The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
Like so many people at the moment, I feel like I’ve cycled through the entire gamut of human emotion while witnessing recent events around the world. There is a lot to process right now.
Although there continues to be issues relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement has taken centre stage. Perhaps rightly so, as the issues it raises have been around a lot longer.
Because I think it’s important to be vocal about this issue, I want to share how recent events have impacted my own activism and personal ethics.
It’s funny, because I think every single previous iteration of the Army of Cats site has had a blog so it’s not really anything new. I’ve always had a space to write, to document process, or to share other folks’ work or just ideas I like.
Even before I created artwork for a living, I had a LiveJournal which I updated for years. It was really quite formative and allowed me to make an arse of myself trying out different artistic voices as well as making random online friends. Thankfully, in a rare moment of wisdom, long ago, when my lj days came to a natural end I deleted the account – after saving all my years of juvenile ramblings in a secret PDF file…
After that came a Blogger page, then a short-lived run with a thing called Posterous, before finally settling on good old WordPress, a platform I’ve really grown to like and – a rarity these days – actually trust.
For the past few years I’ve been content to use the various social media platforms to post day-to-day content and, while my ‘engagement’ isn’t bad, I’m just finding it more and more draining. Twitter in particular feels like a place you have to wade into rather than a nice, open space of creativity and discourse.
I’m tired of the adverts, tired of feeling like I’m battling algorithms, tired of constantly having to re-select ‘show latest posts’, and tired of spaces that essentially just aren’t mine.
“Maybe I’m weird, but it just feels good. It feels good to reclaim my turf. It feels good to have a spot to think out loud in public where people aren’t spitting and shitting all over the place.”
Perhaps you feel similarly?
I’ve actually found myself really enjoying visiting other people’s blogs again. There’s a cosiness and an informality to people’s own spaces, particularly when they’re documenting some slightly weird, niche interest.
Model-maker’s blogs, record collector’s blogs, or blogs where someone is just scanning in old punk zines and flyers. I love stuff like that! It’s a reminder that the web as a platform was built by individuals, not just massive corporations (I remember when the Google search page had a ‘Blog’ button, showing you results only from blogs…).
So, here we are, a quieter, clearer space for me to document work and ideas.
I will, of course, still be posting in the usual places but I’ll be putting the real effort in here and linking back to it when I can.
Thanks for reading and see you next time.
Writing, design process, and other bits and bobs from graphic artist Graham Pilling.