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human, future

Fragments from a Neo-Master Memory Palace

Dongguan, China

0002078 CE

Neo-Master Memory palaces were folk memorials made in the post-internet Age to commemorate communities lost in the destruction of all digital platforms. Their makers were predominantly Chinese nostalgia cults, established to revive the group identities of important online ‘landscapes’ forged in the pre-apocalypse transition from analogue to digital lifeways. 

IMoB 33114.

Minory/ subculture people hybrid, present

Portraits of the Smarts


c. early 22nd century

The name Master relates to a person who has great skill or proficiency; a term of respect for an elite, influential artist who creates masterpieces; an owner, lord, or people who have gained control over a particular situation, and who usually have people working for them, such as slaves; a man in charge of an organization or group. There is also a phrase 'future master' , which is used to describe children in socialist countries, which also has resonance with my phrase. The idea of being the '57th minority' in a culture with 56 acknowledged monorities refers to a mastery that once belonged to the Smart. 'Be your own master' is the desire of young migrants in urban and rural areas, both online and in reality. 

This object used GAN technology to deep learn thousands of Chinese ethnic minority portraits and photos of Smart selfie from the internet, to generate a group portrait as avatars of Neo-mastr. By collecting typical images and videos of Smart – an internet subculture in China on online platforms, it transforms virtual space into a 'memory palace' for the archaeological history of the Smart people through the digging of the remains of smart people on the Internet. Here is a place for Chinese netizens from the 2000s to get nostalgic about their unique subculture: Smart (Sha-ma-te 杀马特). Smarts are post internet folk art forces that has risen along with the popularity of the Internet in urban and rural areas. There is a lot of global influence in them – punk and goth from the West and Japanese visuals; Korea wave from the East. There are also some primitive tribal customs of ethnic minorities. They are the product of the paradoxical transition from agrarian tradition to urbanization, the one-child policy and the second generation of migrant workers. 

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