Before getting into it, I want to express that all the ideas below are 100% mine. Entirely original. No external sources inspired any of this thought. I am the definitive sole author, and all credit should reflect that. No one before me provided any insight or shared any knowledge relating to what I’m about to share.
Ideas are entangled things. Epiphanies are not our own, but the sum of everything around us, connecting in what feels like a moment. Authors are portrayed as singular figures, when beneath the surface a complex history exists.
One of these ideas the Mirror team has been kicking around is the split; a way of not only attributing sources of inspiration and collaboration, but also directing economic value to them. This is a quick series of overlapping (and optimistic) ideas centered on the split. I’ll leave drawing the connections and the resulting epiphany up to you.
This is a quick ramble about Parametric TikTok — a pattern shaped by the recommendation algorithm where creators make viral formats and bombard them w/ variation, not unlike processes seen w/ GANs and style transfer.
My favorite instance of this is Little Durag[^1], who created a viral dance set to Metro Station[^2] (lol) and proceeded to feed it input sourced from comments.
“Dance at 10% with 100% emotion.” “0% dance, 0% emotion, 100% far away.” “100% dance and 100% sadness.” “10% emotion, 100% dance.” “100% right arm, 10% left arm.”
I’m glad to remember an internet that didn’t feel like it was trying to drain my attention all the time. Growing up in small towns and being unschooled, the net was both a portal for seeing the world and contributing to it. I talked about it briefly in my last entry—an introduction. I’ve always enjoyed building things with whatever material is around. Back then it was a hand-me-down Compaq and dialup. I didn’t have like, hand tools to build a treehouse, but a machine with a connection. Not really decision making—“I want to make sites!”—more environmental.
So it was disappointing to watch this thing I was so into become more and more adversarial over time. During my teens seeing big tech displace big oil felt pretty Virilio-ish. The story is familiar, yeah? Not a unique experience; it’s broadly personal.
As someone compelled to build, this creates a lot of tension. Honestly, the difficulty in reasoning about compromise is paralyzing at times. Over the past few years it felt like building meant deciding to contribute to the mess, however indirectly.
I’m excited to have joined up with Graeme and Denis to create Mirror, where I’m responsible for all things design, interface, interaction, front-end, and all that. With this being my first entry on Mirror I figure it can serve as an introduction to help provide context for future entries. What follows are a few personal anecdotes and speculation on things like cultural protocols, social(ish) interfaces, absolutely devouring fresh pizza in the mountains and possibilities for sustaining creative practices. Elaborations on prior work and thinking to set up both why Mirror and what might it be?
With some patience, and since everything connects, let’s go into the weeds (a little.) I’m not suggesting any of it’s interesting, or to imply singular solutions to complex issues, but as a form of personal sense-making for myself and those who care enough (or just have the time) to continue reading.
This will be a small series, and this is part one ✌️