Hicks travels the world, his camera a constant companion, and his imagery is far from the usual sugary scenery. Hicks' pictures capture the essence of a place and its people in a way few photographers are able to achieve, and his images of the streets of Taipei, and its scooters, add a dimension of visual completeness to our coverage of the built environment.
Marilyn Jaye Lewis, who joined us as assistant editor for North America after contributing to SDk02 as our featured writer, returns with an opinion piece on Amazon's censorship-by-machine in the age of digital publishing. Having fought censorship throughout her career, it is a field she knows well, arguing that a crucial, literature-destroying and potentially culturally damaging precedent has been set by the global e-publishing behemoth. Our second Critique piece proclaims the death of postmodernism. And if you haven't heard what has taken its place, it's because nobody knows, yet. While postmodernism's cynicism and nihilism may be receding, Eugène Satyrisci, himself no stranger to cynicism and nihilism, joins the chorus proposing we have entered a new era, a hyper culture where, participant-driven and all-consuming, the mass in mass culture is writ large.
Our expanded literature section begins with the late Michael Hemmingson's comment on contemporary life in a world obsessed with social media, an illustration of the virtual urbanisation of society that, as Litchfield has suggested, can deliver twists and turns as rewarding or hazardous as the labyrinthine streets of physical cityscapes, snaring the unsuspecting whether they move among middle-class American society or on streets of desperation in Tijuana. We welcome back Anne Tourney who again has written a short story especially for us: here, her noir Budapest is as powerful in its ability to stir the shadowy recesses of the subconscious as was her story for SDk01. We also welcome Fred Hayes, and are proud to be the forum for his first publication, a tale of the built environment
reduced to the claustrophobic interior of the domestic dwelling. We present an original short piece by Supervert, intrepid explorer of humanity's mysterious, secret urges, with a chronicle of New York as you've never known it. Anyone familiar with his writing will instantly recognise his transgressive mix of abjection, humour and eroticism; we think “Coprophilia for the Masses” is one of his best ever. Those yet to discover Supervert have much to look forward to here. Finally, we offer a dark vignette by “K”, as he prefers to be known.
SDk's regular staff have also been busy with their own contributions to this issue. Daryl Champion provides the first installment of “The culture of oppression”, a monograph that will be serialised in the webmagazine; and, part one of a two-part essay on Ruinenlust, the city and our cultural psyche that accompanies Ulli Richter's Beelitz series. Chris Cook has compiled an infographic on the growth of cities and urban populations, and the results are suggestive of Doornkaat's visions; he has also created some appropriately moody page designs for this issue.
With SomethingDark's expansion we have a wealth of new contributor profiles, and we recommend a browse through our Contributor Directory; for readers particularly attracted to the photography and art we feature, a treat awaits in many of the image galleries you will find there. We pay tribute to all of our contributors, and, in the face of changing copyright environments that increasingly facilitate the needs of corporate content providers, part of the enormous amount of development that has gone into SomethingDark between issues 2 and 3 concerns copyright protection for our contributors written into the webmagazine's code; traditional textual protection is also more prominent.
For those who thought we were dead and gone: we are not. There is much more to come through SomethingDark.
SDk03: The built environment and
urban decay, and a labyrinth of desires.