Lawrence Horn: psychedelic digital origami goes NFT

Lawrence Horn: psychedelic digital origami goes NFT

Lawrence Horn by Harmon Leon

Lawrence Horn: psychedelic digital origami goes NFT

5 months ago

Photographer Lawrence Horn was born in NYC during the 1940s. He made his mark in the photo world through his psychedelic visuals inspired by the bohemian energy of the East Village, which he moved to in 1967.

Horn, whose background is in academics, first picked up a camera in 1973. The game changer was when he discovered infrared film – the format which he primarily shot on until he packed up his photography gear in 1986. Now, decades later, Horn is launching his first SuperRare NFT drop: The Digital Archive. With some of the Archive already available on OpenSea, the project brings his psychedelic work to the blockchain, bridging analog with digital.

Horn’s NFT drop is due to mere fate; synchronicity if you will – the planets in alignment.

His work was hidden in a storage locker, under lock and key since the mid 80s, and it was only because of a chance encounter that his photography is now being rediscovered after more than 35 years.

But more on that later…

Lawrence Horn by Harmon Leon

Psychedelic Without Drugs

If you look at Horn’s trippy, color-sprayed photos, it’s hard to believe that the man stopped taking drugs in 1971.

“I had tried psychedelics a few times,” he explains. “I said, ‘I get it. I don’t need being high – it’s counterproductive.’”

Infrared photography became Horn’s drug of choice. The medium allowed him to have psychedelic trips–minus the acid.

“My psychedelic experiences always were focused on nature or outer reality,” Horn says. “I didn’t go inside myself because that was classic archetypal mush. I wanted to find something that I could embody my ideas [with], not just write about them.”

 

“Demonic Theater” by Lawrence Horn

“Cosmic Golden Egg” by Lawrence Horn

For Horn, infrared is a heightened sensory experience; where energy erupts, and color is intensified and radiates out, capturing the moment a heat wave explodes into light.

Infrared makes part of the invisible spectrum visible.  

“It doesn’t make the cosmic world come into focus, but in terms of a retinal experience, it’s a frequency that we can’t see, but we can feel as heat,” he says. “So, we have a synesthetic experience.”

Horn would interplay his process by utilizing crystal filters to double the images – while the atmosphere at sunset would act as a light filter and create auras, depth, and shades of color. “The third eye allowed me to lock down and understand energy and nature at a more sublime or spiritual level,” he says. The end result: “An engraving of a specific type of energy that is solar and becomes visible through the film.”

Into the Storage Locker

Before dropping the mic on the photography world in 1986, Horn’s final project was capturing the East Village art scene. 

“I had photographed Warhol. I photographed Basquiat. I photographed Keith Haring,” he says. Additionally, Horn photographed Richard Hambleton, a key street artist of the ‘80s whose eerie shadow-creations was one of Banksy’s main inspirations. (Hambleton also outlived his contemporaries – but never got the eternal fame that the others did.)

For Horn, this seemed like the place to bookend his photography career. 

“I was going back to the East Village and doing my thing with the artists.” In 1986, Horn took his entire body of work – roughly 6,000 slides – and put them away in the storage locker, closing the curtain on his photography career.

Lawrence Horn by Harmon Leon

“I had done it. [I said,] ‘I’ll store it very carefully. And let’s see what happens,’” he expresses. “I was really not interested in galleries,” Horn explains, which makes this Emily Dickinson-esque construction all the more poetic. Rather than change for the art market, he decided to put his work to rest until the art market caught up to him. 

Thus, into the storage locker went the photos. And that’s where thousands of Horn’s slides remained for almost four decades.

A Vivian Maier Moment

“My temple is Tompkins Square Park,” says Horn – referring to the inspirational patch of nature in the Lower East Side. Galleries once dotted the park’s circumference, filled with the works of Basquiat and Haring.  

Since Horn is now retired, he spends his days enjoying the scene through fresh, but experienced eyes. “I go to the park where I have a combination of nature and culture and birds and kids and memories.” On one such sojourn, in the summer of 2020, Horn encountered a woman sitting on a bench drawing in a notebook.

I noticed something about her,” he says. “It’s very hard to describe. I tend to see auras. I tend to see vibrations; not colors or anything, just vibes…that’s how I approach my photography. For me, a girl sitting on the bench is part of nature.”

Horn struck up a conversation. The woman turned out to be a roommate of Ryan Hall, the man behind the Bustani Project.

This chance park encounter led the woman to show Horn’s portfolio to Hall. After seeing the photos, Hall realized he had just walked into a Vivian Maier-esque moment. He suggested that they go to the storage locker and look through the archives.

“It was a very cramped space. And all I had was a loupe,” says Horn. “I held up to the light 6,000 slides.”

Horn had never really reviewed his photo slides when he originally shot them. “I flipped out,” says Horn. “I was blown away by the slides, as was Ryan, as most people were, because these were done in the early eighties.”

When Hall looked at Horn’s images, the first thing that caught his attention was the other-worldly colors. And then: “It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I started to focus on the subject matter and ask questions about the imagery,” Hall says. “That’s when I realized this body of work was unlike anything I had ever seen or heard of before – almost every single image was historical, complex, mystical, and radiating crystalized solar vibrations.”

The other discovery Hall made was Lawrence’s living scenario. He shared a cramped apartment with an old friend – where he was sleeping on a wooden platform with an air mattress on top. At night, he had to step over his friend, who slept in the living room, just to get to the bathroom. 

Horn’s East Village Apartment

“It was extremely difficult to see him in that situation – but he never made a single complaint about it once,” says Hall. “He loved being in the East Village, even if it meant being in that situation.”

Digital Origami

For their first NFT drop back in November, it took Horn and Hall four months to go through the slides. The outcome: “All sixty sold out in three hours when Ethereum was pretty high,” says Horn, who previously never knew what an NFT was. “It was amazing.”

“He’s happy to have upgraded,” says Hall. “I know he’s beyond excited to really settle into a new home. We’re hoping for a big breakthrough soon.” 

The upcoming SuperRare drop involves five slides.

The distinction from the previous drop: Hall had a vision on how the digital could interface with the images. The process involved putting Horn’s images into Photoshop, and then taking either side and copying and pasting it onto the other side; thus, blending analog and digital.

Hall coined the process as ‘digital origami.’

“It’s folded once and then it’s folded again, so that every single side is supported,” says Hall. “It’s literally just making it symmetrical.” The result creates an entirely new psychedelic effect that evolves Horns ‘73-’86 photo work into the NFT world. “What we’re doing is so new that there’s no pre-established horizon,” says Horn, “We’re taking a deep cut into nature, and we are using the fold to liberate that original energy from the eighties.”

“Spectral Earth” by Lawrence Horn

“Primal Light” by Lawwrence Horn

The Golden Egg

Horn feels that his photos that were locked away in storage for over 35 years have now aged like a fine wine. “This is more than psychedelic–this is transformative,” he says. A good example of this analog/digital technique is the golden Faberge egg-looking creation. Originally, this was an infrared photo of a clump of trees in Central Park that Horn photographed at sunset.

“I don’t know how, but it became a golden egg surrounded with diamonds,” professes Horn. “By folding the image, it actually released the energy, which was not visible in a single slide. That to me is magic,” Horn says, stating it blew his mind (in a good way) when he first saw the results. “We created the egg from living nature,  spontaneously…It’s really far out to think about it.”

And the timing and experience of meeting Hall has opened new potentials for Horn.  

“I have 5,000 slides,” concludes the 78-year-old artist. “Each slide can take eight forms. You can imagine the quantity and quality of things that can come from this.”

 

32

Harmon Leon

Harmon Leon is the the author of eight books—the latest is: 'Tribespotting: Undercover (Cult)ure Stories.' Harmon's stories have appeared in VICE, Esquire, The Nation, National Geographic, Salon, Ozy, Huffington Post, NPR’s 'This American Life' and Wired. He's produced video content for Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, Timeline, Out, FX, Daily Mail, Yahoo Sports, National Lampoon and VH1. Harmon has appeared on This American Life, The Howard Stern Show, Last Call With Carson Daly, Penn & Teller’s Bullshit, MSNBC, Spike TV, VH1, FX, as well as the BBC—and he's performed comedy around the world, including the Edinburgh, Melbourne, Dublin, Vancouver and Montreal Comedy Festivals. Follow Harmon on Twitter @harmonleon.

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“Cosmic Love”: the journey from Burning Man to NFT drop

“Cosmic Love”: the journey from Burning Man to NFT drop

Above: “Cosmic Love”

“Cosmic Love”: the journey from Burning Man to NFT drop

6 months ago

“Like a beacon of hope and love, merging metal sculptures, lights, digital art and video, this work is a peek into my obsession with Magical Realism,” says Michael Benisty. Originally from Belgium, Benisty’s work has made a splash at galleries in Europe and Shanghai–as well as Art Basel, Burning Man, and numerous boutique hotels. He’s perhaps best known for large scale sculptures he’s been building and exhibiting over the last 15 years.

Now, this man of artistic metal has entered the NFT space, with his first SuperRare drop: “Cosmic Love.”

“Cosmic Love”

The project explores the different forms relationships take through the embodiment of a large stainless steel physical sculpture installed in the Nevada desert, and then documented over a 24-hour period.

“Cosmic Love” is the ideal storm; the art flows between the physical and digital realm as it morphs the two worlds together. “It could represent everybody, and every relationship–in the stages that we all go through, whether it’s in love or friendship,” says Michael.

“Cosmic Love” is also a family affair, a collaborative effort with his brother Steve.

Michael is the designer while Steve does the videography and visual documentation.

“The perfect combination for me to use my passion for film and digital–and use it to tell Mikey’s stories through his creation, his cultures,” Steve states.

INTO THE DIGITAL  

Jumping into the NFT world wasn’t a big stretch for Michael.

“Everything starts with a digital file anyway,” he explains. “That’s how we scale and balance the model and make sure that the sculpture that we’re going to enlarge and build is ready to go,” he adds, regarding creating his massive physical artwork.

Still, Michael found a creative Pandora’s box opened by his induction into the NFT space.

“It’s another outlet for us to tell the same story we’ve been telling with those monumental sculptures, which represents connectivity, togetherness, and love.”

MICHAEL BENISTY

ORIGIN STORY: “COSMIC LOVE” WAS SPAWNED IN THE DESERT

Over the past few years, Michael’s main creative muse has been Burning Man. The art festival held in the Black Rock desert in Nevada brings together the best of humankind– from naked people and ravers to families and art enthusiasts (as well as supermodels, billionaire tech bros, and Paris Hilton), they all congregate on a landscape that looks like the surface of Mars.

Michael first shared his monolithic artwork on the playa in 2017 and found it a game changer. An interactivity was sparked between people and his work: joy, sadness, even couples getting married in front of his sculptures.

Before Burning Man: Michael felt that “all pieces were unique and beautiful looking, but they weren’t really telling a message and [didn’t] have the storyline attached to it.”

After Burning Man: Michael realized the direction he wanted to take; he started using the form of couples in his large-scale artwork.

AND THEN COVID STRUCK

The pandemic was a curse but also a blessing for the inception of “Cosmic Love.”

How the creative sausage was made: When Covid hit, all normal places to exhibit art were shut down. The Benisty brothers, then, turned to digital platforms – which opened up new opportunities to present their work.

The topper? Michael had a massive sculpture ready to roll. Except now, there was no Burning Man festival to be had.

The 25-foot metal sculpture features a couple with faces coming together: “Awoken from the illusion of separateness, our souls have merged. Transcending all boundaries we share the same destiny. A deep sense of peace pervades our consciousness. No space or time, just an unbounded eternity. We are one.”

10,000 holes were drilled into the sculpture and lights were added. 

“Cosmic Love” up close

“At night they light up like a galaxy,” says Michael. “Galaxies collide and collapse into each other, just to form bigger galaxies.”

 

And thus spoke Zarathustra; since Burning Man was canceled, they brought the sculpture to the empty desert anyway and documented it.

“In our head it was Burning Man… the inspiration comes from Burning Man,” says Michael.

So, the Benisty brothers and their crew embarked, in 2021, on their artistic journey, not realizing that the process would become a Spielberg-esque nightmare.

We went in the late fall to the Nevada desert. There was nobody there. It was freezing.”

Once the crew got the sculpture up, the desert logistics of the two-day shoot turned into a climate-induced debacle. The first night, they couldn’t shoot because it started raining and there was potential for flash floods.

“It was panic,” They recall. “People were like ‘You gotta get out of the desert. You’re crazy to be there.’”

“Cosmic Love”

But, the crew ended up staying an extra day, and documented the sculpture for 24 hours via video, drones, and time-lapse. And then they packed up and got the hell out of there due to another storm afoot.

Because in a desert: “If there’s five inches of water – you’re stuck there for months. Our trucker came in that morning. He was panicked. He said, ‘Guys, I don’t think we can get the piece out of here.’”

Leaving behind their 25-foot metal sculpture was not an option; thus, they worked a frantic 12 hours to get the piece out of the desert, just mere hours before rain flooded the playa to biblical proportions.

With disaster skirted, the result: “We edited it into a one-minute piece of all the footage that we got with this piece. We then added digital works to it.”

For “Cosmic Love” in its final version, the brothers added layers of otherworldly planets and shooting stars behind the artwork, mixing original footage with digital to create a poetic piece about the sculpture and connectivity within the desert landscape.

SOOTHSAYING THE NFT FUTURE

Despite the disastrous weather conditions, Michael is very grateful about the entire process of creating “Cosmic Love.”

“It was a surreal experience,” he says regarding filming in the festival-less Black Rock desert. “It gave us an opportunity to shoot this piece without all of the craziness and madness of Burning Man.”

Still, Michael is happy Burning Man is coming back this year: “There’s a difference between bringing something to an empty desert with no one to experience it.”

“Cosmic Love”

But through this process, Michael sees the potential of the NFT space, where now at future Burning Man festivals, the Benisty brothers could project digital artwork inside their massive metal sculptures.

“That’s the future… and it’s only going to be accelerated by more and more of the fusion and immersion of these worlds that are ultimately all one at the end of the day,” says Michael, adding: “Much more amazing magic to come in the future, especially with NFTs.”

“We have a following of our physical pieces and we’re building a community now with our digital work,” says Michael. “This is an opportunity right now because we’re still in the early stages of this.”

In 2021, to ensure the festival had the funds for its 2022 events, Burning Man auctioned artworks in partnership with Sotheby’s, and the pieces up for sale included NFTs. As the time when hundreds of devotees flock to the playa steadily approaches, and as NFTs have seen a growing presence at music and art festivals, it’s fitting that the Benisty brothers, staples of the scene, are leading the way.

20

Harmon Leon

Harmon Leon is the the author of eight books—the latest is: 'Tribespotting: Undercover (Cult)ure Stories.' Harmon's stories have appeared in VICE, Esquire, The Nation, National Geographic, Salon, Ozy, Huffington Post, NPR’s 'This American Life' and Wired. He's produced video content for Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, Timeline, Out, FX, Daily Mail, Yahoo Sports, National Lampoon and VH1. Harmon has appeared on This American Life, The Howard Stern Show, Last Call With Carson Daly, Penn & Teller’s Bullshit, MSNBC, Spike TV, VH1, FX, as well as the BBC—and he's performed comedy around the world, including the Edinburgh, Melbourne, Dublin, Vancouver and Montreal Comedy Festivals. Follow Harmon on Twitter @harmonleon.

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Bodymades: the essence and anatomy of David Cronenberg’s latest NFT

Bodymades: the essence and anatomy of David Cronenberg’s latest NFT

Above: “Inner Beauty”

Bodymades: the essence and anatomy of David Cronenberg’s latest NFT

6 months ago

Clustered atop a matte aluminum table, eighteen stones of varied sizes and textures form a constellation ranging in hue from pale cream to rich hickory. One may imagine that this group of objects is an arrangement of souvenir sedimentary rocks gathered during a sand-strewn getaway, visualizing the delighted collector pocketing the jagged orbs, each with its own unique structure and grain, like gypsum rose scattered about the path of a desert stroll. If only their acquisition were so idyllic. These tightly bunched, beige-toned relics are actually kidney stones personally collected over the course of a two-year period by acclaimed film director David Cronenberg, and the photograph depicting them is the primary element of his second NFT, titled “Inner Beauty.”

Cronenberg, widely known for his seminal contributions to the body horror film genre, returns to SuperRare with a new work that makes reference to his cinematic exploration of the grotesque, while also aiming to highlight the natural artistry of the human body. The piece was conceived on a whim as the Toronto-based director was engaged in conversation with a friend regarding their shared affliction with kidney stones. His friend was anxious about the inevitability of their passing, but Cronenberg had already endured the ordeal many times over. Having collected them in a pill bottle, an act that unconsciously mimicked the creation of the Brundle Museum of Natural History from his film, “The Fly,” Cronenberg poured the tiny mineral deposits, the largest measuring 5mm in diameter, onto a table and snapped a photo to send to his friend. In doing so, he was struck by their natural allure. “When I looked at the photo I thought, ‘this is oddly beautiful.’ It’s strange. It looks like sea creatures.” In that moment, an intentionality was sparked and he began looking at the arrangement with new eyes, testing multiple camera lenses to find the best one for magnifying and capturing the tiny stones.

“The Fly” (1986) dir. David Cronenberg

Cronenberg recognizes that he often returns to previously explored concepts as new technologies and awareness develop, a practice that he linked back to the New York underground filmmakers of the 1950’s and ‘60s. In that light, it comes as no surprise that the title of this NFT directly references a line from his 1988 film, “Dead Ringers,” in which one of Jeremy Irons’ twin characters laments the fact that there are no beauty contests for the inner landscape of the human body. The director paraphrased the character’s statement with a pertinent question: “Why don’t we have an aesthetic for the inside of our bodies? Because that is of our essence as well.” 

With “Inner Beauty,” Cronenberg shifts the conception of kidney stones away from their being indicators of some dysfunction within the body, instead finding wonder and excitement in the body expressing itself as a result of what one has ingested. In fact, marveling at the mysterious feats of the human body was something potentially in his subconscious when the photograph was taken. He’d recently wrapped filming his upcoming movie, “Crimes of the Future,” which features a performance artist who performs surgery on himself, publicly extracting new organs with no known function. While he was reluctant to reveal too much about the new film, it is apparent that the keenly creative director is very much interested in the duality of the grotesque as simultaneously macabre and beautiful, always allowing for abundant breadth within that spectrum.

“Discussions of the human body in my filmmaking have nothing to do with genre. It doesn’t have to do with horror film or not horror film, gangster film, whatever. It has to do with my constant exploration of what it is to be a human being. What is the human condition? And for me it’s always body-centric.”

DAVID CRONENBERG

“Dead Ringers” (1988) dir. David Cronenberg

With “Inner Beauty,” Cronenberg offers a new kind of story, one that is decidedly more personal than any other of his offerings. In the Artist’s Statement, titled “Kidney Stones and Inner Beauty,” which accompanies the primary image of the NFT, he writes, “I see in these kidney stones a luminous narrative generated by a group of my inner organs, a narrative as intimate as a person could imagine.” Indeed, it doesn’t get much more intimate than objects formed by and within one’s own body, and in fact, the artist offers to take it a step further, having expressed his willingness to provide the owner of the NFT with the collection of physical kidney stones. “I mean, it’s got my DNA in it. That’s certainly true. So that’s an issue in this case—I guess any art object, a sculpture that a sculptor has done, you’d think it would have their DNA on it, just physically.”

But the existence of the physical objects begs a question: why choose to mint this photo as an NFT, as opposed to offering the physical kidney stones on a traditional marketplace? The answer comes down to presentation. While he could easily hand the stones to a buyer, he views the photo as the primary element of the piece. It captures and highlights the beauty of the stones as art objects and is supported by his accompanying statement; the resulting combination of these elements can be best packaged and presented as an NFT. He asserts that it is the context in which the work is presented that makes it art. 

“It really opens up again the question of, and it’s very fascinating, where is the value in a work of art? Is it in its physicality? In its meaning? Is it in its ownership?” 

DAVID CRONENBERG

“Fountain” by Marcel Duchamp

“Robness Urinal” by Max Osiris

While Cronenberg recognizes that kidney stones may not fit the normal concept of art, he maintains that by intentionally removing them from their original context and providing a new one, they are elevated to this status, making a conscious nod to Duchamp’s readymades and perhaps, though inadvertently, the more recent Trash Art movement, where artists appropriate found digital imagery in a manner Duchamp would approve of. Calling attention to the exciting and unimaginable prospects that new innovations like blockchains and VR can afford the art world, Cronenberg largely embraces the possibilities of the future while keeping an eye on the fundamental questions that have always existed within artistic exploration. “For me,” he stated, “the whole NFT thing induces a wonderful philosophical investigation of what the reality of art is.”

20

Collin Frazier

Collin Frazier is a Brooklyn-based writer, podcaster, and mixologist. He obtained his MFA from The New School and his work can be found in Epiphany Magazine.

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Vexx’s SuperRare drop has eyes on crypto culture

Vexx’s SuperRare drop has eyes on crypto culture

Above: “data privacy” by stockcatalog licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Vexx’s SuperRare drop has eyes on crypto culture

7 months ago

Vexx and “MOON”

Vexx’s first drop on SuperRare is a dynamic NFT merging the physical and digital mediums to create a hybrid work that will continue to evolve over time. Since starting out as a Youtuber six years ago, the 23-year old artist has accumulated 3 million Youtube followers and 825K Instagram followers. In his videos he provides viewers with access to his work process and unique worldview. He has a massive community supporting his work, and for good reason. People may wonder what the hype about Vexx is, until they watch one of his videos and realize his talent and individuality are undeniable. Never taking the obvious route, Vexx is constantly challenging his audiences to look at the world in a more creative light–he is a storyteller both on paper and on screen. He explains how before NFTs existed, artworks used to have a beginning and an endpoint. That’s all changing now as dynamic NFTs can be programmed to evolve long after they leave the artist’s studio. 

“My first collection was an introduction for me to see what’s possible. More of animating my works on paper. The second drop, ‘METADRAGON,’ was a big one because it’s the first time I paired the digital with the physical. It was an eye-opening moment, seeing how art can come to life in so many different ways because of NFTs and the possibilities of smart contracts.” 

VEXX

The NFT medium reinvigorated Vexx’s artistic practice, opening up new channels of experimentation and expression. Though he’s only been officially active in the NFT scene since April of 2021, his past drops have made headlines. His first 1/1, “METADRAGON,” sold for $41,000 and was paired with an accompanying sculpture. 

“MOON” by Vexx

Having stayed true to the physical format, Vexx is finding new ways to bridge the physical and digital works in his second 1/1 NFT, “MOON.” The NFT will feature original music from Belgium producer Chuki Beats. Like in his previous drop, the auction winner will receive a physical sculpture in addition to the digital artwork. A product of a months-long, labor-intensive process, the final digital statue is a colorful skull-like face, hand-painted with acrylics and sculptured with a laser cutting technique. In the place of the eyes are two paper-thin, 17-inch screens. Vexx has written his own smart contract that uses WiFi to communicate with the screens to show the real-time changing price of Ethereum and Bitcoin. Similar to a game, each animated eye of the sculpture represents a different coin, and when Bitcoin hits $100,000 and Ethereum hits $10,000 the lucky collector is programmed to get air-dropped two additional 1/1 NFTs. He has hinted at other future surprises that will be released alongside important crypto milestones. 

Vexx describes the airdrops as another way the artwork continues to evolve past its point of purchase. By gamifying NFTs–part of a trend that’s paving new ways for creators to interact with their collectors and audiences–Vexx is exploring the possibilities that smart contracts offer. Blockchain, and specifically smart contracts, have the ability to radically change the way we experience art. Games, like movies, novels, and paintings, are often made up of stories, and when the gaming world and the artworld intersect, we are bound to soon encounter new methods of interactive storytelling and art experiences.

Vexx unveils “MOON,” the sculpture.

“‘MOON’ is a commentary on the whole culture of Crypto, where everyone is saying ‘oh we need to hit this price target, we need to hit that price target.’ I think there is a bit too much of that in the space, it’s more interesting to focus on the technology and what people are building instead of these numbers we are giving. I’m leaning into it and celebrating crypto culture, but also questioning it.” 

VEXX

Vexx’s edge in the space is his ability to synergize physical and digital art practices. Every single person who bids on “MOON” will receive a signed print from the artist. For some creators, it’s either digital or physical, but Vexx insists the magic happens in the collision. His first NFT series is titled “Blending Realities,” and that’s exactly what his artworks achieve. By not giving up his physical practice like other digital artists, he is utilizing smart contacts in order to pioneer new modes of hybridity between the two realms. While becoming a prominent player in the NFT medium, he continues to make works on paper, on city walls, and his works have even appeared on a billboard in Times Square. He doesn’t limit himself as he continues to document his projects on his Youtube channel. His channel, therefore, has become a kind of timeline that captures how art is expanding both conceptually and technically with the introduction of blockchain technology. 

“I was interested in the dynamic that the artwork can change. Before NFTs, it was hard for artwork to change once it was finished. But now, being able to program your artwork means it can have it’s own lifespan. It’s always changing, and the future airdrops make it more of a whole story rather than one finished picture.” 

— VEXX

Vexx and “MOON”

There is a famous quote attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci: “A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned.” With artworks coming alive on the blockchain, innovative artists like Vexx can utilize dynamic NFTs to make their works remain in a mode of creation forever. Back in the late 1950’s, the Minimalist movement was making headlines. Many people were quite upset with the presentation of large industrial objects that showed no trace of the artist’s hand displayed in galleries and sold for enormous amounts of money. Artists like Donlad Judd would simply send instructions to fabricators that would then deliver the works straight to the galleries. In turn, galleries had to expand physically to hold these massive sculptures, similar to the way screen technology has been evolving in the past two years. Minimalism, much like the NFT movement, was a turning point in the narrative of art history, as it raised questions about what art is and what it is not. The movement challenged the boundaries between the mediums and transformed the art market into how we know it today. But instead of the artist providing instructions to the fabricator, NFT artists are providing instructions to the computer. Dynamic NFTs are opening up a completely new understanding of the relationship between art, space, and us viewers. 

Behind the eyes of “MOON”

37

Mika Bar On Nesher

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

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