The Yami-Ichi Flea Market at The Knockdown Center: The 150th Wing of the Internet

by Paddy Johnson on September 15, 2015 · 1 comment slideshow

Knockdown Center

The Knockdown Center

I spent most of Saturday smiling so hard my face hurt thanks to the Internet Yami-Ichi. The day long flea market hosted more 140 internet-savvy vendors inside Masbeth’s Knockdown Center,  a refurbished factory complete with brick walls, wooden support beams and 40 feet high ceilings. The space proved a fitting contrast to vendors wares which were new, disposable and typically useless. I felt a little like I’d landed in the 150th wing of Internet and discovered a very strange party.

While there, I bought two used passwords for 25 cents a piece, two Instagram prints printed at a resolution determined by the number of likes it received for $29 each and a plastic $5  USB drive with animated GIFs on it. I also took home two free badges and a 32 page coffee stained zine filled with Internet slang.

Basically, it’s the best art fair ever. And that’s not just because five bucks is a more workable price point for me then $50,000. At almost every booth artists were selling products that only existed because of their passion for online culture. These are the people who make up the nerdocracy, a group of nerds popularly known to have dominated web culture circa 2005, and they haven’t gone away. If anything they’ve just gotten weirder and more creative with time. Highlights below.

Browser plates

For those who never want to leave work at work: a ceramic plate adorned with an old school Firefox browser. A perfect veggie plate? Available at Dorita Tableware.

Discount memes

I have a few regrets from the fair, and most of them have to do with not buying things I wanted.  Like, why didn’t I pick up anything from the meme booth run by artist Cat Holtz and the artist duo Twinhead? They claimed all their memes—printed out on office paper—were certified by the Meme Bureau and boy where they affordable. The discount memes (common memes) were only a penny.   Also available: vintage memes (2005-2010) memes from 2010-2015 and memes from 2015 to 2030 (future memes). My favorite, though, were the lost memes. Memes that no longer exist in any other form then descriptive text of the meme on paper.

Memes for sale!

No meme table is complete with a meme sales person with a megaphone!

Dylan of Dylan and Corinna

Dylan Schenker and Corinna Kirsch offered a free zine they dubbed “Internet Encyclopedia” a black and white glossary of Internet terms, punctuated by art works by net artists. Amongst the more entertaining headings were “Asshole Accessaries” buttplugs with furry tails attached to the end is actually a thing on Tumblr and “Dating apocalypse” a phrase associated with old people who think online dating is ruining our interpersonal skills. Truly illuminating.

Emoji booth

A twist on a great app: Bitmoji allows users to craft their own avatars based on a series of preset options: you chose eyes, glasses, face shape, skin tone etc. Then you can send your bitmoji to friends. At this booth, artists render your avatar for you using the app and then print it out so you can use it as a mask. The process takes about 20 minutes assuming you don’t have to wait. I had to wait.

Paddy and Michael emoji face

Here’s me and Michael Anthony Farley with our masks. They look nothing like us, but for five bucks it was certainly worth the flattery of having someone look intently at your face for twenty minutes. As an aside, it’s worth noting just how many portrait projects were at the booths this year. Ben Coonley offered a picture of your bust in a 3D environment for 7 bucks, Ross Goodwin used software that turns headshots into poems, and Rollin Leonard was wrapping people’s faces his mugs. I wanted all of these works.

Github playing cards

The GitHub League is a series of baseball-like cards made in honor of open source software developers using GitHub software. The league consists of the ten most active users within August 24, 2014 and August 25, 2015, (active meaning most commits to public repositories), so the whole thing is wonderfully nerdy. I wasn’t totally sold on the project, though, because no women made the cut. The biases of developer culture aren’t the fault of artists Fletcher Back and John Farrell, of course, but I do wish there was some way to include women in the project.  It’s just less interesting without them.

Transfer gallery

Transfer gallery almost seemed a little out of place in this crowd because the booth was so professional. Still, I loved that they participated and created projects you could purchase, almost all of which were under $10. Naturally I picked up the GIF drive for five bucks, which included the work of A Bill Miller, Lorna Mills, Faith Holland, Rollin Leonard, Alma Alloro and Carla Gannis.

MTAA rug

MTAA showed a variety of Internet based work, including Greg Allen’s Yes Rasta, the complete transcript of Richard Prince’s deposition in the Patrick Cariou vs Richard Prince & Gagosian case. There were also MTAA badges, a google maps puzzle by Michael Sarff and a variety of other goodies.

No phone

NoPhone by the NoPhone team is not a phone. It’s a brick of plastic that looks like a phone, and touts itself as a “technology free alternative to constant hand-to-phone contact that allows you to stay connected with the real world”. It’s a pretty pat joke about how much time we spend on our phones, but what’s incredible about the NoPhone  is just how good their sales team is. “Are you ready to downgrade your NoPhone” the team asks on their Kickstarter.  I wasn’t quite ready to pony up the 10 bucks for this thing, but if I spent any more then a few minutes with this team I could see that changing. They have their schtick down.


I wouldn’t guess that technologies and Reiki practitioners would have a lot of overlap in their interests, but there’s now a product for those who do: USB 3.0 Gems.  Nullsleep has made a series of of USB drives with crystals such as fluorite (spiritual wholeness and peace), Pyrite (healers gold, protection) and Sodalite (intelligence and efficiency). I love that these exist, even though I myself would not find so much use in these crystals.

rollin action shot

Here’s a Rollin Leonard action shot. He’s taking photographs of the sitter that he will then wrap around his mugs. There’s no wrinkle too small for this camera, but I love it anyway. For some reason every mug looks like a weird relic from the future.

rollin mugs

A few of Rollin Leonard’s mugs

Carla Gannis

Carla Gannis sold social media documentation of her piece The Garden of Emoji Earthly Delights, a rendering of the 1503 triptych by Hieronymus Bosch, in emoji. The twist? Every resolution of every print out was determined by the number of likes it got. The more likes, the higher the resolution of the print out. For those who wanted a straight up representation of her project she also sold posters of one panel. 

Used passwords by eteam

eteam’s table full of used passwords printed out on sheets of office paper.  Buy one for .25 cents or two for .50 cents so you can combine to get one original password. There’s no discount for the second option, but you do get a much a stronger password, so the pricing makes sense. I bought two.


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