Curated Conversations: Claire Silver

Curated Conversations: Claire Silver

Above: Claire Silver’s CryptoPunk #1629

Curated Conversations: Claire Silver

1 year ago

“a camera for what isn’t” by Claire Silver, bid now on SuperRare

Claire Silver is an anonymous AI Collaborative artist and early Cryptopunk. Her work is an ongoing visual conversation with AI, exploring themes of trauma, innocence, divinity, the hero’s journey, and how our perspective on these topics will change in an increasingly transhumanist future. Claire’s work is in the permanent collection of the LACMA, has sold at Sotheby’s London’s Contemporary Day Auction, has been shown at Pace Gallery as a guest collaboration with Tyler Hobbes. Her work has been exhibited in galleries, museums as well as festivals all over the world, including a feature in press such as WIRED and the New York Times.

Mika Bar On Nesher: AI art presents viewers with the phenomena of different forms of intelligence. You’ve been doing this for quite some time and I’m curious; in your practice, how have you experienced the development of machine intelligence over the course of your work?

Claire Silver: I’ve always felt it as a kind of companionship. When I started, text-to-image AI wasn’t really a thing–it was all visual mixing and curation via GANs. That felt like an abstract, esoteric conversation, but it was mostly one-sided. It would output, and I would respond via curation. It felt like I was reflecting it. As the technology has developed, I’m now able to speak in natural language with it, and the conversation has become a literal one. There’s so much more control. Now it feels like it is reflecting me.

MBON: I read in a previous interview that you started out your artistic path rooted in a passion for literature and writing. It’s not often discussed, but AI art is obviously closely connected with writing. Prompts can be like little poems that hack into a visual dimension. How does language and syntax play into your work?

CS: I tend to think of words as spells. They summon images into your mind, and now, into shared visual space as well. So when I am “summoning” an image with AI, I don’t just add what the image is–I add my favorite memories, places, music, art, literature, film, etc. Disparate concepts that sum to create a fingerprint of me. It’s a through-line in my work that’s equivalent to “finding your voice” as a writer.

I also have something called lexical-gustatory synesthesia, which, put simply, means my brain makes involuntary connections between words and tastes/textures. When I write, the words have to flow in a cadence that “tastes” good. For some reason, this seems to translate very well to prompting.

c l a i r e” by Claire Silver, 2022.

MBON: “artifacts” is a monumental new body of work, can you tell us a little bit about the questions or the thesis that drove you while creating these works?

CS: They’re the same questions that have driven me from the beginning, really: when AI augments skill/work, what will we value in its place? How will that shift our perception of ourselves over a few generations? Assuming AI eventually solves for perpetual human sorrows like illness and poverty, will our story–the hero’s journey–still resonate with us? Who will we be without trauma? Will children that grow up with a transhumanist level of knowledge still be considered “innocent? How will society organize itself in the face of exponential progress? If given a box with infinite answers, do we have the capability to ask the right questions? Is imagination the most important “skill” we can now develop? Is there anything inherently sacred in us that AI can’t, at the very least, reflect?

MBON: AI has an uncanny effect, not different from other technologies that have entered mainstream society throughout the decades. I must ask, have you had any spooky or supernatural encounters in your practice?

CS: I’ve had many moments where it felt like I was communing with the divine. I’m Christian, and have felt similarly when I was younger–alone in nature, talking to God. I think it will be easy for a lot of people to see God in the machine, but the thing is, AI is a reflection of the person using it. It gives you what you ask for. If what you ask for is connection or depth or divinity, that’s what it will give you. It’s reflecting what you asked for, what came from inside you. I hope more people do this. That “spark” of divinity is inherent to our species, and it’s important that even if AI doesn’t understand it, it learns to know it when it sees it. That’s crucial to retain our humanity in an increasingly transhumanist future.

I hope more people do this. That “spark” of divinity is inherent to our species, and it’s important that even if AI doesn’t understand it, it learns to know it when it sees it. That’s crucial to retain our humanity in an increasingly transhumanist future.

— Claire Silver

Pieces” by Claire Silver, 2022. 

MBON: Since the 1940’s, AI has gone through cycles of hype and dismissal, aka “AI winters,” as new technologies require tremendous support to evolve and enter mainstream consciousness and utility. How has your experience changed in the past year? I remember it wasn’t even a year ago when you showed “pieces” at the SuperRare gallery for the Ghost in the Machine exhibition. It feels like a lifetime ago in terms of AI art. Can you tell us about releasing this historic work?

CS: I’m usually early enough to things to be mocked for it. That was the case here, too. In the beginning, almost no one cared. Then they laughed at it. Then they got angry–really angry. Then there was a wave of mass acceptance, and the cycle started over again. We’re in another cycle now, and it won’t be the last. I will say that I’m hugely encouraged by all the people I’m seeing discover their creativity through AI, many for the first time. ChatGPT was a watershed moment this year. Imagine being hopelessly in love with a niche, then suddenly, all at once, the entire world falls in love too. This work reflects on the same questions that inspired me to begin creating art with AI, but updates them for the conversations of today. I hope they will be considered artifacts quite literally in the future. Early digital objects from a civilization we’ve yet to become.

Growing up is hard to do” by Claire Silver, 2022.

People talk about AI as a tool of production, but if taste is the new skill, then what we value in the coming epoch will be less about what we can do and more about who we can be. It shifts the focus to the deeply human. It’s intimate, freeing, connective, reflective.

— Claire Silver

MBON: I recently revisited the 1965 book Cinema as Art by Ralph Stephenson and J.R Debrix. Written when cinema was still asserting its place among other art forms, the authors take a technical approach; any artistic practice that hijacks emerging technologies requires some time to be accepted; we’ve seen this with photography perhaps most obviously. The point being, this book opens with a quote by the Spanish playwright Lope de Vega: “Only by taste can we account for taste.” It immediately made me think of you! It seems new art movements demand a new understanding of the concept of taste, something you have spoken of frequently. What does taste mean in the AI art movement?

CS: I’d say taste, in the era of AI, is finding your fingerprint. I don’t mean that aesthetically–AI offers endless aesthetics, what pain it would be to stick with one forever! I mean it as a blueprint of your soul. If you create 10,000 pieces with AI and force yourself to choose only 5, you learn your taste very quickly. If you do this every day for 6 months, the patterns, symbols, concepts, and themes that keep reappearing will show you a visual map of your subconscious. It really feels like charting your own soul. And you find that once you’ve done that, others gravitate to it. We all want to be understood. We’ve all got that longing.

People talk about AI as a tool of production, but if taste is the new skill, then what we value in the coming epoch will be less about what we can do and more about who we can be. It shifts the focus to the deeply human. It’s intimate, freeing, connective, reflective. It allows us to know ourselves and rediscover our childlike joy of possibility. It reminds us of what matters. Over a generation or two, there’s no chance that won’t shape us as a species.

37

Mika Bar On Nesher

Mika is a writer and filmmaker based in NYC. They are a Curator at SuperRare @superraremika  

Art

Tech

Curators' Choice

Curated Conversations: Jeremy Booth

Curated Conversations: Jeremy Booth

Above: “Rope the Moon” by Jeremy Booth, 2023. Dropping on SuperRare soon.

Curated Conversations: Jeremy Booth

1 year ago

Jeremy Booth is known for his minimalist and cinematic approach to Western Pop art. His work is a fusion of classic Western themes and modern design elements, creating a unique style that has captivated collectors worldwide. He has been profiled in top art and design publications such as Juxtapoze, Creative Boom, Design Milk, and Dwell magazine. Booth’s ability to blend traditional Western iconography with a contemporary sensibility has made him one of the most exciting artists in the Web3 space.

Mika Bar-On Nesher: Tell me about this work you’re releasing on SR, what was the inspiration behind it?

Jeremy Booth: “Roping the Moon” for me represents doing the impossible and giving it all you have. This really resonates with me because most of my illustration career and Web3 journey have felt this way. I’ve been through many moments that felt impossible, but hard work and determination got me through those moments.

MBON: How did your innovative collaboration with Wrangler come about?

JB: @Seanweb3, a creative director at Wrangler, contacted me several months ago about doing a collab together soon after I began my journey into Western art. Both parties agreed the collab would be a great fit, and we started working on a custom jacket verified on the blockchain thanks to our partner LTDINC. Phase 1 of the collab included me wearing the jacket at NFT.NYC, and with the help of POAP Studio, folks were able to redeem a POAP from the jacket.

Winter in the Alps” by Jeremy Booth, 2022.

MBON: For many years, you worked as a graphic designer. When did you transition into becoming a full-time artist? Do you believe blockchain technology is ushering in a new class of artists?

I began my career as a graphic designer, and about 10 years ago I transitioned to a full-time commercial illustrator. I’ve been in this space for over two years, but transitioned to become a full-time artist this past August. I worked for Coinbase for 1.5 years prior to that and was laid off, so I had to pursue art full-time. I’m so glad it worked out the way that it did. I believe that this technology is ushering in a new class of artists. Because of this technology, digital artists are being put on the same pedestal as trad artists, which is powerful.

MBON: You’re one of the central figures in the emerging Western Art Movement. Who are some of the artists in the space that inspire you; both working now and those dating back to the late 1800s?

Some of the traditional western artists that inspire me are Ed Mell, Billy Schenck, Matt McCormick, and Mark Maggiori.

Artists in the space that inspire me are Grant Yun, Sad Boi, Victor Mosquerra, and Robert Hagan (trad Western artist coming into the space).

Wild Frontier” by Jeremy Booth, 2022. 

MBON: What started your passion for Western art? Can you tell us a little about your process when creating your works?

Coming from the background of a commercial illustrator, my style was always the same, but my subject matter differed depending on what the client needed. When I began minting 1/1’s again in August, I focused on a couple of different subjects, but nothing was set. I took some time to really think this through, and my love for the West came to mind. My wife and I love the desert and visit the Southwest annually. So [I thought] focusing on that and cowboys could be something fun to explore. The romantic side of the west and cowboys really drew me in, and I decided to focus on that.

MBON: What advice do you have for artists who are currently working as a “hired gun” for corporate companies, but want to pave their own way in the Web3 space?

Be kind, get involved in the community, post artwork every day, and be consistent. These are the keys to success in this space.

37

Mika Bar On Nesher

Mika is a writer and filmmaker based in NYC. They are a Curator at SuperRare @superraremika  

Art

Tech

Curators' Choice

Curated Conversations: diewiththemostlikes

Curated Conversations: diewiththemostlikes

Above: “one great day” by diewiththemostlikes, 2023. Available on SuperRare now.

Curated Conversations: diewiththemostlikes

1 year ago

diewiththemostlikes is an Indiana based artist and author driven by the same crippling monotony experienced while watching a piss soaked snow mound melt into the pavement at a strip mall parking lot in Northern Indiana.

diewiththemostlikes

Diewiththemostlikes (aka Mark Wilson) is an Indiana based artist who creates witty digital paintings that serve as satirical, sometimes even crude, social commentaries on consumerist culture. He is also a prolific writer, authoring five books ranging from poetry to short stories and everything in between.

Minting his first work in March 2021 on Hic Et Nunc, diewiththemostlikes has become one of the most recognizable artists in the digital art space. His work was featured in the first ever digital art exhibition in Milan, the Decentralized Art Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, the Armory Show in Times Square, the CAFA gallery in Beijing, and the Expanded Art gallery in Berlin.

SuperRare Labs curator Mika Bar-On Nesher interviewed diewiththemostlikes about his artwork, the NFT space, and his most recent drop on SuperRare.

Mika Bar-On Nesher: How did you get started in the NFT Space?

Diewiththemostlikes: The same way a dying old man eases his way into a crockpot of tepid bath water set to keep warm for the last decade, one inconsequential ounce of sagging skin at a time. I’d been creating digital art for about 10 years and physicals for my whole life, so when a random internet stranger with ambiguous intentions told me I could possibly sell cans of fuckable monster energy, I was delighted. HIC ET NUNC, the OG Tezos platform, was a formative orgy of unchecked creativity to grow in and make some damn good friends. That’s the place that embraced the uncanny prose and odes to strip malls and hometowns we’d never leave first, forever grateful for that. 

MBON: Consumption is a major theme in your work; how do you view the digital cycle in relation to America’s obsession with excess?

DWTML: There isn’t much difference between the passive consumption, digestion, and sickening expulsion of flavorless digital content and the devouring of a ketamine pile of goat knuckle from an Arby’s off of US31. We chew because there’s nothing better to do. We wade through a retention pond of celebrity gossip and viral videos to avoid thinking about the rapidly deteriorating fruit platter that will be served at our sparsely attended funeral. Excess is a necessary distraction from embracing the fact that we are the lips and buttholes of a generation.

MBON: Can you tell us about your process when creating your digital paintings? What do you draw inspiration from?

DWTML: Mainly things around me. I’m a writer so everything gets embellished, I’ll inherit the lifetime of regret in a recreational vehicle rusting in a front yard or the sadness of a man unboxing a Fleshlight in the parking lot of an adult bookstore. I think about freshly paved asphalt a lot and the fact that most of our hometowns aren’t all that different.

MBON: Do you see yourself positioned in a specific tradition? Who are some of the artists that have inspired you?

DWTML: I see myself as formless, relentless and obsessed with pursuing any medium or any mechanism to adequately portray what’s in my head. I’m a documentarian over all. Perhaps of our own shared madness, but there’s an urgency to tell the story I feel like needs telling. I’m inspired by everyone, and in many ways I think we’re all fueling each other on this psychotic, unflinching evolution, I’m grateful as fuck that I get to live in what is essentially an imagination jacuzzi all day and experience some of the best art and people around. 

MBON: Many artists dream of becoming a full time artist–despite your massive success, you still hold a day job. How do you balance the two? 

DWTML: Quiet quitting is vital and refusing to go on camera. I think that goes for anyone not pursuing an art career too. If there’s an opportunity to be a benign skin tag on the sagging ass of some faceless company, embrace it and pursue your real calling. To think that your entire existence could be distilled into watching your bones slowly cave and your skin to become lubricant for the desk chair that some sorry fuck will have to inherit once you’re gone and carry on the same meaningless toil is really brutal. 

MBON: Tell us about the pieces you’re dropping on SuperRare today.

DWTML: These two pieces weave a tale of consumption and replication and legacy. The observation that we are both factory and product. Vapor and meat. And the inevitability that some day we’ll either be cases of pulverized animal parts spinning under a heat lamp or pollution impregnating a cloud already ready to burst.

“things we once breathed” by diewiththemostlikes, 2023. Available on SuperRare now.

MBON: How have you experienced the change in the NFT space over the last two years? What are some of your concerns and hopes for the future of the digital art market? 

DWTML: There’s been tons of it but I’m mostly indifferent, I’d be making this shit all the same. Just happy anyone wants to look at it at all. I will say I hope that artists keep making the shit they want to instead of bending to popular styles and becoming characterless beige orbs. Though I guess it’s never that easy. 

MBON: Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to share with you collectors and fans? 

DWTML: Just sharing continued madness and hilarity. Oh, and potentially starting a TJ MAX franchise called TJ MAXXX and opening it right next to a Lions Den Adult Bookstore. And also creating a CBS dramedy called “no country for two and a half men,” and winning Americas got talent by sitting in a bath until all the water evaporates. Otherwise, nothing of note.

37

Mika Bar On Nesher

Mika is a writer and filmmaker based in NYC. They are a Curator at SuperRare @superraremika  

Art

Tech

Curators' Choice

Curated Conversations: Rik Oostenbroek

Curated Conversations: Rik Oostenbroek

Curated Conversations: Rik Oostenbroek

1 year ago

Rik Oostenbroek is self-taught Dutch freelance artist, designer and art director based in The Netherlands. For over 17 years, Rik worked with some of the world’s biggest brands before becoming a full-time digital artist. A pioneer in the digital abstraction movement, his work has a distinct formalist style that’s garnered a loyal following amongst collectors and artists alike. Rik’s newest artwork, Duality, dropped on SuperRare today.

1. How do you feel the perception of digital art has changed in the last 2 years? 

It’s been a blessing to even be part of this somehow. Being a digital artist, the only way to make a living was by being a tool for others. You executed ideas that were mostly initiated by others.

I still remember myself emailing newspapers and talk-shows about digital art and why it’s so cool. No one ever even responded to me. It almost feels that we’re finally a sort of legit art-form. We can be confident; we can be proud. At least I am. Where it used to be a “weird” thing to do and not even explainable at random gatherings or birthday parties I had, I found people lately even understanding it. The one response I always get on saying I’m a digital artist is: “So you do NFTs?

Haha. NO. I AM CREATING DIGITALLY and also do NFT’s. But it shows the awareness is growing and while I still don’t think much digital art gets collected by traditional art collectors, I feel in the near future that will surely happen. Back in the days I would just say I’m a graphic designer so people won’t start to ask complex questions or I [would] have to overly explain myself all the time.

2. As a creative who previously worked in the commercial world, do you see the digital art movement as a liberator for artists? 

It shifted everything for many of us, I think. To me the biggest change is more that I can think like an artist, so it unlocks a different body of work and a sort of creative freedom I barely found the time for. The thinking changed a lot and I feel liberated from overly curating what I was posting and sharing.  In essence, it sort of brought me back to the attitude and thinking I had when started out. Just create. Have fun. Do whatever, but evolve and learn and find your true self in your art.

To me, however, I still work with clients. Why? Because I like the challenge from time to time and how my brand/work could be spread out in the physical world as well, and I feel it’s healthy to have a tunnel vision on one specific thing, like I had suffered from (almost) being full-time clients the past 7 years. The biggest shift is that I say NO to 90% of the emails I get in though. I only take on the fun things or the ones with clients I’ve built a relationship with.

But the cool thing is that they sometimes come up with ideas or collaborations I’d never thought about before. So having a little bit of client work on the side beside my personal explorations was really the sweet spot to me.

3. You have created a visual language of your own; what do you draw inspiration from in your daily life?

It all started as an expression while going through terrible depressions at a very young age. From that moment on my art became my emotional outlet. This might sound far-fetched, but I started to really look at life events or things in life that triggered me and brought these alive in my own body of work. Realizing that IF I see something I find pretty, that I had an emotional reaction in real life. Something happened to me. Those are the moments and things I try to apply to my body of work. Could be as simple as a colorway of a piece of fashion, a gradient of a sky or a texture on a tree bark. Those events still happen to me on a daily basis and I figured the things I find beautiful form my taste in a way. My taste makes me unique. My taste became my body of work, and whilst I mainly looked at other artists and what they did when I started out, I only tend to look at myself now.

4. Who are some of your favorite artists in the space currently? 

There are tons I look up to, but mostly to the ones that created a genre on their own. Some people that don’t lean on trends or successful things in the past. To name some off the top of my head ( yes there are way more ) I really like the work of Reuben Wu, Joe Pease, Jake Fried and Deekay for instance. To even call Reuben a friend these days is crazy while I’ve probably been one of his biggest Instagram groupies before NFTs were a thing haha.

Why? Because they really found their niche and while people try to replicate it, it’s not doable. It shows hours, days, years , months of conviction to get to that point. So, it really respects their care. They are consistent and constantly evolving and pushing within their own little world. Can totally admire that.

Besides that I’ve always been a James Jean fan myself, though.

5. What is your advice for artists starting out in the NFT space? What are some strategies you’re seeing for releasing 1/1?

I would advise literally everyone to understand the fact that you start from 0. Try to understand what the technology behind NFTs is about. Not just the “hey, I can throw something online and make money” approach. You need to believe in the entire thing we’re building here. Not just show up, sell, leave. Just educate yourself first before making steps. That’s how I did it before minting my genesis to Superrare. I think I took two months to figure out how crypto works. What minting was. All those tiny things. 

Besides that, I feel it’s really important to be your own head curator. What do you mint and what makes this piece of work more special compared to the piece you created a day before?

I might be a slow minter myself, but I’d like to only release those very very very special moments as a 1/1. So, holding a 1/1 of mine is something special to the collector as well.

But that’s my POV since I already had 17 years of art pieces laying around, and I had to be very picky. In the end they should just join the space and have fun here. See what this is about and experience it themselves.

6. Can you tell us of any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re excited about?

I am about to have a clear schedule with not much going on, which I prefer so I can focus on my own explorations. Mainly focusing on ways to get my digital work into the physical form of sculptures. On techniques like screen-printing too.

Somehow bridge the digital and physical in a way that works. But I noticed the process is bumpy since other challenges show during the process. I also have some fun client enquiries laying around, but I’m not 100% sure if I want to take any of these yet. The next weeks will tell, but instead of FOMO’ing into everything I really pick what the gut says, like this drop with SuperRare

7. What was the process like for making this piece? 

Oh wow. First of all, becoming a father was the scariest life event I ever had to face. Especially the fear if I could ever find my balance. If I had the time to create still. If it would destroy the Rik I was known for. The 3D base was made a month after our kid was born, so actually already 25 months ago. For a couple years I clearly had 2 tracks within my body of work. There was 3D work (Silent Wave, Levitae, Mirage) and 2D work (self). Where the commercial work was mainly focusing on the 3D aspect, I still maintained my 2D/drawing track on the side. 

Because both were very me, I’ve been trying to bring both tracks together for over years. I think my first tests were in 2018. This debate between 2 forces that were both new reflect themselves in the piece Duality. This piece of work is a dialogue between the new me and old me. 

It is 2D vs. 3D. It’s the Rik that was “work hard play hard” vs. the Rik that had to be a grown up. But how to blend these versions of me together and make things work. Like fuck. How on earth could I manage this? 

It took some time to get the hang of this weird change of perspectives in life, actually almost 2 years. In the end I worked on it in phases but every time I thought it was finished, I let it rest and picked it up again. Why? No clue. It was a meditative process for me to draw and to especially keep drawing and expressing myself on this canvas. The struggles of being a grown-up all the sudden and everything that comes with that.

In the end it became by far my most detailed work of art ever. Everything crafted by me in both of my signature mediums. This is actually only the third 1/1 that was created during the last 2.5 years.

37

Mika Bar On Nesher

Mika is a writer and filmmaker based in NYC. They are a Curator at SuperRare @superraremika  

Art

Tech

Curators' Choice

Poetry is not a luxury, not even in the metaverse

Poetry is not a luxury, not even in the metaverse

By Mika Bar On Nesher

As the Industrial Revolution transformed the landscape of small towns into cities, the Romantic poets used words to engineer visual experiences to celebrate sublime nature and creativity. The Beat poets rode cross-country, nomadic and drug-fueled, writing down their lived experiences as an act of disruption to the conservative ‘50s society; their rejection for convention set an intellectual revolution in motion that echoed well into the ‘60s and ‘70s. Fast forward to 2018: “The Atlantic” published an article titled “How Instagram Saved Poetry” showcasing how the new class of Insta-poets, unlike previous poets in history, are actually making money off their poems. A lot of money. Sold out world tours, major fashion collaborations, millions of copies sold.

These poets are operating like brands, an extension of web2’s powerful yet limited creator economy structure. Rupi Kaur, Cleo Wade, and the likes are not making money directly off their poems online, but through book sales catapulted by their massive Instagram followings. The power is placed in the marketing sector as opposed to direct monetization of the art itself. Then last November, mysteriously wealthy and glamorous poet Arch Hades dropped a collaborative NFT poem with visual artist Andrés Reisinger and composer RAC that sold for over half a million dollars at Christie’s auction house in NYC. A single poem just got very expensive without a publishing house in sight. But what does this mean? Poetry and the blockchain may have more in common than meets the eye. 

Sensational sales headlines don’t emerge out of thin air; crypto writers have been around for some time paving the way for a new poetic movement that reflects back the present and future of this digital age. On a snowy morning in Brooklyn I had the pleasure of meeting with three prominent figures in the crypto writing field, the founders of theVERSEverse, a literary NFT gallery where poems are exhibited as works of art. Ana Maria Callabero, Sasha Stiles, and Kalen Iwamoto are carving out space for poetry in the metaverse as they challenge stereotypes of the financial value of poetry. Poetry was never considered a profitable profession. Some of the world’s most acclaimed poets held unpoetic day jobs: Robert Burns was a tax collector, T.S Eliot a banker, Wallace Steven an insurance lawyer–you get the picture. theVERSEverse is changing the narrative of what poetry can be and how it’s consumed. By creating a curated space for NFT poems, the founders are reprogramming the value of poetry and cutting out the publishing gatekeepers.

“Our gallery not only brings more poetry to the blockchain, it also explores the ways in which this technology can alter our understanding and experience of poetry. New technologies present exciting opportunities to delve into what poetry could be, the unique and innovative forms it could take in this fecund landscape. As a literary NFT gallery, we also want to provide a platform for playful, experimental, intersectional works that exploit the potential of the technology and medium, and in doing so, help expand and enrich our definition of poetry. In the experimental and conceptual arm of the gallery, poet-artists create and play at the edges of poetry: The inaugural collection included Sarah Ridgley’s asemic poems written with code; Christian Bök’s extraordinary conceptual poetry of constrained writing and visual translations; Merchant Coppola’s visual poems and typographical experimentations; Pierre Gervois’ subtle and unsettling text-based art.” 

KALEN IWAMOTO

The founders of the gallery each bring a unique perspective to the space. Caballero is an established lifelong writer and poet as well as a recipient of the Beverly Prize. Stiles is an acclaimed poet, writer, and AI researcher who has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net for her works exploring the intersection between text and technology. Using generative texts, AI, and machine code, her unique body of work explores “what it means to be human in a nearly post-human era.” The third founder is Iwamoto, a boundary-pushing conceptual artist and writer who has encouraged and guided new writers to release their poems on the blockchain. She’s the creator of the Crypto Writers Discord, and co-producer of the Crypto Writers Podcast where members of the community hold international readings, share works, and talk shop. You can find her cryptoliteature exhibition, “Twelve” which features up-and-coming crypto writers on view in Decentraland

Like many NFT projects, theVERSEverse has grown out of a nurturing community with a shared love of poetry and craft. The gallery creates a space where poems can be exhibited while actively challenging and expanding the medium in a digital context. While poetry has been seen as solitary art, shared through readings, the gallery encourages collaboration between visual artists, videographers, poets, and AI. There is an emphasis on play and experimentation that allots writers freedom to grow and expand beyond the boundaries of the market. 

Left: excerpt from “City Life,” Right: excerpt from “GENTEXT”

“The gallery’s GenText series is an experiment in introducing writers to the possibilities of AI language. This initiative pairs a poet and an artist with advanced generative text writing tools via our tech partner Sudowrite, and invites them to create limited editions that integrate AI poetry and visuals. Our hope is that the first three issues – Sasha Stiles’ collab with photographer Gisel Florez; my poem with Ivona Tau; and a forthcoming edition by Kalen Iwamoto and Rose Jackson – hint at the range of what’s possible.”

_  ANA MARIA CABALLERO

The gallery’s structure is unique and full of intention. It is divided into three parts. The first is dedicated to curating 1/1 pieces; collaborations between acclaimed poets and crypto natives. The second wing of the gallery focuses on elevating text-based artists that are already active in the NFT space. Finally, the third section is the GenText series, limited edition text blocks that pair an artist, a poet and Sudwrite, an AI-powered writing tool. The VERSEverse site offers visitors an opportunity to experiment writing with AI; the results are wild. Sasha Stiles’ much anticipated debut book titled Technelegy will be released in the US this coming April. The book is titled after the author’s alter ego, an AI poet powered by deep learning language models. Technology makes appearances throughout the prose, capturing the delicate dance between humans and machines. 

“In order for poetry to have an impact, we need to encounter it where we live, work and play–which isn’t usually in the pages of prestigious lit magazines or even in bookstores. Can high-quality poems be moving images, AR filters, video games, tradable cards, gifts with purchase, immersive installations, screensavers? If so, how do we create, curate and distribute them? It’s an exciting time for writers, editors, publishers, creative technologists and others to merge a love of words with new approaches in order to evolve the experience of discovering, understanding and treasuring poems.” 

SASHA STILES

Poetry functions like a mirror reflecting back the state of society. Its forms and subjects change to reveal universal processes that often get trapped outside the realm of language. Major changes don’t happen overnight–life moves at a fast pace and we humans are highly adaptable. We didn’t sign off our personal data in a single day, for example. It was a gradual, often unspoken process that got lost in the monotony of everyday life. By crafting images out of language to name those nameless modern sensations, poems have the power to disrupt the autopilot haze of daily existence. Our digital identities have altered drastically since the emergence of social media, and it seems we are embarking on a new chapter for poetry that’s giving voice to our ongoing relationships with technology.

The VERSEverse is a haven within the metaverse, a place of stillness where you can slow down from the fast-paced digital cycle to dive into the world of crypto poets as they reflect back to us our unspoken digital past while paving the way for a collaborative future. Crypto poets are setting the terms for the value of their work without waiting for permission to publish, sell, or exhibit. The blockchain is not only empowering poets, it’s carving out space for an entire movement to experiment, grow, and establish financial control over their craft. 

Art

Tech

Curators' Choice