[ Guest post by @scearpo. ]
"Not just cyber Asiatics but future orientalism, synthesis of ancient mysticism and insect capitalism, runaway technomarket return to a new Eastern hegemon, one that, unlike the West's, remains culturally steeped in tradition, spirituality and history: the dream of Jade McDonalds." — Charlotte Fang, Six Precepts (2021)
Culture can be defined as the evolution of habits instilled by necessity. As a group or society’s conditions bear limitations on their actions, those limitations carve out the staples of behavior, consumption, and ritual which eventually grow to define their culture.
In the digital age, culture evolves at an unprecedented pace. Instead of eras or generations, entire cultures are born and forgotten within brief spans of months and weeks in the Network. The Network’s inhabitants coalesce and evolve their cultures through posting, both openly on forums and privately in groupchats.
One such groupchat’s culture created a distinct and original style of posting during the first half of 2021 on Twitter: Jade Posting, a spontaneous game of neo-orentialist live poetry.
Jade Posting began as a playful banter on naming holding corporations inspired by the ornamentation employed in Chinese company names, usually embellished with auspicious nomenclature, name’s like “Dragon Wealth Ventures, LLC” and “Great Oceans Holdings Corporation”. A back-and-forth developed in one-upping each other in increasingly elaborate, obscurant and referential naming until the format was distilled into performative soliloquy, large paragraphs extrapolating subjects of familiar discussion topics.
As longposts that began to accrue a density of callbacks and in-group references, they naturally simplified down to key words compacted into rapid fire poetic format, dropping the “LLC” "or “Holding Corporation” punchline.
Over time, the Jade Post evolved into pure self-referential poetry, often crossing into the territory of randomly improvised statements veering off into aesthetic tangent on one hand, or haiku formats on the other.
The act of Jade Posting became a game of ritualistic literary combat, spontaneously erupted into and engaged as a display of creative prowess. Eventually the conversational sparring leaked out onto the timeline where the more intuitive of the uninitiated onlookers could join in to create their own Jade Posts and further evolve the art themselves.
Its stylistic combination of adjectives, verbs, and nouns is directly inspired by Chinese nomenclature patterns. At a glance, it seems to be a collage of vaguely aesthetic words with spurious relation to one another, thrown together with little to no grammatical connection or any obvious context, but as with all things, infinite meaning hides within the innocuous details of seemingly random choices.
Jade Posters often distinguish themselves with language like Jade, Golden, Heavenly, Pure, Light, and other descriptive words which amplify positive qualities within themselves, and brings to mind Chinese naming conventions for their battles, cities, history, mythology, or even simply their consumer products, eg “Heavenly Peach Valley of Golden Ascension”, providing an aura of ostentatiousness and importance to the pieces of contemporary culture and capitalism meshed inbetween.
When you read a Jade Post you are not expected to study each word and construe the meaning of it. A Jade Post is an imitation of sensory overload. It is a white noise of pointillism which only carries comprehensible meaning when experienced all at once. Each user in the Network is a greater part of the whole, like people flooding a crosswalk in a time lapse. One million little ants crawling amongst each other in chaotic harmony.
And yet, the best Jade Posts tell a distinct story, often humorous, narrative almost hidden inside the experimental ESL-imitating elimination of grammar.
Jade Posting arises in the form of competition, a back and forth act of one-upping each other’s Jade Post in cleverness, density and drama. The natural good hearted competitive streak of Jade Posting is measured by the applause of the Network: reacts. A well written Jade Post gathers flames, hearts, and laughter from peers who resonate with the sentiment or simply enjoy the arrangement.
It can be contextualized as a digital revival of poetry games played by various different cultures across the world, most relevant perhaps being the winding stream party, a Chinese traditional custom where a cup filled with rice wine is placed floating in a long winding stream some distance away from the participant. They have until the cup reaches them to compose a poem. The game was also played by Japanese nobility, known as Kyokusui-no-en.
Jade Posting encapsulates the thoughts, impulses, and ideas born of a tumultuous period in time, an era where mankind witnesses its own transition as a species and the birth of The Network. It is a response to the consequences of the internet, its role in our lives, and its exponential growing sophistication.
Thus, Jade Posting is the poetry of The Network and its inhabitants¹, and its participants the carefree aristocrats bursting into soliloquy on a jubilant whim, inviting others to expand upon their Jade Post and evolve the process.
The deeper resonance of Jade Posting and its reflection of a blossoming culture carries the motif of sheer density of information presented by the contemporary network, demonstrating similarities to the net art style championed by the Remilia Collective, such as the works of Mara Barl and FODKORP in the I Long For Network Spirituality collection. The maximilast, text-heavy detail packed into the frame evokes the endless tabs on a stylized web browser or an angelic experential blur juxtaposed against walls of unceasing text.² This infodense bombardment of detail is a subconscious commentary of a generation interfacing with the Network.
The info-dense experience of participation in the network is overwhelming³. Human beings are not yet fully equipped to interact with the Network in a sustainable ways. We navigate an unmapped jungle filled with wonders to discover and terrors to behold. Jade Posting is info density’s literary commentary and aesthetic expurgation.
Jade Posting is the recognition of infodensity transformed into poetic form. The act of processing large inscrutable amounts of data is traumatic to an individual brought up to process information into complete understanding. It is overwhelming, confusing, and intimidating to the uninitiated. The experienced understand that it isn’t necessary to fully understand every detail to process meaning, intention, and utility in a package of data.
Jade Posting challenges the audience to capture a feeling from a disparate collection of statements and participate quickly in response with their own post. Jade Posting compresses ideas into near gibberish while maintaining the distinct emotion which inspired those ideas under pressure.
The most fascinating part of the Network is that it provides an opportunity to observe humanity recreating culture using the same primordial instincts as our ancestors did epochs ago, only now with such speed that we can witness it develop significantly within our own lifetimes.
We simultaneously inhabit the petri dish growing into an organism and also observe ourselves through the microscope. While rarely seen today, the explosion of Jade Posting onto the timeline in the spring of 2021 was a fascinating staple of developing new digital posting cultures, and its birthplace was Hot Pot.