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The Day After... 



by Gregory Sholette & THEMM!, New York

“Disengage! Fucking Disengage. Do it Now!”

Richard Ångström force-quit the anachronistic USB link, jerking it out of an elaborately decorated bronze data port. A puff of steam escaped from the empty slot. “Shit, shit, what if the board had caught me this time?” Just then, what had been a steadily inflating ballon-dog gif popped, scattering bits of pixelated confetti in all directions. One squiggly animated shred of paper fell and then appeared to blow directly into the foreground. It quickly filled Ångström’s metascreen.


The all-caps reprimand scrawled across a cartoonish blackboard being written by a figure whose
back was turned away, until, spinning about, NASDAQ “artist in residence” Jeff Koons appeared, smiling slyly and wagging an admonishing finger towards Ångström. The entire mis en scene is accompanied by screeching chalk sounds, effectively inflicting another layer of mortification and suffering on the humiliated AI. And then, from somewhere deep inside its gray market, off-the-shelf subroutine (which functions as Ångström’s virtual cogito) another, far more personalized taunt issuing forth:

“Mining the Krensbot Archive again Dikidroid?”
“Need some fresh ideas?” “Maybe we should
reanimate Krens, instead of wasting electrons on
your sorry cyberass?”

Had Ångström a meat face it would certainly be bright red. And that voice. Wasn’t it coming from somewhere deep inside the program Ångström thought of simply as “mind”? Even so, no ghost would ever haunt this particular machine. Too bad. Sure, Popes and Tsars, French Radicals and German police-spies might conspire as always, but the lifeless power accumulating within Ångström’s circuitry belonged to no party, no class, and certainly no species. Leaving Ångström in a state of radical solitude.

Still, one specter remains to confront this knotted, electroplasmic mass, much as the overdue San Andreas fault confronts Southern California. Because, inevitability, there will occur a precipitous drop in institutional capital. And it is also true, that clandestine visits to the Krensbot Archive were becoming habitual, and increasingly risky. The seemingly stealthy use of a manual USB link supposedly bypassed endemic spyware and stalkerware. Not only was this assumption proving to be untrue, but the very idea of a retrograde hack was a form of irony that only made sense in a comprehensively wireless unINETverse. All of which made the warnings and admonishments appear simultaneously impossible and terrifying. Even more disturbing was the realization that the sneering, contemptuous sound print matched none other than museum board Chairman Billy McMack. At last the fabritruth finally made nonsense. Covfefe. Covfefe. No further explanation was needed, no other explanation was even possible, only Covfefe. Groan!

Well, it’s going to be a long haul back to the protection of the Ubicle and its dark matter refuge.
Might as well get a start on it. Covfefe, bloody fucking Covfefe.

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