When I was a little kid one of my favorite books was The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater. The Big Orange Splot tells the story of a "neat street" where all the houses are the same and a very oppressive neighborhood committee strictly enforces the neighborhood codes to ensure that it stays that way. Suburban Hell. One day a seagull flies over the neighborhood carrying a can of bright orange paint, which it drops onto the roof of the house belonging to one Mr. Plumbean, thus creating the titular Big Orange Splot.
Soon enough the borderline fascist neighborhood committee shows up knocking on Mr. Plumbean's door demanding that he remove the splot immediately. Plumbean agrees, gets in his truck, and drives to the hardware store to buy Neighborhood Committee Approved House Paint. But this is a fakeout. He doesn't buy Neighborhood Committee Approved House Paint at all. He buys all kinds of colors and, working under moonlight, paints a psychedelic mural on the front of his house.
The neighborhood committee flips out. But does Plumbean cave? No way. He goes all over town buying stuff for his new dream house. He buys exotic plants, a hammock, even an alligator!
One by one Plumbean's neighbors come by to talk to him, threaten him, plead with him. They just want their "neat street" back. One by one Plumbean offers these neighbors a glass of lemonade and the opportunity to hang out with his alligator. He tells them that he's not going to change his house, the house that he built to look like his dreams. One by one he convinces his neighbors to return to their houses and rebuild them in the image of their own dreams.
The final pages were my favorite part (well, favorite part other than the alligator). We see the "neat street" again, but now everyone has rebuilt their house to look like their dream. There's a medieval castle, a hot air balloon, a boat.
I was born right smack in the middle of the millennial generation. This means that a big chunk of my childhood didn't involve computers. Then, suddenly, in middle school, a computer arrived in our house. A Gateway. I spent endless hours on that computer, occupying the phone line to explore that weird and widely unregulated version of Internet. I dream that someday we'll have an Internet like that again, but I don't think it will happen.
We live in an era of homogeneous design optimized for the delivery of advertisements. Google is, after all, an advertising platform, and their only commitment as a corporation is to their bottom line.
I hope you enjoy my site. This space was created with intention and it makes me happy every time I work on it. I also hope that you have a home for yourself somewhere on the internet that you love.
Of course these aren't radical ideas. There's a long history of net art and artist made websites before me. But every once in a while someone asks me why my website is the way it is. To quote Mr. Plumbean:
"I am my house, my house is me, and it looks like all my dreams."