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Catalog view is the alternative 2D representation of our 3D virtual art space. This page is friendly to assistive technologies and does not include decorative elements used in the 3D gallery.

Catalog:

NFS NSFW NFT

NEW INC and Rhizome's Art & Code track Opened July 21st, 2021 View 3D Gallery
Poster image for NFS NSFW NFT

Statement:

An exhibition produced by members of NEW INC and Rhizome’s Art & Code track. We’re showing, hosting, and minting — all, to explore the critical poetics of this particular not-for-sale, not-safe-for-work, and non-fungible-token moment.

We created four community gardens with specific themes, landscapes, and art critters from AI video and invisible audio to hyperlinks and livestreams. Each ecosystem is skinned with digital debris from the vectoralists (to borrow from McKenzie Wark). We’ve built on, under, and all-around their topology. Holding space. Getting lost. Keeping company.

The main garden illustrates this dissonance between community and big tech, where the landscape literally documents the making of NFS NSFW NFT: rivers flowing with our Slack threads, mountains skinned with our email, audio from our Zoom calls scattered everywhere, along with essays from Lindsay Howard and Zach Kaplan.

3D Environment Description:

An exhibition produced by members of NEW INC and Rhizome’s Art & Code track. We’re showing, hosting, and minting — all, to explore the critical poetics of this particular not-for-sale, not-safe-for-work, and non-fungible-token moment.

We created four community gardens with specific themes, landscapes, and art critters from AI video and invisible audio to hyperlinks and livestreams. Each ecosystem is skinned with digital debris from the vectoralists (to borrow from McKenzie Wark). We’ve built on, under, and all-around their topology. Holding space. Getting lost. Keeping company.

The main garden illustrates this dissonance between community and big tech, where the landscape literally documents the making of NFS NSFW NFT: rivers flowing with our Slack threads, mountains skinned with our email, audio from our Zoom calls scattered everywhere, along with essays from Lindsay Howard and Zach Kaplan.

Artworks in this room:

Innovative Economies: An Essay by Lindsay Howard

Building the Future Through Online Communities

Here’s a utopian proposal: even while we live in a capitalist society, we don’t need to play by its rules. We can tear a hole in its all-encompassing fabric by supporting each other’s varied needs, and by normalizing the practice of leaning on others just as they lean on us. As we bear witness to unprecedented social uprisings, strategic new forms of organizing, and rapid technological advancements, we’re gaining the tools and momentum we need to shift power dynamics. And as we move forward, a big part of our ability to accomplish meaningful change will hinge on building resilient online communities. We have inherent power as both autonomous individuals and as community participants. However, we’re taught to view each other through the lens of capitalism, and to use earning and spending money as an assessment for our self worth. This is because by its very nature, capitalist society requires money for survival—not just for survival of the individual, but for the survival of the system as a whole. But who is this system really working for? Capitalism is centralized by its very nature, and the pervasiveness of this ideology affects everything in our lives—how we work, how we relate to others, and even how we dream and create. Through this system, we’re taught to think of value in terms of usefulness, efficiency, desirability, and availability, which means that the importance of collaborative, experimental, and non-commercial endeavours—and, art in particular—is often overlooked. This creates a gap, because artistic practices and renegade forms of creativity are crucial for deepening our relationships and pushing our human understanding forward. The artists who’ve been able to thrive in the traditional art market are few and far between. Those who do succeed often draw on generational wealth and other forms of inherent privilege, which isn’t an option for many people. Because of this, the dominant creative vision for the future tends to be one that’s articulated and promoted by those who already thrive under capitalism. In other words, the production of art under capitalism is bound to its pillars of education, wealth, and institutional professionalism—commodifying a very basic human instinct: the artistic pursuit of knowledge-gathering, collaborating, and sharing. Pioneering artists who embrace technology as a medium to experiment and circumvent traditional systems have found themselves confronted with yet more issues. For years, artworks made in new digital formats have had no established market, which has left digital artists with no obvious means of supporting themselves through their practice. While their work directly contributes value to the corporations behind social media platforms, sharing their work in its native digital format often means that they can no longer claim ownership of their own material. And as they work with new technologies to explore multidimensional ways of creating, this very labor is often co-opted into uncompensated R&D and marketing for tech companies. In a similar way, the flexibility, empowerment, and freedom of choice promised by platform capitalism actually turns us into passive consumers in a way that doesn’t serve us at all—until, eventually, we become an audience to our own lives. Every “free” service or network that we’ve become accustomed to in our daily lives operates as a facade for the advertising and data collection needs of a roster of dominant corporations. This all begs the questions, “How do we escape an extractive system in which we are structurally embedded, in order to properly reflect on it, critique it, and then transcend it? How do we position ourselves to subvert capitalism from within it?” One remedy is to co-create opportunities for spontaneous, uninhibited creativity where capitalist structures do not inform the basis of the exchange. Often manifesting as artistic projects, these opportunities present a way to bring people together around a shared vision for what matters. Through these kinds of collaborations, we can take steps towards dismantling and unlearning the individualistic approaches that keep us tethered to existing systems. The question still remains, though: While pursuing these kinds of projects, how do we materially survive? Maybe the larger solution lies in reinventing and subverting the thing we currently rely on to survive: Money. What if we could adapt the world’s basic systems of value and find alternative ways to support ourselves and each other? The truth is, we can. Using the decentralized technologies of web3—for example, NFTs, DAOs, and other peer-to-peer networks—we can collaboratively build a future where exchanges are just as much about support, altruism, generosity, community, and reciprocity as they are about financial compensation. In practice, this means that instead of being passive consumers of the top-down, capitalist web2 services that monitor and control our data, we can use decentralized technologies to build peer-to-peer communities, and to construct alternative frameworks for communication, valuation, and creative exchange. As an example of how this can work, take the Komorebi Fund, which launched as a DAO designed to fund women and nonbinary individuals in the crypto space. Through active discussions with their community, Komorebi members identified a number of impactful and mission-aligned initiatives that already existed, but which had no dedicated funding. As a collective, they were able to pool resources and come together to offer tangible, transparent resources and support to these groups. Mint Fund carries out a similar mission, as a community project designed to build a support network for artists—especially those who are BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ and living outside of North America and the European Union. Both the Komorebi Fund and Mint Fund provide tangible references for how we can use decentralized technologies to provide direct community support to manifest our co-imagined visions of the future. Right now, we have an opportunity to build systems that will better serve and improve our respective situations. Online communities can harness their power by using the decentralized internet as a place for researching, collaborating, and playing—and move beyond the confines of web2 platforms that limit their opportunities, surveil their activities, and extract creative labor without offering essential benefits. We can cultivate communities that share resources, collaborate, and make space for experimentation—and even failure. Taking this approach will allow us to not only survive, but flourish. Through shared, open methodologies, we can create an online environment that frees us, so that we can run wild in it. By leading with joy and possibility, we can move away from competitiveness, and broaden our capacity for learning, creativity, and togetherness. Building mutually beneficial communities and tools is a way to directly reconfigure traditional models of success. Through the process of making art, sharing openly, and using the internet in ways that allow us to develop real affinity with one another, we can each contribute to a more equitable future based on individual autonomy and mutualism. We already have the tools to make it happen, and we can move toward that future by simply choosing to start. Thank you to Eileen Isagon Skyers, Willa Köerner, and Samantha Ayson for their support on this essay.

😢🌎: An Essay by Zach Kaplan

Hi. How are you? Welcome to NFS NSFW NFT, a group exhibition organized, built, and populated by the members of NEW INC and Rhizome's Art & Code track. You're here, in this unusual, bespoke digital space. You're in another world. Another new world. In my colleague Michael Connor’s March 2021 essay about the NFT boom, he discusses https://rhizome.org/editorial/2021/mar/03/another-new-world/ blockchain technology's promise of "a new world." He points out, though, that the new world speculated during the NFT boom this past spring was but one in a succession of blockchain-enabled worlds that have emerged throughout the years, with as much promise as likelihood of dissolution. We've lived through three intensifying hype cycles. First, around 2013 or 2014, there were shoots of BTC profitability, lots of provenance talk, and the minting of the first NFT, Quantum by Kevin McCoy, at Seven on Seven. Then in 2018, ETH boomed and thrilling and exceptional visions of decentralization bloomed. And there was the recent NFT boom of spring 2021. That take could sound cynical or exhausted, especially from our present point of view, in the far future of summer 2021. Some have characterized that spring boom as now a bust. Others https://imgflip.com/memegenerator/Tuxedo-Winnie-The-Pooh however, can see how a new world might require fervent enthusiasm (and speculation) to emerge, as well as normalization to have any real chance of sustaining itself. Regardless, Michael's essay perfectly champions grassroots experimentation, parses new market infrastructure, recognizes unseen costs, assesses potential decay, and, essentially, acknowledges the power of a dollar (or ETH) changing hands in legitimizing a field of practice, or a world itself. And yes, each crypto hype cycle was ripe for caricature, yet I'm again and again impressed by each cycle's long tail: unmonastery, left gallery, Interdependence, Friends With Benefits, and on. Alone, new worlds each. Another new world?!!? This past spring certainly did feel like another new world unmoored and vacillating between competing claims of digital and physical primacy https://vimeo.com/556299585 . A year defined by variously stringent lockdown and quarantine, with vaccine-led reopening on the horizon, deserved this hyper-speculative culmination. After professional experimentation with new digital modes of living—from Zoom to Discord to all matter of telepresence platform, existing or purpose-built—the notion that assets, infrastructure, and modes of interaction could assert their import, alongside bold claims of the outmodedness of traditional forms, practices, and institutions, could only sound credible (if only for a particular moment). And what of us at Rhizome, who have labored unceremoniously to move digital culture from novel periphery to the center of the discourse through decades, only to have it resold as another new world yet again? I'm ambivalent on the framing, net positive on the outcome. A rising tide lifts all boats, as it's said, and it's been legitimately thrilling to see digital practice "break through" in such a public way. Never have myself and my salt mine colleagues had our inboxes blown up with such a quantity of queries on the auratic qualities of digital art. Is it different this time? Maybe our moment has arrived. Another new world. 🌎 Here we are in another new world—one in a long lineage of spaces for digital assembly defined by artists, each responding to their moment, each endeavoring to create new space for new art and culture. I like to think that it's Rhizome and NEW INC's role to help oxygenate these new worlds, whether an artwork, exhibition, start-up, or organization. This exhibition appropriately mixes those categories up. NFS NSFW NFT is co-organized by Christopher Clary, Pearlyn Lii, and Mark Ramos. It culminates NEW INC's year-long Art & Code track by bringing together the work of its many members in Unity and as NFTs, on platforms like New Art City and Foundation. NFS NSFW NFT is part group show, sales platform, and distribution network. The exhibition captures a community, a process of professionalization, and a new network to advance individual and collaborative practices. Already I see a future for it. Welcome!

A Preface From the Artists

July 15 - ∞ NFS NSFW NFT is a 3D virtual exhibition produced by members of NEW INC and Rhizome’s Art & Code track. We’re showing on New Art City, hosting a Zoom opening, minting a NFT on Foundation, and closing with a panel at Hunter College — all, to explore the critical poetics of this particular not-for-sale, not-safe-for-work, and non-fungible-token moment. We used New Art City’s gallery toolkit to veer from the white cube. Instead, we built four rooms that feel like community gardens each with a specific theme, landscape, and art critters from AI and livestream videos to invisible and textual sculptures. Each ecosystem is skinned with digital debris from the vectoralists (to borrow from McKenzie Wark). We’ve built on, under, and all-around their topology. Holding space. Getting lost. Keeping company. With that, Join us for an opening reception. We’ll start on Zoom, then gather on New Art City to walk through the exhibition guided by the organizers. Along the way we’ll hear from the artists and essayists Lindsay Howard and Zach Kaplan on a variety of topics like how NFS, NSFW, and NFT relate. Lastly we’ll mint a collective NFT on Foundation and post it in the galleries. The NFT will be a video of the walk-through, the dress rehearsal for the opening. It’s remarkable for several reasons, first as a document of the show. Second, our NFT is NFS because as a cohort we have a multitude of opinions on each. Lastly, Foundation has a 50MB limit for NFTs and we’re expecting the video to be compressed beyond recognition. But in the spirit of secret gardens, we’re okay with that -- collectively. For more details about our opening walk-through and closing panel please follow NEW INC on Instagram. Organized by Christopher Clary, Pearlyn Lii, and Mark Ramos Essays from Lindsay Howard and Zach Kaplan Artists include Itziar Barrio, Christopher Clary, Johanna Flato, Nahee Kim, Pearlyn Lii, Mark Ramos, Lula Mebrahtu, Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga, Bhavik Singh, Yeseul Song, and Ziyang Wu