Cold Techno-Trinkets & Stale Air

Crypto Art Aug 30, 2020

The crypto art world is always teeming with interesting thought and unlike the keeping mum that largely pervades the traditional art world, most crypto artists will happily and publicly paint the social networks with their thinking.

Sometimes this thinking is some cruft from the traditional art or design worlds, except it gets charged up with the dubious energy of contemporary technology. A large subset of crypto artists feel totally at home all watched over by machines- no doubt finding synchronicity with the GPU fans in their glorious little render ovens while twiddling the parameters of their latest Cinema 4D or ZBrush masterpieces.

How many levels of undo can you work without?

obxium. "Cinema 4D Has a Posse," 2020 (SuperRare)

Oh hi— it's another Shepard Fairey knockoff by the ever sarcastic obxium. Except this time it is about a specific piece of software, complete with some statistics no doubt obtained by the first result in Googling "cinema 4d price".

Unlike Andre The Giant however, one would not expect too many folks to be jazzed about your boring blue mannequin bust thing that you learned to pose and texture just before popping out a PNG and minting it. Alas, this is the story with a great deal of 3D crypto art.

Hello, I am an award winning designer, but let me tell you about my innovative newsletter "What art is and is not about..."

Statements of innovation, oh my... This proclamation sounds more like the soulless business jargon of  your average Silicon Valley startup cog than something that you would ever expect to see written by an artist.

What next- should all artists also work 140 hours a week because you do?

Is an artist who uses the wrong technology suddenly not innovative enough to be relevant?

Wait, that person has not won as many awards as you- I guess we should not take them seriously as an artist then?

Do you have an artist's statment or is it a white paper?

Oh no! this one is expressing feelings; there is no way they can be an artist if they're doing that!

Bro, do you even human?

Art is not about feelings and expressing the self?

If your art is always technically proficient, but reminiscent of soulless robot parts, or consists of novelties and animations for the sake of exercising some academic formula or the feature set of the latest expensive three dimesnional set dressing software, then yes — yes, that kind of "art" is certainly not about feelings or expressing a damned thing (except maybe the joy and privilege of owning and operating superior technology).

Pak. "Rubik's Misery," [detail] 2020 (SuperRare)

It is a cube.

The cube floats in a monochromatic doom vibe, gets rotated, cut up — boom, CANTILEVER! Would you just look at the commutator structure on this smelted down android leg? It is so utterly mesmerizing and the quasi Damascus Steel texturing is simply almost totally realistic. Watch out collectors and critics alike; this thing could straight up twist around with enough artistic energy to bore somebody to death!

The actual animation is not presented here in the name of internet bandwidth and resource conservation, but you can view it on SuperRare, where it sold to collector Whale Shark Pro aka "notinuse" 7 months ago for a casual 25 ETH ($5,625 at the time).

It's funny, because there is this strong shared notion among many artists that as an artist, one must create in order to simply survive. Creating art is a form of mental and spiritual therapy to many artists. Yet for these techno-elitist artists, the struggle is about who has mastered the latest tool or absorbed the newest literature, or how many PhDs you have.

Really though, this stone cold take that "Art is not about likes, feelings and expressing the self," is without doubt some of the saddest and burnt-out thinking about art to materialize in this space in the last two years.

Even still, what can we learn from it?

Hot Takes

Angie Taylor had some excellent questions.
Oficinas TK is one of several established crypto artist to disagree with the Pak philosophy of art.
Nash is right; this line of reasoning is straight up grim.

The statement is certainly grim and even strong, but more importantly controversial. Of course, it is important that every artist maintain an air of controversy lest they lose their shiny metal glow and become irrelevant or tarnished.

"I'll take 'Unanswered Questions for $1000 please, Alex."

More replies

Seems like a great topic for a future debate by real art philosophers...

If you found this article interesting, please share it with a friend and donate to Alpacawhal.

Tell them Alpacawhal sent you...

Tags

Great! You've successfully subscribed.
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.