Internet’s Dark Forests: Subcultural Memories and Vernaculars of a Layered Imaginary



Network Notion #2

Internet’s Dark Forests:
Subcultural Memories and
Vernaculars of a Layered Imaginary

Marta Ceccarelli

In this book, Marta Ceccarelli sheds light on the partially hidden shadowlands of the internet’s Dark Forests. The author proposes a possible reading of the history of the (social) internet. Starting from the transformation of the web into a tool for profit rooted in Californian countercultural movements, all the way to the modes of monetization and persona crafting epitomized by Kim Kardashian. Evoking the theory of lore, Ceccarelli explores the depths of the logics that govern the Dark Forest space, proposing heuristic tools to read the complex and interconnected geographies of the internet. She presents a sketch of @incellectuals to reveal the rich vernacular and memetic practices that demand and produce temporary subversive digital spaces. Constructing newer vocabularies of meaning and memory making, Dark Forests challenges Clearnet’s claim over our irl and url selves. The author’s own experiences of finding refuge in the Dark Forests is an intimate account of the urgency and exhilaration of seeking collectivity. The text invites the reader to follow the breadcrumbs left by Ceccarelli, embarking on a journey into the internet’s shadowy paths that lead to new modes of being online.

Marta Ceccarelli was born in 1999. She is an independent writer, blogger and researcher living between Italy and the Netherlands. Marta graduated with a Masters in New Media and Digital Cultures at the University of Amsterdam, and her academic practice is defined by an interest in internet (sub)cultures, memes, post internet art, music and club scenes. Her Substack, blogreform, is the place where her interests culminate through cultural analysis, experimental auto-fiction, and more.

Author: Marta Ceccarelli
Series Design: Alex Walker
Production: Federica Arenare and Tommaso Campagna
Paper: Opakal 60g
Paper Cover: Gmund matt yellow green 200g 

Published by the Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam 2024
ISBN: 9789083412511


This publication is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical ShareAlike 4.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). To view a copy of this license, visit

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