Date of Degree
Matthew K. Gold
Digital Humanities | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Nonfiction | Other English Language and Literature | Other Film and Media Studies | Poetry
affect, new media, embodiment, web aesthetics
ExistentialMD.com is a website that aims to treat the body as an emotional and social subject in an online space that is purposefully bodied and fleshy. The website contrasts original creative nonfiction essays with a formal structure that alludes to the medical website WebMD. Mimicking WebMD’s symptom checker, which asks users to locate their discomfort with increasing specificity before suggesting conditions they might be suffering from, ExistentialMD uses a similar structure to yield results that are more exploratory than diagnostic, and which envision the body as a site of experience and emotionality. Form and content combine to create an affectual experience that interrogates the modalities of embodied internet aesthetics by imagining a different way to build and write online spaces: handcrafted and unauthoritative. The project aims to reveal the internet as a constructed space that is capitalistic, un-empathetic, and inherently embodied (often to the exclusion and persecution of othered bodies). Through the process of writing and coding the website, I was able to consider what distressed me about online spaces, how they achieved that affect, and how language and aesthetics could create an alternative space that felt purposefully different not only to me but to anyone visiting.
Ochshorn, Natasha, "Existentialmd.com: Building Towards an Embodied Internet Aesthetic" (2019). CUNY Academic Works.