Once upon a time, Myspace seamlessly blended the world of gender and the internet, celebrating femininity amidst a typically male-centric and drab field: technology. I remember this, since I once orchestrated the perfect Myspace page. My profile was minimalistic, but cute. I plastered adorable Sailor Moon pixel art into my ‘About Me,’ soundtracking the page with a singular Uffie and Justice track. Plus, the HTML for the layout was entirely coded by yours truly.
Myspace helped outfit young girls like me with coding skills, before coding was really a thing. This was essentially cybertwee, before cybertwee. After all, when we spoke to the Cybertwee Collective earlier this year, they noted how cybertwee has, in a way, been around since the dawn of the web. Or as co-founder Violet Forest enlightened us, “Cybertwee has always existed, it just never had a name.”
As I stroll through the newly launched VR Cybertwee Headquarters, I’m met with musing iMessages, pastel-hued structures, as a Naruto anime music video (AMV) hangs high above. Cybertwee Headquarters, co-founded by Violet, Gabriella Hileman, and May Waver of the Cybertwee Collective, are hosting their first virtual exhibition showcasing 22 varied artists. Inside the iOS-hosted world is a VR-capable gallery focused on all things cybertwee—the saccharine nostalgia for yesteryear’s internet, and the colorful femininity surrounding it.
a saccharine pushback against web masculinity
For a collective that describes itself as “if cyberpunk had a kid sister who was secretly better at hacking,” the installation lying in the Cybertwee Headquarters is exactly what one might expect. The style goes beyond that of shallow vaporwave, though it may draw comparisons at a mere glance. Cybertwee instead finds its footing in its gleeful representation of cute technology and the pushback against nefarious uses of the web—like how Cybertwee once hosted a bake sale on the deep web (or what you may know as the grimy underbelly of the internet that’s typically host to cybercrime, like drug transactions and less-than-savory porn).
The app soft-launched over the weekend at Sub Chroma Chicago, where it was displayed on the HTC Vive. Currently, as it’s only publicly released on iOS, the app unfortunately finds itself a little jittery and disorienting (I imagine if it weren’t running on iOS and on a PC, it would be a smoother experience), but the widespread accessibility of the app was necessary for Cybertwee’s inclusive focus. “It’s extremely important to us that this space isn’t reserved for an elite class who can afford expensive VR equipment,” Gabriella once told us. Cybertwee Headquarters is, fittingly, designed for everyone.
✨The Cybertwee Headquarters app is free on the App Store.✨