1,359 days, 2,170 entries ...

Newsticker, link list, time machine: HOLO.mg/stream logs emerging trajectories in art, science, technology, and culture––every day
“The Haring NFTs demonstrate that the smart contract can be a flexible tool, using metadata and code to accommodate the various needs and contexts of digital art.”
Outland’s Brian Droitcour, on Web3 developers Digital Practice setting a new standard for the blockchain-based sale and preservation of historical digital art. Having learned from the 2021 Warhol NFT controversy, the forthcoming NFTs of Keith Haring’s Amiga drawings “offer both flexibility and fidelity, encompassing files suitable for display on today’s screens as well as a faithful replica of the original pixels in contemporary code.”
“The Amiga drawings are significant because they were created at the dawn of the consumer computer age. Even then, Keith knew that computers were going to be important to people’s lives as their capabilities continued to advance.”
– Gil Vazquez, executive director and president of Keith Haring Foundation, on the forthcoming Christie’s NFT auction of the pop art icon’s pixelations from the late 1980s. “Long stored on floppy disks, the drawings had never seen the light of day—until now,” Artnet’s Min Chen writes.

“Exploring the Decentralized Web – Art on the Blockchain” opens at Basel’s HEK (House of Electronic Arts), concluding the institution’s recent excursion into Web3. HEK’s Sabine Himmelbach and Boris Magrini gather some of crypto art’s finest including Simon Denny, Mario Klingemann & Botto, Sarah Friend, Chloé Michel, Rhea Myers, Operator, Lukas Truniger and others, to lay bare the politics and potentials of the metaverse. Of note: Kyle McDonald’s Amends (2022), a potent eco-critical work that’s on view for the very first time.

“It’s the future of finance! Except when the SEC comes knocking, then it’s just a harmless little toy, Your Honor.”
– Crypto pundit Molly White, on Coinbase’s argument that crypto trading is a form of speculation. In a motion to dismiss the recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charge of operating an unregistered securities exchange, the American crypto vendor notes that there’s “no investment of money with a promise of future delivery of anything.” Rather than offering security, a crypto asset is no different than “an American Girl Doll, or a Beanie Baby, or a baseball card.”
“What’s the default language that you go to to do that? It’s the modernist grid. That’s how you understand making new lands. That’s how you understand these digital frontiers. ”
– New Zealand artist Simon Denny, discussing why landscape painting is an apt medium for representing Web3 land plots (e.g. Decentraland) in Metaverse Landscapes (2023). “The Dutch have this long tradition—many colonial landscapes were painted in South Africa and Indonesia,” he adds, further complicating the marketing of virtual space. [quote edited]
“This new study is different because it measures tiny variations in the way that Bitcoin mining equipment generates random numbers. These variations serve as a fingerprint allowing us to directly estimate the proportion of different machines.”
– American media artist Kyle McDonald, parsing the methodology of a new Coinmetrics study on Bitcoin energy use that offers the most accurate picture yet. “It basically confirms what we already knew,” writes McDonald, “Bitcoin is using about as much energy as the entire internet (around 12GW or 100TWh/year).”
“I’m so grateful that the AI revolution came along if for no other reason than that it showed us what it looks like when consumers actually get excited about something. It truly revealed that the crypto story was about 98% hype.”
– Tech columnist Casey Newton, chiding crypto boosters who keep saying that ‘it’s time to build!’ “There is not one crypto product to my knowledge that has, say, 100 million users,” Newton vents. “Meanwhile, ChatGPT comes along and gets 100 million users, allegedly, within the first couple of months or so.”

Basel’s House of Electronic Arts (HEK) opens “Collective Worldbuilding,” an international group exhibition of “Art in the Metaverse.” 16 artists including Ian Cheng, Simon Denny, Sarah Friend, Holly Herndon, LaTurbo Avedon, Jonas Lund, and Omsk Social Club explore how—or if—a decentralized internet advances self-determination. In her new video piece Untitled (2023, image), for example, Friend explores market edge cases and identity boundaries with NSFW (not safe for work) AI images fine-tuned on herself.

Jan Robert Leegte’s solo exhibition ”No Content: Contemplations on Software” opens at Upstream Gallery in Amsterdam, examining digital media through “the carrier and reality that holds it.” JPEG (2023), for example, is a series of algorithmic images that fully express the signature compression; Broken Images (2023) foregrounds the volatility of digital assets by minting broken links as NFTs, and Scrollbars (image)—a Leegte classic—presents obsolete interface elements as sculptural and cultural debris.

“Congratulations to everyone who wanted to be bankless, you got what you wanted.”
– American artist Addie Wagenknecht, subtweeting crypto enthusiasts as the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank wreaks havoc across the financial and the DeFi sector. On March 10, the California tech lender was shut down by regulators “after a stunning 48 hours in which a bank run and a capital crisis led to the second-largest failure of a financial institution in US history,” as CNN reports.
“I’m hoping we can move away from this single-minded effort to financialize everything and start trying to develop a more diverse economy that, by virtue of diversity, would be a more stable economy.”
– Science fiction author Neil Stephenson, on how Web3 needs to outgrow speculation. Discussing the metaverse (a term he coined in his 1992 novel Snow Crash), he notes that in virtual spaces “sooner or later people want to do something besides talk and do little emotes,” citing Epic Games’ Fortnite as striking a good balance of socializing and activity.
“Nobody said it was a democracy. The ‘will of the community’ is the will of whichever cartel or whale has the voting majority, not the will of the disgusting peasantry.”
– Pseudonymous crypto pundit @degenspartan, sardonically reminding everyone that money talks in DAO governance. “If you want more votes, buy more coins,” he adds, in response to concerns that the large stake of venture capital firm a16z could make or break community proposals guiding the decentralized Uniswap protocol.
“A legless Donald Trump, just wandering the empty streets of Horizon Worlds, selling commemorative coins.”
New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose, imagining the sad combination of Trump and the metaverse, in the aftermath of Meta reinstating the former U.S. President’s Facebook and Instagram accounts after a two-year ban

Creative economy thinker and entrepreneur Yancey Strickler shares his vision for metalabels, a new model for cultural production “like indie record labels for all forms of creative output.” Following a release proof-of-concept (a ‘record’ in his nomenclature), the Kickstarter co-founder maps creativity after platform capitalism. It entails a move away from lone creator-entrepreneurs to teams, protocol-driven compensation and ownership, and audiences that prioritize context over ‘content.’

“Metaverse homeowners associations. Metaverse building permit red tape. Metaverse NIMBYs. Metaverse property liens. Metaverse neighbourhood watch.”
– Software engineer and Web3 watchdog Molly White, anticipating “other horrific parts of the system of homeownership get recreated virtually” after Decentraland announced it now allows land owners to rent out property
Metalabel x co—matter
After the Creator Economy
A physical and digital zine with contributors including Amber Case, Kei Kreutler, and Mat Dryhurst exploring new ways to produce, distribute, and monetize creative work online

Mario Santamaría’s solo show “Gárgola” opens at Centre d’Art la Panera, Lleida (ES), wedging two metaverses into one exhibition space. An architectural structure marks the exact plot of land the Spanish artist purchased in Next Earth, a virtual 1:1 reproduction of the planet, while suspended screens render a 13,5 billion light-years drop (the fall, 2022) into the Voxels Ethereum virtual world. A winding liquid cooling system further reminds viewers of computing’s (very real) materiality.

“Blue chip galleries and institutions ‘groom’ mid-career artists but forget all the things that fed that career: the unpaid cultural workers, the project spaces. They skim off the top and I wanted to hold them accountable.”
– Writer and critic Penny Rafferty, on the origins of Black Swan DAO, a digital tool kit that enables artists and cultural organizations to distribute resources in equitable and democratic ways

“The Fable of Net in Earth,” the 2022 ARKO Art & Tech Festival kicks off in Seoul. Inspired by decentralization (mycology, Web3), it brings together Morehshin Allahyari, SunJeong Hwang, and Young Joo Lee, and others. Featured works include Eobchaecoin (2022), Nahee Kim’s unabashedly ponzi cryptocurrency (it will be very profitable in 2082), and De Anima (2018-21, image), Clara Jo’s film probing humanity’s relationship with nature, that draws on footage from Kenya, Myanmar, and France.

To dive deeper into Stream, please or become a .

Daily discoveries at the nexus of art, science, technology, and culture: Get full access by becoming a HOLO Reader!
  • Perspective: research, long-form analysis, and critical commentary
  • Encounters: in-depth artist profiles and studio visits of pioneers and key innovators
  • Stream: a timeline and news archive with 1,200+ entries and counting
  • Edition: HOLO’s annual collector’s edition that captures the calendar year in print
$40 USD