Strange Photos and Stranger Stories from the Depths of the Internet
A writer and artist continue their combing of the oddest parts of the web for nuggets of gold.
Welcome back to Accidental Internet, a column where artist Eric Oglander and writer Gideon Jacobs bring us unintentionally "artful" images and unintentionally "poetic" text that they've found while exploring the deep, dark recesses of the web.
Gideon Jacbos: Hi, Eric.
Eric Oglander: Hi, Gideon.
Gideon: So, for this installment, wanted to investigate why we're so attracted to photography and writing that is, in some traditional sense, really bad. With a few exceptions, most of the images you find compelling are "poorly composed," and most of the text I find compelling is "poorly written." What do we make of that?
Eric: I'm not really attracted to art that is "good" because of the artist's technical prowess. That might be because, at this point, it's just too easy to buy good equipment and make a really aesthetically sound portrait of someone or capture a beautiful landscape. I think we're kind of saturated with well-crafted photography and well-crafted writing, so sometimes the stuff that's really good but lacks craftsmanship is actually the most interesting, refreshing, and powerful.
Gideon: Totally. I kind of think that some of the best craftsmen are masters of hiding their craftsmanship.
Eric: That makes me think of someone like Basquiat.
Gideon: Well, there's something in human nature that makes us kind of repelled by anything that feels too polished, or maybe the better word is, too careful. Nothing is more lame than "trying too hard." I think when art is good without trying to be good, or without trying to be art at all, we can enjoy it without feeling like we're being manipulated by the artist. We can let our guard down a little.
Eric: When I like an image on Craigslist, it's not the result of someone successfully creating an image that they want me to like. The stuff we're collecting for this project might not be super interesting—it's totally possible that nobody reading this thinks the photos and text below is interesting—but if there is beauty in any of this found content, it's certainly enhanced by the fact that this beauty occurred by chance.
Gideon: Then the question becomes, who is responsible for this beauty? Who is culpable? The person who created the content? The two dudes who found it and published it? God?
Below are images and text from the second installment of Accidental Internet:
"Is there anyone who isnt fake now days? even my wife and bestfriend of 7 yrs put a no contact order on me, (all i wanted was to see my boy) well anyways u wanna be friends? i have kinda fucked up life. My truck was stolen and still not found! i love road trips and just getting in car and saying fuck it were going on road trip, i like to drink, i have 2 daughters and 1 son! well hmu..." (Craigslist)
"I was once a cucumber. A greasy, smelly overweight mammy with fake hair purchased me with your tax dollars. It took me to its nest where I laid on a broken and worn couch. Then undersized and overly flashy pants smothered me. Do you know what happened to me, do you? Do you think I turned into a pickle? That would be funny right? Shame on you for laughing. I got AIDS and was beaten to death. Avoid the griod." (Craigslist)
"there is something I want to ask you. Since I was a little kid, I've always been... friends with a spirit. I first encountered it when I went to visit some ruins in Kroton: it was standing besides the column and nobody could see it but me; when my teacher (it was a school trip) left us free to roam the area I approached it and started talking to it: since then it's been visiting me from time to time. It's not a ghost, more like an entity, and according to what it always told me it was around since before the Greeks colonized our land (I'm from Southern Italy). It won't (can't?) explain me its exact nature, purpose (assuming it has any?) or origin in detail, but it's pretty chill when it shows up...tell me what you think. My problem is: should I try to exploit the fact I have such a powerful being helping me out or should I just 'enjoy the ride' and try not to think about it in materialistic terms? It never gave any demonstration of force or violence but I always assumed it could fuck shit up if it wanted to." (4Chan)
"This new guy started work last week, his name's Geoff and he's OK, I guess, but he's always kinda dirty and he smells fucking terrible. I complained to my boss (and that's kind of a feat, I mean, deli / butcher shops never smell really lovely, but I grew up around this stuff since my dad was a hunter) and he kinda gave me this weak shrug and said the kid was a good worker and a quick study. We just lost this kid named Tom to college.I dunno, over the last few days I've caught him doing some pretty creepy shit. This hunter had come in with three deer carcasses he wanted processed into venison and some jerky and they were pretty, uh, fresh. I swear, right hand on the bible, left hand on my mom's tits that this kid was eating parts of the dead deer while stripping it. He always wears long sleeves too, even though it's the summer. He doesn't EVER talk. I try to ignore it since I can just stay up front at the counter. Oh, one time my mom said a ghost felt her up in the shower, too." (4Chan)
"Sometimes my parents and siblings are there and sometimes I'm alone. Although the house feels tiny it seems like I keep finding new rooms and mention to someone that there are so many rooms someone can get lost. Now comes the weird part. There's a part of the house that has two rooms adjacent to each other. One room is really dirty and the other one is really bright and clean but cold. The dirty room has some sort of monsters inside and the word demon comes into my head. The cole room has aliens (lol). I don't know if I knew this before or I just discovered it, but somehow this discovery doest not surprise me. Before I woke up, I saw that my current roommate was visiting and I showed him these two rooms. Some other bits that I remember are that house is near a beach because I go out and watch the sunset. There are cats in my house (lots of kittens) which isn't surprising since I love cats. This is my first post on this board lol." (4Chan)
"I want my own place. I hurt for it... And I SWORE I'd never want kids and here I am telling my boyfriend weekly that in like 5 years I want twin girls. I WANT THEM. He never said no... His mom is super religious and I respect that. She's brought faith into me and I pray a lot. But I won't be going to church. It's my day off and as much as I love you, God, I want to sleep in. She used to refuse to let us share a bed. She finally got off that whole deal about 7 months ago. Well, gotta get back to work for my last 30 minutes. Hope y'all enjoyed." (Reddit)
Gideon Jacobs is a writer and artist based in New York City. You can follow his work here.
Eric Oglander is an artist based in New York City and the king of Craigslist Mirrors.