I imagined it as a ball of loosely coiled cables, thick, oiled up, black, suspended in an enormous dark room, tendrils of cords reaching into obscured corners and out towards every computer in the world. The force that animated this writhing brain was an unnatural green light, I might have said like lime, but then I grew up. Acid was the colour of the internet. Radioactive sludge, robot eyes, chemiluminescent. The web seemed a monstrous marriage of the grinding metal of industry electrified by a malicious, inhuman energy. Intent on what? Of course a romantic like me would conjure up a nightmare to explain the impenetrable ugliness of the webpage. I didn’t get the flattened tongue of the chat room, or the reed thin mp3s we managed to download like the techno Midnight Sonata. But I did get the animated gifs of besitality porn I saw flicker on the screen, peering from my parent’s dark staircase. This is sex. Later, the internet had new words: faster, streamlined, always on. In North Carolina there’s an enormous compound, white and right angled, a box that holds our cloud. It’s a place, but it is also every place. The air around you is heavy with a million images, on invisible cables, drawn towards a center, waiting to be seen.

pureunevil / Gabrielle Marceau is the editor of the film and video journal The Fuck of the Century