Shadow Net Series 15: Art as a Beacon

A quirky webpage floating alone in cyberspace asks for donations to add to its interesting imagery. is a strange place. But so are most webpages on the net without any obvious purpose or instruction. A lack of direction, context or product to sell usually leaves a void our imaginations fill quickly.

The imagery on is like a couple of art projects put together on a single page for no obvious reason whatsoever. As of this writing there are only two images on the site itself with a donation page.

When you click on the donate button it leads you to another page with a credit/debit or PayPal option. Basically the only lead about who is running the page is the email address provided.

The page states that with each donation another image will be added. Not being incredibly enthusiastic about handing over my debit card information to a random website I used a disposable credit card at and tossed the site a buck to see what would happen.

After my small contribution I had my own commissioned art on the site. The site feels like it’s on a road to somewhere but the destination is totally unknown. Maybe even unknown to the creator. Maybe each image acts as a portrait of its contributor. I could see the similarities – I do have huge ears and rat like qualities.

I always try to reach out to any sort of email or web master I can on sites I cover and this PayPal email was no exception. I was delighted to receive a reply from the creator of the site who prefers to go by, “negativecat” and discuss the site’s intentions and background and negativecat even gave more sites of their work to check out which will be listed here:


I am a digital artist based in Birmingham, AL. I am engaged with a lot of various Internet art projects and social experiments. The website was simply an art project. It is important to note that I am not an artist as my main profession and usually do not like to have my real name on any projects. I usually use various aliases. I work as a network engineer for my bread and butter but In my off time I usually work on various projects.
Thats pretty much it! Nothing super mysterious. I do maintain various other websites, I will link them here – – I maintain various phones across our city and distribute them for free. I don’t have a whole lot of “clients” at the moment but I have deployed a few and am working on restoring payphones around the city – Another art/social experiment. Ive been putting QR codes up. – Random music. Don’t really know what I am doing with this yet. LOL – Community Audio RSS

Anyways I hope I answered your questions. I apologize if you were expecting something more in-depth. The truth is I am just a hobby artist in my spare time that uses the Internet as my canvas.


As I was finishing this article – posting negativecat’s answer to my query I was waiting in a drive thru for coffee. It’s a January morning in the north east. The sleet is pelting down. I receive the coffee and pull into a church parking lot right off Main Street. The parking lot would normally be full at this time if it weren’t for the pandemic. I look around the rust belt town I live in and see a far cry of what it once was. Ghosts of thriving business and personality that fled the town as the major factories shut down over the decades.

Parked right off the main drag I can see a closed down Friendly’s restaurant. A closed down bar. A barely open tire business. Across from that a police station that has the words, “Season’s Greetings” spelled on the second of its two story building in wreaths and then a little dumpster behind the closed restaurant with colorful graffiti on the side. The drawing is of a rat eating a flower pedal. Art as a beacon in the strangest and bleakest of places.

Sometimes when writing these articles a melancholy fills me. A yearning for a time when everything strange was cool on the internet. Exploring the web often paid off, finding new little nooks of subcultures and message boards and new people and ideas everywhere you looked if you were the type to look hard enough. Now, not unlike this abandoned snowy town, the internet feels cold and quiet. Social media has seeped into every single website and app on the web and enforced a rigid uniformed behavior online. An expected decorum. And it’s all bullshit.

Little sites like are the graffiti tags on the sides of the abandoned buildings. Something to remind us that the only rules we should play by are our own. Art as a beacon in the strangest and bleakest of places.

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