VerticalCrypto Art’s Curatorial Picks — January 26th, 2022
Welcome to this week’s VerticalCrypto Art Curatorial Picks!
Welcome back to this week’s edition of VerticalCrypto Art’s Curatorial Pick — the weekly series which discusses innovative new pieces from the VCA ecosystem and beyond.
This week’s theme addresses relationships, which are shared across literature, art, culture and technology. Artists study the connections between humans, their machines, and any subsequent overlaps and disparities in language and modes of visual communication.
This Curatorial Pick is highly varied in style and subject matter, and we cannot wait to get started. Without further ado, let’s begin!
Artist #1 — Anonymous, ‘Skyway Digital’ ☁️
Anonymous is an unknown yet strangely familiar crypto artist, residing somewhere in the metaverse.
Contributing to some of the first blockchain experiments, Anon is regarded as a highly important figure within the Crypto Art community. Establishing early works of decentralized poetry, digital collage and music, Anon is rumoured to have contributed to notable projects such as the underground RarePepe trading card series — the first example of an online trading craze that preceded CryptoKitties (anticipating the future mass adoption of NFTs).
It is unknown how long Anon has been creating digital artwork for, but VerticalCrypto Art’s sources believe they have been active in the community since around early 2016.
‘Skyway Digital’ is a piece that was recently presented at VerticalCrypto Art’s exhibition at NFT Paris, also being shown at the VerticalCrypto Art Fundraising Auction in September, 2021.
Presenting an ethereal, bitmapped image, this work by Anon could be anything from a heat map to the contours of a human or even clouds in the sky. Appearing highly detailed, yet bearing no semblance to any defined shape, viewers are presented with a glitch-like sketch that experiments with mark-making in front of a solid blue background.
‘Skyway Digital’ has been chosen for this week’s Curatorial Pick thanks to it being a complete mystery, providing more questions than answers with its anonymous creator and means of production. VerticalCrypto Art, like most viewers, is left to contemplate what this work signifies — it could be a virtual simulation of a route followed by a plane (as suggested by its title), or something completely different.
The VerticalCrypto Art team has no prior knowledge of the artist behind the work. It is for this reason that we included them in our late exhibition at NFT Paris — we enjoy the mystery, and like to vary our Curatorial Picks. You can try to contact them via the social link below! 🦄👇
Artist #2 — Kalen Iwamoto, ‘Faux-mot/’fomo/’ 📖
Kalen Iwamoto is a Japanese-Canadian conceptual crypto poet, cross-disciplinary artist and writer currently residing in France.
Exploring poetic experiments with unique creative applications of the blockchain, Kalen creates new and investigative reading experiences in digital literature. Working across micro autofiction, new media poetry and metaversal art installations, her work is bound to the technical capabilities of NFTs, and is faithful to the underlying concepts that inspire her pieces.
Iwamoto is the co-producer of weekly podcast Crypto Writer Talks — a place where poets share works in panel discussions — and a co-founding member of theVERSEverse: a decentralised literary gallery where poems are works of art. Kalen has been engaged in Crypto Poetry since February, 2021.
‘Faux-mot/’fomo/’ is the latest work of crypto literature by Kalen Iwamoto, which was also recently exhibited at the VerticalCrypto Art exhibition at NFT Paris.
Presenting a parallel between the French expression ‘faux-mot’ — meaning a general deception and/or misapprehension between a signifier and a signified object — and the Web3 acronym ‘FOMO’ (‘Fear Of Missing Out’), this piece explores a psychological disparity between traditional and digital audiences through a homophone. Playing with language, Iwamoto highlights the miscommunication that exists between Crypto Art and non-digital-native communities.
We had the absolute pleasure of meeting Kalen in real life at the NFT Paris event last weekend. A highly valued member of the VerticalCrypto Art community, she is an inspiration to poets venturing towards new avenues of literature and advanced technologies. Do yourself a favour and follow her socials below!
Artist #3 — Iskra Velitchkova, ‘Hypothetically Micro’ 🌈
Iskra Velitchkova is a generative artist and multidisciplinary designer based in Madrid, Spain.
Exploring the relationships between machine learning and humanity, Velitchkova observes the limits of the human condition against advanced technology. Prioritising flaws over notions of progress, she envisages how technology can be better used to understand our vulnerabilities and .
Velitchkova has a career in data visualisation and information design. Previously running her own business and working for corporations such as BBVA, she now conducts her own research in creating abstract and figurative digital experiments. Iskra has been involved in Crypto Art since March 2021.
‘Hypothetically Micro’ is Iskra Velitchkova’s latest artwork on Feral File, featured in independent curator Jason Bailey’s Field Guide exhibition.
Presenting sixteen generative studies, this piece organises ribbons of light within boxes of colour. Swaying in various directions and with delicate gradient overlays, Velitchkova realises a satisfyingly smooth, abstract composition. To quote Jason Bailey, these ribbons could be a ‘tail, wing, fin, or frond of a much larger organism’, or ‘dyes used in microscopy’. It is difficult to ascertain, as forms are left abstract and rendered by a machine.
‘Hypothetically Micro’ has the capacity to intrigue viewers, allowing for prolonged reflection of its abstract form and beautiful aesthetic. We are fairly confident that you will love Isra’s larger portfolio. Check out her works via the links below! 👀👇
Artist #4 — Sofia Crespo, ‘neural swarm’ 🐝
Sofia Crespo is a generative/neural artist Sofia Crespo is a generative/neural artist from Argentina, currently residing in Lisbon, Portugal.
Observing the relationships that exist between organisms and artificial technologies, she is fascinated by creatures’ mechanisms that allow them to evolve and thrive. Creating synthetic life forms made with GAN mediums, she compares AI images to human creative expression to better recognise our responses to the world.
As co-founder of Entangled Others Studio, Crespo also studies the potential of AI informing human creativity, and artists’ subsequent adaptations to machine learning techniques. Sofia has been a member of the Crypto Art community since May 2020.
‘neural swarm’ is Sofia Crespo’s latest piece on Feral File, which was also featured in Jason Bailey’s Field Guide exhibition.
Composed with an organic layout, this work depicts highly detailed illustrations of bugs, bees and insects set within a blank environment. From a distance, creatures appear accurately drawn to their real-life counterparts; however, on closer inspection, they form part of Crespo’s neural design and are purely fictional.
Crespo states that such ‘specimens are part of a collection from a particular neural expedition, a swarm of relatives in all their shapes and life-stages’. Taking inspiration from entomology, she brings our human consciousness into question. Our ability to tell the differences between what is fake and what is real is blurred. AI manipulates human awareness, and we briefly lapse into co-dependence with our advanced mechanisms and technologies.
‘neural swarm’ has been chosen for this week’s Curatorial Pick thanks to its clever use of technology to express Crespo’s larger motive. Viewers are compelled to look at this piece multiple times before realising its true nature. We are first met with its stunning beauty, and left with a fascination for something we know does not physically exist.
Sofia Crespo is a highly talented and well respected artist within the Crypto Art community. Show her some love by following her socials below! 🐝👇
That’s a Wrap! Thank you very much for tuning in to this week’s Curatorial Pick. We really enjoyed this edition, especially after returning from an eventful weekend in Paris. May the great art continue — see you next time!