dump.fm (re)discovered

Dump.fm recently got some New York Times coverage (hat tip andrej). Nice to see if this even if the premise is only half-right. The writer theorizes that Dump is

part of a retro aesthetic renaissance sweeping the Web, one that pays homage to old-school computing systems and software like Windows 95 and Microsoft Paint. Nostalgia certainly plays a part, in the same way it does with collectors of vinyl or old typewriters, and for good reason: This revival is, in many respects, a reaction to the manicured lawns of Facebook and Twitter and a celebration of the earlier, less sterile (and surveilled) environments that people once inhabited and created online.

Four and a half years ago Paddy Johnson described Dump.fm's 319 Scholes exhibition not as "retro" but something new:

a unique community of makers, each using a lexicon of stock images, internet slang and animated gifs. This is the new art we’ve been waiting to see for the last 30 years.

That's a more accurate description, even if 319 Scholes curator Lindsay Howard quickly moved on to the next new art, and Johnson lately treats it more as a historical phenomenon than a going concern (while acknowledging that it is still active in her recent animated GIF history). Dump has in fact chugged along for five years now, with hundreds of new users coming, going, or staying, so that it can be rediscovered as something new, but not completely new. Now it's being characterized as a retro reaction by millennials to the supposed manicured lawns of Facebook and Twitter. Ironically, though, while "manicured" is how one might have described Twitter seven years ago, today it's a wacky blitz of Twitpics, Vine videos, variable sized fonts, and unnecessary stats clinging to every utterance. Dump is like this but moves faster because it's based on a chat room format. It's a retro form with some (but hardly exclusively) retro content. It's more of an ahistorical, net-ecumenical poetry slam than a recycled Geocities page. The skanky porn that graces dump.fm like a spatter of milky raindrops is quite up to date.