The Best of the Web, 2015

by The AFC Staff on December 23, 2015 · 1 comment Internet + Reviews

A young girl poses in front of a giant "Iron Panda" sculpture during the during the 2015 Art Beijing exhibition at the National Agriculture Exhibition

A young girl poses in front of a giant “Iron Panda” sculpture during the during the 2015 Art Beijing exhibition at the National Agriculture Exhibition

Millions of years from now, aliens and artificial intelligence will be confounded by the follies, foibles and idiosyncrasies of the human race. Henceforth, the 2015.


A video of baby goats leaping around in their printed fleece pajama sets. This is freedom.

This sassy goat giving real “dialogando”. Honesty is truly the best policy.

Goats singing Christmas carols. This is hell.

Scientists made aquatic breakthroughs. They discovered the first warm-blooded fish and introduced to the world the genetic marvel known as “water bear”.

Kittens riding a roomba. To imagine they grow into adults terrified of cucumbers.


Cats being shamed. After years ruling the internet, humans finally realize cats can be assholes too. One cat gained notoriety on this list for placing a dead mouse in its owner’s mouth because she was asleep and did not admire it sufficiently.

Cats now have to deal with their owners sticking sparkling gemstone up their anuses.

An unusually warm winter (read: climate change) is creating an epidemic of obese squirrels in Toronto. Anecdotal evidence suggests the phenomenon is not local. Has anyone else noticed the size of squirrels in Queens recently? Insane.



Nutscapes. Clancy Philbrick’s conceptual Instagram art project connected us with primal urges, Mother Nature, and hairy balls.

Society finally moving towards a theorization of the dick pic. Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal’s Rhizome essay was our favourite February art thinkpiece.

You really can’t unread this anecdote about Damien Hirst’s foreskin. We were warned, but still clicked.

Credit: Hyperallergic

Credit: Hyperallergic

Condom art was maybe going to hit the market. Unfortunately, it looks like the French startup behind this failed to meet their €15,000 crowdfunding goals.

A comprehensive history of video game dicks led to the re-discovery of X-Man. Nope, not the Marvel wonder—we’re talking about the pornographic Atari 2600 release of an 8-bit dude fucking his way out of a labyrinth.

The wet dream of an artificial intelligence. Ew. But it also prompted “NSFW GIF of the Hump-Day”, so it really has been the gift that keeps giving.

"CityNews reader Gena Chandra sent in this photo of a dollar-store Santa on Dec. 16, 2015."

“CityNews reader Gena Chandra sent in this photo of a dollar-store Santa on Dec. 16, 2015.”

Dollar store chocolate Santa turns out to be a huge penis. Merry Christmas!

Antique dildos in Nantucket. A long and surprisingly sweet story.

NYC’s penile terrorist. Last April, a man terrorized NYC commuters with a giant black dildo. As we observed then, “The Subway: just like reality TV, but not at all from the comfort of your own home.”


Credit: Bad Art Museum Reviews

Credit: Bad Art Museum Reviews

The next wave of art critics are Yelp reviewers. How museums’ digital marketing departments can spin bad reviews remains to be seen.

Newspaper websites ditched their comment sections. The internet troll cesspool just got smaller.

Email spam is dying out. Well, sort of. For the first time in twelve years, less than 50% of all email is spam.

We learned to speak emoji. The “face with tears of joy” emoji was the word of the year, it has led to celebrities breaking the internet (read: app store) with their own branded emojis, and a much needed re-design of Tim Horton’s EHmojis.

Selfie critical analysis jumped the shark. Which is why we found this analysis on Alec Soth’s “unselfies” refreshing and pleasurable.

The byline racket got easier. Thanks to Nick DeMarco’s CloneZone app, everyone is now able to clone websites verbatim and fake a New Yorker byline.

Essential reading flashback: The following essays on web aesthetics were published in 2014, but were introduced to AFC in a talk by Nick Douglas in 2015. If you care about the amateur web, you need to read these essays.  

Can we please get Sam Biddle, Nick Douglas and Brian Feldman in a room with amateur web scholar Olia Lialina please?


Books on Tape, “Super Dr (The Windom Earl Garagebang String Quartet Variation)”. The hip thrusts alone!

Marker Starling, “Uphill Battle”. OK, I [Rea] have many biases towards this video. One of the actors is my boyfriend. The director is a former colleague from my alt-weekly journalism days. But this is honestly such a hilariously heartfelt send-up of John Cassavetes’s Husbands and the album, Rosy Mazes, was one of my top ten album this year.

Persia, “Google Google Apps” featuring Daddies Plastik. Bay Area queers deliver the catchiest protest song right now regarding the tech-led gentrification of San Francisco.

So Tiri, “Feta Kai Psomi” Anyone who lives in Queens knows this video couldn’t have been made anywhere else. Astoria is the feta cheese and greek grocery borough. Watch a rapper extol the virtues of cheese while walking the streets of New York with a goat.

Cute North Korean Child Girl Singing. No commentary necessary.



Dad Magazine. Everything you imagine a Dad Magazine to be and worse. (Think puns.) Perfect pitch satire.


Curl A Dog! Probably our favourite As Seen On TV 2015 commercial. It’s an absolutely useless device that does what a sharp knife and a skewer does. But you get perfectly charred hot dogs! It’s totally safe for the family! Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that the jingle is also catchy AF.

Kim Kardashian’s Hype Energy Drink “film”. Kim goes from being an Audrey Hepburn figure who fell off her bike who falls to a boobalicious Marie Antoinette. The narrative makes no sense.


Look, we’re totally biased, but we love our fundraiser promo projects, so they get a section of their own in our Best of the Web. Thanks to Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw, who worked with us on this video, you really get a sense of the state of the art world and the box office dominance of Mad Max this summer at theaters.

The Art F City aerobics team gets ready for our 10th anniversary benefit! Thanks to Arcade and Jaimie Warren for making this promo a reality.


Credit: Wall Street Journal

Credit: Wall Street Journal

China tries to end a “lascivious” mourning tradition. The Chinese government attempted to discourage its citizens from hiring strippers for funerals, whose inclination towards this form of entertainment actually lies in an afterlife belief that big funeral crowds is a sign of good fortune. “It’s to give them face,” said one villager. “Otherwise no one would come.”  

Contemporary art is a booby trap. Literally. A 7 year old boy gets trapped in a piece of public art in Hilton Head, NC. “There’s absolutely no sign that says kids aren’t supposed to climb on it!” Laments the mother. We never learn the name of the artist responsible for the work.

Penis-in-hot-dog-bun-art deemed not appropriate for families. We beg to differ. An insane Illinois woman (she pleaded guilty to trying to feed her husband to the birds) started a petition to remove a mural on the side of a bar depicting a naked woman tied to a tree and a penis in a hot dog bun. Her argument boils down to “what about the children?” conceits, but what kid wouldn’t think a cartoon dick-in-a bun wasn’t funny?

IRL McJobs nostalgia. We have now reached the point where deskilled telecommuters are so disconnected from low-prestige dead-end physical labour that they need to play a VR job simulator game to get off on preparing hot dogs at a convenience store or washing dishes in a kitchen.

Jeff Koons public sculpture declared a breadcrumb to porn. The roaring debate over whether Sacramento city council should approve an $8 million dollar Jeff Koons sculpture in the new Kings arena led to locals making semi-factual statements. “Did you know he did porn and did it art,” said local artist Marco Fuoco of Koons’ past works. He was concerned that kids would be adversely affected by the work of Koons and hoped a Sacramento-based artist would be commissioned instead. A local auctioneer believes the sculpture will bring in millions of tourism dollars: “people will spend money on local art.”

Local artist Steven Chayt receives zoning variance for 24 foot lawn “potty chair”. The neighbors are pissed. “There are a lot of places to display art to the public… Our neighborhood shouldn’t one of them.” Vanessa Barfield hotly told the Ledger.  One suggestion: “decorating” it with “flowers and vines.” The artist planned to cover the piece with steel and adorn the seat with a clown face. Terrifying. 



Credit: Totally single-serving meta.

How many people are in space right now? For NASA nerds and the curious.


Credit: Motherboard

Credit: Motherboard

Robert Silverberg’s “Drug Themes in Science Fiction”. The rediscovery of this government-funded guide to sci-fi drugs written by prolific sci-fi author is a time capsule goldmine, and a lot more interesting than all those 1970s coke ads dug up when everyone was binge-watching Narcos.

Emotional Labour: The MetaFilter Thread Condensed. This Google Drive document is absolutely necessary reading.


Credit: Mouthfeel Magazine

Best new foodie magazine? We’re picking Mouthfeel for its mixing of recipes and sexy men. Credit: Mouthfeel Magazine

Upper West Side dumpster diving. From leftover bruschetta ham to eggplant tortellini—turns out you can eat pretty gourmet if you dumpster dive in the right neighbourhoods.

Ikea’s depressive 2025 concept kitchen. The kitchen of the future is totally appropriate for our resource-scarce dystopian future.

Animated GIF recipes. Perfect for the culinary connoisseur with a short attention span.

The rise of chocolate truthers!  A four-part expose on that unwraps the myth of the Mast Brothers chocolate got picked up by mainstream media. The blogger has likened the Mast Brothers to cyclist and famed doper Lance Armstrong for faking how they learned to grind cocoa beans, their ingredient list and  even their beards. 

The right to bear arms influences a food critic. Pete Wells, fearful of Texans, had only positive words in his zero-star NYT review of Tex-Mex hotspot Javelina. He was thankful for the margarita’s “slight chemical taste” because it kept his “alcohol intake to near-Mormon levels”, and the lukewarm queso had “the added benefit of allowing a latex-like film to congeal on top”. 

The Star Wars Death Star waffle maker. We want one.


The eternal hurt that is a skeleton riding a segway. Credit: Brown Cardigan

The eternal hurt that is a skeleton riding a segway. Credit: Brown Cardigan

Internet memes entered its Whatever Happened to… era. This year, we were preoccupied with the viral memes of our past. As expected, the experiences of unsuspecting image macro subjects had its rewards and challenges, and the untold stories of figures like Ermagerd Girl got their glossy magazine treatment.   

The Google DeepDream make-up tutorial no one asked for. “Add more dog faces all over. Pareidolia parrrtaaaaaay! Bonus points for color matching.”

#BrusselsLockdown. After Belgians were told by the federal police after the Paris Attacks to maintain silence over counter-terror operations over Twitter, citizens reacted by flooding their feeds with cute cat photos, maintaining a much-needed collective sense of humor.

#ExtremePhonePinching. Definitely one of the strangest 2015 memes, although, when statistics now say more people have died taking dangerous selfies than by shark attacks, we all need the opportunity to sort through the anxieties our smartphone addictions cause.

The art world got its own Onion. Scott Indrisek’s ArtWet was a much-needed send-up of artnet News’s clickbait headlines. Choice samplings: “You’ve Heard About The Refugee Crisis, But How Will It Affect Contemporary Artistic Practice?”, “Hail The Honky! 10 Old, White Heartthrobs Who Crush The Art World (AARP MEMBERS: Bluetooth App Download!)”.

The only positive to have come out of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy campaign.


2016 Art Career Forecasting. Nik Kosmas of the now defunct artmaking duo AIDS 3D gave up his art career for weightlifting and a business selling supplement powders on Amazon. He now works as a thinker, educator and entrepreneur.


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