Better than IRL: “Finding your people on the internet of the mid-2000s.”


Having small children is an incredible experience, it can take in your whole world. Years fly by and you can be so very focused on our family and work that, unfortunately, you can lose track of a lot of friends, and your social life pretty much disappears.

When we got to put our heads above ground again in the mid-2000s, I found Tumblr (via Sussanah Breslin) and it really helped me to put my cultural self back together. Sharing work, art and ideas, meeting so many amazing people, (and I didn’t even need to go outside!) it really was an incredibly important time for me and I am very grateful to all of those who made that happen. I suppose the GDSP project was one of the many high points of that.

I left Tumblr behind when they brought in the censorship rules in because it seemed it was leaving the people who made it cool and essential behind, but I have been working hard on keeping my internet positive and fulfilling in that tradition.
It is the history of this spirit and time that Katie West, photographer, writer and publisher is documenting in her new book project “Better than IRL” currently open to pre orders on Kickstarter.

“Better Than IRL is a collection of true stories about the years when the internet first started gaining traction as a place to build connections and community. With 20 essays written by pioneers and participants from online communities, this paperback (or digital book!) looks at how this specific time on the internet changed us, and how we can take the elements that made it so much better than IRL with us into the future.”

“The book will be personal and hopeful. It won’t be nostalgic moaning about how the internet isn’t what it once was—it will discuss how it made us into who we are now and how we can take the lessons we learned about inclusion and belonging to be better people going forward. With talented authors from Canada, South Africa, Pakistan, USA, Singapore, UK, and Liberia, the book covers a wide array of experiences with the beginnings of the Web 2.0.”

Katie began a chat group on Instagram upon the launch of the Kickstarter, last week, and invited many of us who found each other then and it has really brought back many special memories and friendships.

I really hope the book gets funded, I urge you to consider backing the project, and sharing with anyone else you know who might be interested. The money doesn’t go out of you account until the project is fully funded, if that helps.

The Guest Directed Self Portrait Exhibition at the Experiment Comedy Gallery, Brooklyn March 8th 2016


Dear People of New York, I have some work in this show taking place on Tuesday March 8th, 8pm @theexcomedy – 20 Broadway in Brooklyn.
I am unable to attend myself due to a very large body of water being in the way, but if you can manage to attend I can guarantee there’s some awesome work to see and excellent people to meet. 👌
(get there for 5:30 to also see Mic Against Humanity)


see also”

“GDSP 10 – Directed by electronicalrattlebag “

reblogging of-saudade:

“GDSP 10 – Directed by electronicalrattlebag

Take a picture of yourself with an important thing.

You could tell us what the thing is, and why it is important to you.

You could tell us how it smells, feels, tastes, sounds, if these are applicable.”

“I found this quite hard because I couldn’t decide what ‘important’ meant to me. I attach strange sentimentality to all things; objects, songs, films, places. This is the Tea House.

“The Tea House has been with me for over 20 years. It’s a tin that came filled with cheap English toffees that I got for Christmas when I was six years old. I don’t remember who gave it to me, probably one of my distant aunts. After the toffees were eaten, my mother used it to hold herbal tea bags; peppermint to sooth my frequent stomachaches, chamomile to help me sleep, some awful lemon concoction that she made me drink when I had glandular fever for most of the year I was thirteen.

“I didn’t think to take it with me when I ran away from home, but a few weeks later it arrived in the garbage bag of remaining belongings that my mother unceremoniously dumped at the front door whilst I was still at school, a few stray bags of tea fluttering inside. For a while I kept money in it, then cigarettes, drugs, things to spite my mother, but it just felt wrong, and it became the Tea House again.

“The Tea House is ‘important’ because it is a tiny pocket of warmth, care and affection from my childhood. It smells like Earl Grey, is cold to the touch, clangs like a broken bell when you drop it, and its contents taste delicious.”

You all know about GDSP, right?

I set number 10, you can see the other submissions (also amazing, insightful, beautiful) for that prompt here.


Drawing of GDSP10 by MortalCompass

I gave the prompt for the Guest Directed Self Portrait number 10.

I took it upon myself to draw the results.

This is my drawing of MortalCompass’ contribution.


see also:

Guest Directed Self Portrait #21

This is my contribution to Guest Directed Self Portrait #21 as directed by SexArtAndPolitics.

“Take a picture of your face. The camera should be straight on but slight deviation is acceptable. You can’t put your hand in the frame or use a prop. Be as done up or plain as you like. Use whatever expression you like. But the only things in the shot can be your head and some neck.”

(That’s really the best I could manage.)

Guest-Directed Self-Portrait #8

Guest Directed Self Portrait 8 directed by TheIvoryTowerCrumbles.

“Pick a word, any word. It can be your favorite word or the name of an old lover or a country you’ve left behind. It can be a four-letter word. It’s your word. Write it on your body with marker or lipstick, breathe on the mirror and draw it in the steam, or make it with block letters you happen to have laying around the house. It doesn’t matter how you create your word, it just has to be in the picture.”

My word is “creature”.

Drawing of Molly Peck’s submission for GDSP10

I gave the prompt for the Guest Directed Self Portrait number 10.

I took it upon myself to draw the results.

This is my drawing of Molly Peck’s contribution.

see also: