I've been following the visual artist Lordess Foudre on Instagram for a few years now. Her retro futuristic work takes a kind of vaporwave-cyberpunk approach to examining and deconstructing social media and digital identity, with ironic sloganeering masked as inspirational quotations. Here's a taste:
Now, Foudre has taken this aesthetic to the next level with a serialized story called 404ever. Each monthly installment includes new artwork by Foudre and Hitrisisters, interspersed throughout the ongoing cyber-noir prose story of a "dialpunk" named Echo Lunaris as she navigates her way through the g00glag. Here's the official synopsis:
Welcome to the Public Access Zone. Some users call it The Paz, the Lower Levels, or simply the slums. The more cynical among us have started calling it The g00glag. But the one thing no one ever wants to call it, is home. A sprawling patchwork of angular frames, jagged edges, broken images. A strobing, 2 frame loop of pain and pleasure, a city eternally under construction yet going nowhere. Everything you could want inside windows too high to reach, glowing above a jet-black background of misery. In this corrupted network, millions of lost users spend their sad lives following beautiful streams of low-res advertisement gifs; scrolling down dead linkways deeper into hell…
404EVER is a cyber-noir story that chronicles the chaotic life of the user known as Echo Lunaris; a typical dialpunk who's recently been downscaled to the slums of Geo-City One. The kind of low level city where appearances are filtered, connections are unstable, chat is cheap, and violence is free. And just when she's finally getting locked into the chaotic BPS of the city, an alluring and mysterious anon girl appears with a new job class offer… A gig that might be too big to save.
The first chapter is, admittedly, a little over-written. But I personally didn't mind it, because it gave me that nostalgic feeling like re-discovering the work of William Gibson or Phillip K Dick for the first time — while also embracing and skewering the inescapable ephemerality of social media and digital identity. There's a meta-level to that kind of art that I appreciate, and I'm eager to see where the story goes now that the basic setup is out of the way.
404ever [Lordess Foudre / Substack]