E-Kare, The Thursday Trader (2023)

Medium: HTML

Year: 2022/2023

Artist: E-Kare (Gerrit Jos van Beek, Piupiu Maya Turei)

Culturally loaded and communication coded.

Piupiu maya turei
ascii art of a cat saying 'satisfy me'.

Who is this cat? Looming and ominous, the cat demands we satisfy them. It felt like I’d opened up a chest and picked up Meridia’s Beacon. I didn’t anticipate the responsibility of this quest, but I had to stride forward!

The Thursday Trader is an interactive work created with HTML using ASCII design features. The work is focused on the ordinary need to fulfill basic life-giving functions and references a wider in-game world just out of reach.

In the 1990s, a precursor to Trade Me existed. Analogue, printed on A4 folded paper, The Thursday Trader was a stand-alone classifieds you could buy from the gas station. On Wednesdays, for two dollars you could buy the print out which had a range of items listed for sale. It was free to place your preloved goods and services in this newsletter and Jos affectionately remembers seeing an ad for a dirt bike and going to look at it with his Dad. Community newsletters have always been a powerful tool for the dissemination of information – whether digital or analogue.

In this work, the use of ASCII is an expression of love for early forms of digital language. With wide eyes and wry grins, Jos and I listened to my Dad talk about playing text-based computer games in the mid-1980s. The letter ‘D’ signifies a dragon, the letter ‘d’ signifies a dog. In The Thursday Trader there are hints of Blade Runner, Cowboy Bebop, the animated Æon Flux, among other things[1].

By memorising the cards you can work out how to “SATISFY THE CAT” but it’s easy to get sidetracked and have a giggle at the gleeful cards. The cards are all connected through the bliss of existence while smashing into the reality of capitalism. The tasks are almost impossible to be fulfilled as a human, amongst the noise of pressure of the world. The Thursday Trader provides a brief and slightly opaque respite from the sometimes uplifting, sometimes crushing realities of the mundane. Like real life, if you keep trying it will start to make sense.

Culturally loaded and communication coded. I might be disconnected from my body but my thoughts are uploaded almost entirely to my phone. 

Massive mihi to everyone who contributed to this project – Ted, Tokerau, Jay and Harriet!! Super stoked to have worked with yous, love yous lots!

Xoxox E-Kare (Jos+Piupiu)

Read the interview ‘Speedrunner Hero’ with E-Kare and Tokerau Teokotai Brown.

E-Kare is an art x music collective, usually consisting of Gerrit Jos van Beek and Piupiu Maya Turei. The project was brought into the world in 2016, with an installation / gig / house party at their flat in Te Whanganui-a-Tara. The Blooming Party featured the first E-Kare music set (Gameboy and SunVox) and two gaming stations – a PlayStation one with Spyro projected on the lounge wall and a computer on the landing next to the toilet. 

Since the inception of E-Kare, there has been a strong focus on three things – video game technology (particularly Nintendo handheld consoles), anti-capitalism and a hardcore DIY vibe. Recent shows include: E-Kasino (2020) at the Blue Oyster Project Space, Dankfest (2020) promoted by Dance Happy Doom Crew at the Crown Hotel, E-Kare and Cream Puff present in the pit of eternal potential by Cream Puff and E-Kare (2021) as part of Tinyfest.



[1] Bevis and Butthead, all the Zelda games, Marilynn Webb, Into The Breach, Waldemar Januszczak, Chris Wratt, StarCraft 2 competitive play, the games of Tokerau Brown, Best in Show, Philemina Cunk, the list goes on and on.