Melle Nieling

Thank you for your patience

The sole purpose of this website is to entertain people like you. That is, people who either accidentally, or purposely, stumble upon hidden content. The reason I am creating this minefield of easter eggs, is due to my personal interest in them. No, it goes way beyond that, really. I believe easter eggs make the world a little better. They keep us young, playful and ultimately attentive. Perhaps, through this, I can encourage other artists to embed elements of exploration into their art. Subsequently the world might turn into the all-encompassing playground I have always envisioned. To be fair, the world as is, is already a huge playground, but it seems most players aren't aware they're participating. We're all playing house together, and luckily for all those ignorant ones, you can't really lose in house.

Take your time

Take all the time you need to explore the world around you. Your living room probably contains a thousandfold more secrets than my website does. But if you're bored, alone at night, trying not to fap or do something mildly intellectual, you're more than free to look around.

I have decided against intellectualism in this short text, not because I believe in being straight to the point, but I'm actually not that intelligent.

1. Poster Design

A poster designed in 2001 by Ben Solanos perfectly describes the emotion I am currently experiencing. A high contrast image with a near-perfect balance between black and white, and minimal gray tones, sets the undertone for a presumed dystopic, perhaps apocalyptic, future.

In the wake of the events of nine eleven, (but more importantly the 1999 film The Matrix,) for some it became clear a third world war is immenent. Solanos designed the poster shortly after joining a California-based group of like-minded individuals, calling themselves Sub Specie Ludi. Sub Specie Ludi had formed in early 2000, when founders Mark Rosenthal and Jonathan Wein, decided politics and big capital was just a well-coordinated game. Rosenthal wanted in, and had "sold everything and everyone, to get a loan twice the size of Texas."

How Rosenthal and Wein invested, or otherwise spent the million-dollar capital is no public knowledge. What is known, however, is that they managed to obtain influencial positions, without gaining too much profile. Within less than a year the two were playing that same game of subversive politics and power.

Well-spent capital had given the two the power they had desired, but Rosenthal was convinced there was something else. In an e-mail to Solanos, sent only two weeks before the Twin Towers catastrophe, he mentioned "the power of the image, of feeling, of art" as the next frontier for control. Cultural control was the future.

Solanos had finished his studies at CalArts a couple years before, and was doing well in a major advertising company. Having designed adverts for companies like Coca-Cola and Audi, he knew very well how to influence people, and wasn't afraid to use his skills. Solanos shared Rosenthal's fascination for brainwashing the public, and went so far as to calling it the finest of arts.

Having formed a duo, Rosenthal and Solanos quickly invented a ten-year strategy, that would "change the art world, and with that, the culture around the globe." Wein was pretty much out of the picture, by now, but didn't leave the group until the death of Solanos, in 2004. Wein prefers to stay in the shadows, but has publicly mentioned his fear for Rosenthal.

The ten-year plan involved recruiting other artists, and the duo often travelled to major cities around the world in order to establish their international network. Rosenthal knew how to get his artists into the right museums and galleries. And by the end of 2002 he and Solanos were in power of the cultural control network they had envisioned. By then Sub Specie Ludi was a household name amongst the art elite, connecting with them was a surefire way to reach the top of the market.

Mid-2003, Solanos and Wein came to the realization that Rosenthal had grown much more power-driven than before. Solanos tried to hold a solo show with posters at a small art space in Los Angeles, completely defying the ten-year plan they had previously set out. When Rosenthal got wind of this, he had the art space cleared out by police, right before the opening. Wein urged Solanos to leave the country, but he refused and started planning another exhibition in New York, instead.

The posters for Solanos' exhibition were all over in the east coast city, early 2004. With fat capitals they read "BEN SOLANOS -- JANUARY 31". He wasn't planning on hiding from anyone. The exhibition was to take place in a big, expensive penthouse next to Central Park on the Upper East Side.

Solanos had mounted his posters on the wall himself, and prepared an installation in the center of the space. The night before the grand opening he mentioned being "just a bit too excited", and went for a walk in the park. The next morning he didn't show up to his meeting with curator Kynaston McShine. But his assistants started getting worried when the show neared opening, and he still didn't show up.

That same night his body was found in a dumpster in New Jersey. He had died of factures after suffering a blow to his head. The police carried out an intensive investigation, but nobody was ever arrested for the murder of Ben Solanos.