“Netmares” was like a surfing club but focused on the more mystical and darker side of the net. Though not, like the dark web – more like if you were a 15 year old goth and collecting images, but in a good way.
Trashed in deep time the Silk Road or Silk Route played host to an eclectic composition of travellers, merchants, pilgrims, monks, soldiers, libertarians, nomads, crypto-anarchists and urban dwellers. It’s path ground the earth below it’s feet for centuries before its inevitable decay in the face of collapsing empires; accelerated by the integration of territorial states, the onset of mercantilism and trade’s recession into the high seas.
Whilst it’s spirit lay dormant for centuries, the emergence of new and grotesque faultlines in the empires and civilisations that had arisen in its wake signalled the possibility of a revival. As the regulatory frameworks of the Nation States began to crumble and buckle in the opening decade of the 21st century under the pressure of new routing possibilities and the ideology of frontier networks.
The Silk Road resurfaced from it’s slumber in 2011 as a borderless territory, operating from within and between empires. Acting in ode to the moment in which the speed of light had not only transformed the world but had become the world.
Stewarded at the discretion of the Dread Pirate Roberts the Silk Road’s first attempts at reincarnation suffered a premature death after 2 years, due in part to a centralised engineering error made on the part of DRP’s living avatar Ross William Ulbricht, who was arrested and jailed for life in 2015.
Seemingly smashed and displaced by the cathedral the Silk Road resolved this initial conflict and the prospect of continual persecution through the embodiment of a hydralike form that submerged itself in the deep web.
Sometimes individuals can take actions that have ramifications for others, and perhaps more acutely impact the direction of future thought, if only in relation to their absence.
I remember the first time I chanced across the spirit surfers manifesto, its tacit references to an almost forgotten place free from e-commerce and capable of sketching a now alien process of deep searches without roads or highways. Even then though it reeked of an acceptable nostalgia for that short period in which some of us as teens were locked in our bedrooms staring into the screen, lost in the desert.
Invoking Hieronymus Bosch and Joseph Cornell with a richness and deeper set of thoughts, there’s a sense that what has followed years after could have perhaps been averted, were it not for Bewersdorf’s decisive erasure of his own material history.