January 4th, 2017
"LOL 101" was a spontaneous, sprawling literary performance piece that took place across the internet, using quick reflex, serendipitous timing, and the immediacy of electronic tech/ media to collage together elements of number theory, symmetry, colloquial/ written slang, comedy + clowns, and speculations on the Numinous. This series of self-publishing acts unfolded in sequenced patterns (macro-micro/ major-minor), like a waltz, entertaining and irritating audiences in five different venues: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, text messaging, and IRL (the artist, aka the Control Board). IRL time spent between writings consisted of laughing, pacing, pretending to clean a bedroom, and applying makeup and wardrobe to appear like a living, breathing clown.
This webpage documents the entire melt-out, suggesting that a geometric cohesion binds and forms the foundational matrices of what appears to be random, intuitive babbling.
See Chapters 1-6, below:
- Text Messaging
- Diagram of an LOL
Sarah Wang posted this thing and i reacted without thinking. I was probably attempting a quick, caricature portrait of God... or a portrait of God recognizing God. After the first portrait, I made two more portraits (of varying symmetries), and i posted on Twitter, to share them. And then... I just kept on going.
Notes: 1. Out of this series, The Infinite Laugh was the first (and so far, the most popular) Portrait of God. /// 2. The "2nite" actually came later in the narrative and the 2 was supposed to be an instance of pattern-break/ joke. /// 3. As another mini-joke, I originally typed "Edited: 2nite," but then decided go back and edit out the word 'Edited,' which would then of course leave a permanent trail that says "Edited." /// 4. Reference to Sarah or my mother as "god," or my self as mediator, is another set of inside jokes, but no need to elaborate here.
Notes: 1. The Epiphany uses binary to express a 3-2-1-0 sequence, using a period (point: zero-dimension) as the epiphany. /// 2. The Butterfly uses binary to express 3-2-1-1-2-3, excluding the zero, which allows it to Be Itself. /// 3. "哈哈" is Mandarin Chinese text for "haha," and also a childhood nickname for Sarah, who laughed (and still laughs) a lot, a little more then Average. In these comments i am using "lololol," "LOL" and "哈哈" doubling as names for entities, puns for their other selves, in addition to being stand-in symbols for actual laughter.
Notes: 1. "It's not a coincidence..."- This line was intended to be a joke about intention, meaningfulness, and humor; basically its a joke about Gxdness, and jokes. /// 2. In Hebrew, the name "Sarah" means "Princess." /// 3. The Church of LOL's invisibility was a soft reference to an earlier tweet about Dongba sites being sacred if/ when you make them so. /// 4. "i was trying to write practically but autocorrect said it better" Another line with multiple meanings, and a reference to the comment at the bottom of this thread- which, also happens to be a self-referential comment, and made by someone with a holy name.
Shaina Yang (Aniahs Lee) posted a comment requesting IRL/ URL manifestation at the exact time that i began working on this page. They want to join the Church of LOL! As committed servants for our communities, we should address social needs that arise. Therefore, yes- let's seriously consider how we can start building a blinking invisible Church of LOL, and whether or not that might be blasphemous in the name of the Lord our God. Prayer is the easiest way to get some straight answers so I will pray and ask God directly about this 2nite. If God says "Yes, go ahead," then may the empty text below transform itself into a live link (opens in a new window). If the answer is "No," then may the link remain dead 4ever:
Tweets have been rearranged so that they read chronologically (earliest on top, latest on the bottom).
Ashley Yang-Thompson is a NY-based artist who makes work I that i like and follow (on FB, Twitter, and Instagram). At some point in recent memory, she began publishing fragments like memetic waterfalls, invading my mindspace, and one of her clowns stuck with me ("conservative clown") . This was around the same time I was playing non-structurally with Khokhoi (@kkdelavida), who summoned and performed as "bourgeois clown." In the middle of my researching American stand-up comedy, Zuni ritual clowns, Japanese Oko-no-mono "holy fools", and sacred symbology, Ashley replied to one of my clown-based tweets shortly after another friend brought up "role-play," and then Sarah published that thing about God and self-recognition. These variables, added with some other existing psychological stress, all reached a singularity point, which led to a system crash in Reality. What follows can be seen as one extended, overarching laugh.
(DELETED TWEET here: joking about entitlement and tax evasion)
(DELETED TWEET here: "feeding off of laughter, and fear")
At this point, i made myself a little uncomfortable with the juxtaposition of "regime" and "LOL" and i hovered a lil, but then I decided to just keep going.
DELETED TWEET here: "Seriously though, there is a big difference between 6 and 7. Esp if you're a Numerologist like my mom. I don't preach, i just observe."
Note: I sometimes joke about this entity in conversation with friends, so I almost published some jokes likening "The Bakery" as "my new big bro," but then I decided not to tweet that, because, The Bakery might actually be my new big bro, and, baking bread is actually very serious business and people need to treat bread-baking with the respect it truly deserves. Amen.
I did not post the content of this series one-after-another; i shuffled through mediums like a roulette, reaching reflexively, acting on hair triggers. IG came up when realizing, while on Twitter/ FB, that I wanted to illustrate how LOLs can be puns for binary coding (and vice versa), as well as a self-referential pictogram which laughs at itself.
Like Twitter, Instagram also arranges posts in reverse (latest on top), so unless they were watching the posts appear in real-time, most IG viewers experienced this series backwards, which I think comes off as either 1) confusing, 2) disengaging, or 3) spiraling into an uncanny feeling of loneliness, like the echo of a giggle in an underground cement parking lot. Here I've rearranged all the images (with their captions) so that they now read top-to-bottom, the way they were intended to be seen.
Figure 1 is a single joke that consists of three panels, like a Sunday comic. The laugh grows into itself. It can also be experienced as a single panel that changes, like an animation. The captions reflect another balancing act. The theme in this section of the matrix is 1, 2, 3, or 3, 2, 1. This formula is reflected in the greater IG series, with "my aunt" being the only pattern break, which, theoretically, should create a different type of laugh. As I am writing this, I realize now that if "my aunt" is the outlier in all these equations, then my aunt is probably actually just another version of me. Hmm! That's interesting. I mean of course she is, but i hadn't looked at it that way yet. This opens up a whole new can of sharpies.
Figure 2 is the middle joke, and it speaks for itself. It features self-reflecters on multiple levels. I can count at least nine mirrors in this screenshot alone (including two of personal interpretation). How many exist for you?
Figure 3: This joke is only funny if it is read as the last panel in the sequence (in my opinion), because then it actually serves a punchline to multiple streams of narratives (including a reference to the Facebook thread). It's barely even a joke if it's read first- the only jokes would be that 1) it's a dumb visual portrait of some arbitrary objects, and that 2) it is a lame attempt at a joke. The best thing about this panel, for me, is that it's just a "true [short] story" delivered pretty dry, I really did use those sharpies, and those crystals, and any laughter here would sound almost like crying, if you know what I mean.
This is an image of all the post-it jokes together, as a geometric mosaic.
Here is the number of "likes" each image collected, as charted on this grid. This afternoon: Row 1 (7, 11, 14), Row 2 (32), Row 3 (14). At night: Row 1 (9, 13, 16), Row 2 (34), Row 3 (16). What are people reacting to, exactly??? The images are practically all the same! How does one quantify humor? Is there a unit measure for Funniness? Is it correlated with meaningfulness? Is it a majority-vote on pattern breaks?
I kept thinking about Ashley on-and-off throughout the day, thoughts oscillating like that strobe light at LOL Cathedral. I thought about "psychic communication" and then she posted that thing on telepathy. The waterfall parataxis, handwriting on paper scraps, and then I started seeing color and texture differently, too. Was it a virus? Is it contagious? Is it because she is a clown? Or is it because I am a clown, and clowns are mirrors, burlesquing whomever they see? Is it because we both are? Am I the Zero or the One? Our realities are extensions of our selves, so are we the same as who we see?
4. Text Messaging
I'm supposed to be working on that writing, the one titled "Clown Triggers." That's what all the research was leading me to. I'm already past deadline, still struggling. As a media maker, you realize that the project you're working on, tends to manifest in other aspects of your life. So why can't I do this thing? Why can't i just finish the writing? BECAUSE CLOWNS
5. IRL (IN "REAL" LIFE)
Why is this happening? Why am I doing this? I don't know why.
Part of me thinks that the whole episode, in all its frenetic lunacy and persistence on connecting cheap laughs with holiness, ends up being a performative document of one person's wild pursuit of Ecstatic experience, packaged into a 3-hour time-frame (mostly). "Pursuit of Ecstasy" could be a euphemism for psychological cases like ADD and/or OCD. We can challenge the idea that these conditions are "disorders," by somehow laying out the order that exists in the range of so-called symptoms, considering these actions as evidence/ links to what truly drives the patient in question, then suggesting that the transgressor is not doomed to "dysfunction," they merely function on wavelengths and rhythms that do not synchronize neatly with the Status Quo; Lifestyle adjustments could be made to benefit both the patient and the community(s) they belong to, without resorting to medication with harmful side effects.
This idea that if everything in our Universe exists as part of (a) pattern(s), and if laughter occurs in patterns- If a single laugh is shaped like a leaf (in a Garageband sound recording), and a string of laughs (ha-ha-ha+) is shaped like smaller leaves that create a bigger leaf, then maybe all the laughs of our lives create even bigger leaves; all the social narratives that feature these laughs, unpredictable things like impulsive actions and intuitive decisions, are also parts of their own patterns and leaves, etc. It's like this simulator made by these Cornell grads who used math to compare the behavior of gas molecules with metalheads in mosh pits.
With technology now tracking the exact moments of our social communication reflexes, can we just look at the numbers to find the formulas for What Drives You...? Is it that easy?
6. Diagram of an LOL
But anyways! Back to the LOLs. Priorities priorities.
"All the thoughts of a turtle are turtles, and of a rabbit, rabbits." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Natural History of Intellect