On Bacon Index"Determining whether something is a threat or challenge to your identity on the internet can be a frustrating game."
The German word 'Kummerspeck' literally translates to 'grief bacon' means excess weight gained from emotional overeating.
The idea of a hysterical Index is hard to realize when a user has to maintain and surrender an increasing volume of personal data, for purposes beyond their comprehension, in order to express themselves.
Happening upon the indulgence of Bacon-Index’s fanaticism might cause that metaphorical clone to gain a bit of weight- but is Bacon Index really any different from any other devoted fandom? Can it really be considered indulgent to enthuse about Kevin Bacon on the internet?
While you could argue its just a zany, very millennial brand and on initial inspection, Bacon Index might fit the description of ‘weird internet’ (like the pejorative Weird Twitter, Weird Youtbe etc.) however this just writes off unfamiliar content, behaviour and users as Othered. Japanese culture has often been interpreted in an exotified manner by Western Media, particularly emphasized and even ridiculed is Japan’s fervour for American Culture. As a fanatic project based around Kevin Bacon by a group of Japanese people, Bacon-Index could easily be dismissed as that stereotype, or as playing with it, but to insist they’re doing either of these things alone, would still be an insufficient summary. Its likely Bacon-Index are regarded in a myriad of overlapping and fractional ways, specific to which of their multifaceted output an individual happens upon.
Despite algorithms helpfully tailoring timelines and feeds for relevancy, users have room, albeit not much, to happen upon unfamiliar content. Bacon-Index might not post content for a long time and then spam five or ten posts, mostly images of Kevin Bacon, of course. While as a brand this would represent bad practice, to a casual Tumblr user nothing about this behaviour could be considered exceptional or unusual.
The trend-forecasting agency K-Hole’s lifestyle concepts ‘acting basic’ and ‘normcore’ gained traction last year, if not mostly for being repeatedly misinterpreted. While acting basic might be seen as buying and wearing functional middle-class brands, normcore refers to being able to fluidly adapt to each environment a person finds themselves in, both through style and attitude.
This concept relies on the ability to sincerely blend into events/contexts/environments, not stand out. A fair amount of affluence and confidence is required from any individuals engaging in these concepts, in order to achieve or maintain them. Kevin Bacon, who was not lost for affluence or confidence, adapted to a life where he came to stand for a system of relation. Admittedly he didn’t lose all autonomy but what has he done lately, other than adverts for broadband?
Concluding: Bacon-Index’s Eulogy
First and foremost it’s an absurdity that Kevin Bacon exists in such omnipotence. Bacon Index’s ‘Kummerspeck’, the weighty grief from the emotional over-consumption of Kevin Bacon gets sublimated into their art works and products. Bacon-Index’s popularity and actions have no doubt impacted upon the figure of Kevin Bacon- his integrity as a cultural figure has shifted. In the past Bacon-Index claimed not to want to produce value, but definitely have and will go on to provide it for both the services they occupy as users, and Kevin Bacon. Like the metaphorical clone being admired somewhere, can Kevin feel the warmth of Bacon-Index’s adulation?
The continual update and reformulation of identity and data that the most average user performs is melancholic because it always exists as a poor facsimile of data surveillance. The normalcy of data surveilling emerges from the accessibility that public have to the daily life of celebrities like Kevin Bacon, made available to them through media and paparazzi. The trade off for users is far more dirty than for celebrities, its the same for a User liking a brand or posting a haul video online. Conventional brand-celebrity endorsements are often the subject of speculation because of the large amounts of money that change hands, amongst other things. Bacon-Index, as a brand/collective behaving like a fandom, creating fan art, are sort of circumventing this bargain.
Almost every time a service changes its interface, or updates a User agreement, there’s a sense of discomfort in the transition amongst users. It may not always be about adapting to the immediate change, but come from an acknowledgement of the violence necessary for that change hidden in that bargain. It’s the necessary sacrifice of the user who surrenders more and more of their autonomy in order to streamline their experience. For a user to become exceptional relies on them harmonizing their operation of the mechanisms put forward by multiple platforms, with their ability to provide mutable meaning for communities that manifest, degrade and intersect with immanence- that’s a tall ask.
Its absurd to imagine all users should become cyberpunk hackers or exceptional within their communities in order to evade unfair treatment of their data. In the absence of modernist infrastructure, the currency of identity can be exchanged for means of survival on a more fundamental level- we can’t all afford or access camouflage technologies from face changing software to vague stylistic turns like Normcore or Acting Basic distort or destabilize identity.
Like the very clickbait articles concerning the shifting nature of identity online, contexts manifest and degrade with immanence from the tectonic movements of timelines and feeds. Even a casual user makes it their business to keep up with these different contexts. The compounding pressure of refreshing and interacting through these systems, doesn’t leave room for the user to mourn and inspires a melancholic condition. Psychoanalyst case studies on Failed Mourning see individuals trying to become the locus of their trauma and then killing thatself, in order to redress the balance of trauma and loss.
Bacon-Index are decentralized users but united as one, that could just be a definition of a brand but many of their functions represent bad practice for brands, in a way that is perhaps expected from the tradition of Streetwear. In turn they also resist some of the formalisms associated with Streetwear in how they relinquish a lot of authenticity and formal fluidity in their commitment to Kevin Bacon.
I feel as though Bacon Index would stick with Kevin through thick and thin and that what they have is real.