Web Safe 2k16 is a literary/graphic project exploring our memories of the pre-broadband Internet and related technologies. The project uses Lynda Weinman’s Web Safe color palette as a field of reference constraining a large and heterogeneous archive of personal recollections: 216 authors write 216 words each, inspired by a specific color in the web safe range. Beginning 2/16/16, one piece is published daily.
Authors have been asked to consider a historical span of roughly 20 years, starting with the widespread availability of VGA monitors and modems in the early ‘80s, through O’Reilly Media’s Web 2.0 Conference (2004). As aides to memory, authors were provided with a set of links to Wikis on applications and services such as AIM, Livejournal, ACiD Draw, Geocities, Compuserve, PWA, Future Crew, Gopher, Prodigy, Demoscene and so on. Beyond those initial prompts, writers have been free to explore their associations in any direction they please. Authors may use their real name or handles, and, after a 24-hour period of exclusivity starting at the time of publishing, are free to do whatever they like with the works.
Web Safe 2k16 was built by three artists with strong interests in screens: the project’s conceptual architect is Ben Sisto, its editor is Josephine Livingstone, and its developer is Joe Bernardi.
About Ben, Josephine, and Joe:
Ben Sisto signed on to RI-based BBS The Eagle’s Nest in ‘94. He learned PCBoard to share ASCII art and DOOM .wads with his friend Derek. His first online purchase, via Prodigy, was a two-hooded Charlotte Hornets hoodie. He traded live Pearl Jam CDs under the username PJMEGAFAN and, around ‘95 asked strangers on AOL to go into their yards, dig up soil, and mail it to him. About 25 people did. He also works at Ace Hotel.
Josephine Livingstone is a writer and academic. She researches the history of space and nations in medieval poetry and maps, and explores digital approaches to undergraduate pedagogy in her teaching. This work in the field of deep time and imaginary space is the logical outcome of a teenhood spent online, posting and talking with anonymous adult males in other countries, finding strange moments of common ground through internet visual exchange. For her internet culture is—or, perhaps, was— about rummaging through whatever shared index of imagery can bring strangers together into conversation, friendship, even love. She also reviews books and works at n+1.
Almost twenty years ago, Joe Bernardi joined the Sockheads, a listserv/fan club geared towards the late-night MTV show Sifl & Olly. Since then, he’s been consumed by the internet’s ability to bring broadly likeminded people together over things as specific as a cult television show about sock puppets. At fourteen he purchased his first domain name, fullyclothedteens.net, through which he met people IRL and accomplished quintessentially teenage things like shoplifting a copy of Naked Lunch, the The Wizard of Oz with Dark Side of the Moon accompaniment, and getting stood up entirely. He also works at Paddle8.