The Tumblr Project
If you’re here, there’s a very good chance that you came here from Tumblr, which is cool. Hi! *cue enthusiastic waving* If not, I feel I should at least explain this weird thing that’s made me kinda Tumblr famous…
I never set out to start an aesthetic blog, for as much as I’ve been curating one for the past half decade and counting. This whole thing started with the idea to start collecting images from around tumblr that sparked ideas for various writing projects without cluttering up my hard drives. It shouldn’t have been so surprising that not long after starting this habit, a cohesive, if eccentric, aesthetic began to emerge. There are a few well worn grooves in my mind when it comes to my artistic vision, I guess.
That vision has expanded and refined over the years, and curating o-blivia has become a project in its own right — independent of anything I’m writing even if it’s still a well for inspiration. And in this respect, o-blivia is meant to be more than an aesthetic, though it is that. Through imagery alone, I’ve been carving out something of a cyberpunk future. With that ever in the back of my mind when I sit down to tackle my queue for the day, a loose set of internal guidelines has developed for what does and doesn’t get posted. Figured it was time I expanded on them a bit, maybe involve you all in the process.
Firstly, the world is a complex, multifaceted place and I’ve always wanted o-blivia to reflect that in ways most cyberpunk works can’t while telling a specific narrative. That’s why it probably seems like I jump around a lot. Eclectic is a word for it, but it’s more the idea of presenting a rounded vision. In someways, this is my answer to where or how ordinary people are supposed to exist in the Cyberpunk Future(tm). Mainly, right mixed in with the mercs, cyborgs and basement hackers. Everybody’s gotta live somewhere.
Secondly, representation. Representation is achingly important. I’d hardly be the first to accuse the visual media in this genre of being whitewashed (blade runner, I’m looking at you,) nor to point out the absurdity of a globalized future lacking in diversity, and I’m not going to claim to be the first to refuse to perpetuate the tendency, either. It certainly wouldn’t reflect the world I live it. They call my country a cultural mosaic and my city a melting pot, so I’ve set myself the task of creating an equally rich fictional world — because we are the better for all our differing perspectives.
The thing about representation is it doesn’t mean shit if it isn’t done respectfully. It isn’t as though marginalized groups have been completely absent from media for the last century. The context in which they’ve been represented has been racist, demeaning and beyond disrespectful in much the same ways they’ve been treated in real life. Society is changing, and — albeit at a glacial pace — coming around to the idea that white people and their stories are not the universal default. For the longest time, there was next to no diversity in the cyberpunk tags on Tumblr. It’s gotten better, but I still feel that I have to put that extra bit of effort into finding and including images representing diverse groups in respectful, empowering and humanizing ways.
On the subject of representation and respect, I have to talk about my biggest peeve when it comes to cyberpunk Tumblr: the way women are portrayed, or the goddamned tactical bikini. Cyberpunk has a litany BAMF women characters, yet the art has remained firmly entrenched in trends that originated in the 80’s. The tendency is to have these big hulking male power fantasies decked head to toe in body armour and leather, while their female counterparts take up literally half the space, showing up to combat in daisy dukes and a bikini top wielding a big fuck-off gun like that’s how any sane person would show up to a gunfight.
There is nothing inherently shameful about the female body, I want to make that painfully and abundantly clear. My issue is not with how much skin is showing. No, my issue is that these images are meant to specifically portray women as sex object. The only conclusion you can come to is that these women have put appealing to the male gaze above bodily safety, which is beyond insane. So my rule when it comes to women with guns is that if she’s dressed in a way that is realistic, or that I could easily find a man similarly dressed, I will post it. If she’s dressed for a day at the beach instead of heavy combat, that shit is not getting anywhere near my blog.
That said, context is very important. So yes, I will post images of more provocatively dressed women if the context is right. Mainly, if she isn’t about to go into combat and the image is empowered. There is the odd exception, namely Tank Girl, who wields her sexuality like a weapon and pushes limit of provocative into the realm of raunchy with the intent to offend and scandalize. (She’s my hero.)
And above all else, on this blog, women are the default and not the other way around. So you will see at least as many, if not more women than men here. No, I don’t feel bad about it.
Other than that, it’s pretty much anything goes. I’m an open minded person with varied interests — technology, fashion, abstract art, architecture, sea creatures, space, design, weird creepy things and street art, are just a few regularly occurring themes. Who knows what will spark my interest tomorrow.