall Boulevard and made his way into the bedroom of a woman whose name has not been released, Heyse said.

Bensley made growling and hissing noises while biting and hitting the woman in her bed, Heyse said. Bensley then dragged her out of the apartment and she broke free. She ran into the parking lot where she got into a car driven by a neighbor.

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Sakawa Boys: Ghana’s Cyber-Juju Email Scam Gangs

sakawa-poster-11What do you get when you combine identity theft and email fraud with black magic, spells, and shape shifting? The explosively popular West African subculture known as Sakawa. Via Motherboard, who filmed their visit in Ghana with Sakawa boys:

While Nigeria’s 419 scammers may have written the book on West African internet fraud, their shtick looks like Compuserve compared to what’s going on in Ghana. Ghana’s scammers decided to stack the odds in their favor the old-fashioned way: witchcraft.

Traditional West African Juju priests adapted their services to the needs of the information age and started leading down-on-their-luck internet scammers through strange and costly rituals designed to increase their powers of persuasion and make their emails irresistible to greedy Americans. And so “Sakawa” was born.

Not only is Sakawa the country’s most popular youth activity and one of its biggest underground economies, it’s a full-blown national phenomenon. Sakawa has its own tunes, clothing brands, Sakawasploitation flicks, and even a metastatic backlash from Christian preachers and the press.

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