The word “wex” is a neologism but an Early Clues, LLC oldie dating back to at least 2014, and making another appearance according to casual Gimgle web searches in 2015’s Reading From the Book of Anthuor. I’m not sure I’d categorize either of those texts as “canonical” to Early Clues, but that itself is a hard thing to define that I won’t get bogged down in right now.

Though neither EC reference is completely comprehensible, they do offer insights into the evolution of the concept though, in that we see both a symbolic identification of the wex as being part of the Quatrian meta-divinity Matarax’s fabled web, but also cryptic statements such as the following:


So it seems clear that in my own imaginarium at least, wex has for some time – as a variant of “web” – indicated the connections, links, and relationships between things. A web of connections, often external.

That’s a long convoluted lead up to saying that I had this epiphany last week while working on a flat reed basket that has to do with the web and intertextuality. How the entire nature of the web is one vast intertextual fabric… where each “text” (to use the term expansively in a post-modernisty way) is shaped by and in turn shapes other texts to which it is linked.

There’s a quote/concept/paraphrase I first encountered via Cory Doctorow’s work, but which apparently dates to 2018 & Tom Eastman, that the web is basically just five giant websites, each one containing screenshots of the other four. Texts referencing other texts, passed back and forth, ad infinitum. From which, somehow, meaning is somehow woven, though that meaning may be highly variable depending on the viewer and their point of view, cultural context, and frame of references.

I guess I’d always thought prior to that about the web in terms of documents. Accounts. Feeds. Posts. The language of web publishing, and later social media. But I’d always thought of those artifacts, those things posted and accounts doing the posting as somehow discrete and separate analytical units. Yes, a user might have many posts on a topic. Or a document might explicitly hyperlink out to others. But it never struck me with such profundity that the web is one vast intertextual thing…

Where things reference other things – or are blocked from doing so by things like logins and paywalls. Gates (and gatekeepers) of all kinds and toll booth after toll booth erected on the information superhighway. Each with their hand out, asking for ransom to explore and find out more.

Wexes, then, become a kind of short had for this intertextuality, this deep inter-linking and cultural cross-referencing, this enmeshing and embedding holistically in socio-technical contexts… it’s a weave. That’s what struck me. It’s all woven together. Narratives. SEO. Propaganda. Fiction. Conspiracy theories. Hyperreality. History. Wexwork. An attempt to manipulate the warp and the weft, to pull things into or out of awareness and consequently existence and memory…

Generative AI too, it struck me, is entirely intertextual. Training data literally composed of other texts, analyzed for connections, boiled down into a slurry which can shoot or spew out new combinations from it. Deeply atomically interwoven intertextuality going in the direction of but perhaps even past Jaron Lanier’s call for a ‘Talmudic’ AI, where different and concordant opinions from a multiplicity of sources are discoverable and discussable… An intentionally intertextual AI, not unlike what I described in my fictional Continuity Codex, composed of all the knowledge of all the world’s libraries, accessible via thumb drive.

Anyway, these are big thoughts, which I guess is why it’s taken close to 10 years to understand what I have been just intuitively feeling out the shape of with my fingers in a dark underground chamber previous to this, and why being able to bring it into light – up out of the Hypogeum, if you will – feels so significant…