Robot Revolution
This one is a hard one for me to talk about, because it was so much work, and held so much promise, and the problem was just that I lost interest when a more successful project came about. That's hard to admit, because it means I was seemingly more concerned about the success of the project than the actual content. That perhaps exposes me to be more feedback-focussed than I like. But it is what it is.

When I was 22, I moved from LA to Seattle, and was friendless, eager, and alone. I threw myself into my work, which at that time was heavily influenced by Moebius, 1930 movies, and UPA posters. I stumbled upon an idea, and it turned into a series of artshows, an online comic, a pile of merch, a trip to Seoul, and an ill-fated trip to Fox Studios in Burbank.

In my shabby bedroom of a flat I first rented with the sister of an old friend, I started to play with the idea of WPA-style posters for a new era. I had been heavily involved in progressive causes throughout college, and I thought long and hard about a modern equivalent the fight against Nazism and poverty in the 1930s would be. My thoughts came to what I still believe will be a coming contentious issue: civil rights for the non-organic.

When an idea has legs, it doesn't take long to make good work. I quickly made 12 different seriagraphs in that signature style, and made them large: 30 x 40 inches, using my personal connections at a few print shops around to afford the prints for far less than what they would normally cost. They looked lovely, all together. Here's four of my favorites.

I started taking the digital lithographs around town, and to my surprise, quickly got my first solo shows in both Seattle and Philadelphia, as well as participation in several highly-regarded group shows. I was still heavily invested on the narrative behind these posters, and so I undertook wrapping them into an idea I had while I was making them– the idea of a webcomic that could be engaged in a non-narrative fashion: that is, reading a story the way the reader wanted to, not the author. To my mind, a story about AI was the perfect vessel for such an idea: disassembling the human idea of temporal storytelling seemed to be one of the weapons AI could use against us.

You can read the whole of the comic, about 1/3 completed, here.
While I was making the comic, a weird thing happened– it got popular. At the height, 80K/day were coming to my site, and I got a call from my host asking me to pony up for more hosting fees as their servers were running hot. It was a surreal and heady few weeks. The comic got turned into an example of what New Media Could Be in this early age of content made for the internet. I got invited to pitch at Fox Studios, and I totally bombed. I'll tell you that story sometime if you buy me a beer. However, one of the most exciting things to happen was that I was invited to the Seoul International Animation and Cartoon Festival to give a presentation about the future of mobile content, and how comics fit into the digital landscape. And, in a weird piece of kismet, who did I get to meet, when I went to Seoul? Moebius, one of my heroes.

The project kind of petered out after that, as I was wowed by a new project I has taken up. Finacially, career-wise, the project was a bit of a bust. Cosmically, it was perfect.
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All work copyright Joe Alterio © 2019 unless otherwise noted.