New + Noteworthy NFTs - March 22
I keep my finger on the pulse of the worldwide web for new and tasty material every month. The results of my endless scrolling are the following: my top picks of recent projects to excite and entice, and maybe have you reaching for your cryptowallet.
'A Monolith Laying on the Mattress' by The Internet Office
Bodies, matter and materials take centre stage in this 'alienesque', sculptural work by The Internet Office, a collaboration of new media and digital art creators from Buenos Aires, Argentina. This piece is part of a series called Anatomias Ambivalentes that explores the tension between materiality and physicality through digital art. There are amorphous yet somehow anatomical elements to the image, with intestines and ribs revealing themselves from the sculpted matter. As the artists put it, "the viewer is intruding on an ongoing, everlasting process of metabolic becoming where forms express the plasticity and potentiality of bodies to become." I'm fascinated by echoes and expressions of the physical, abject body in digital art and how we are so inherently drawn to flesh and bone, even in the digital age - and this work is no exception.
'DeHumanized' by NastPlas
NastPlas are an international creative duo formed in 2006 by illustrator Fran R. Learte and creative director Natalia Molinos, now based in Madrid, Spain. For this series, they also delve into the state of decay of the human body in an increasingly post-human era. Combining visual elements of the human body with raw meat, abstract matter and a war-plane tagged with the words 'I am a man', the artists strongly underline the destruction being waged on humankind. Whether it's the destruction of jobs by AI and technology; the destruction of our self-worth and esteem through social media, or the destruction of our ways of knowing and epistemologies due to our increasingly cyborg nature; the artists make it clear this is all out war. To me, this work conflates the current environmental crisis with the crisis of humanity, and how we continue to survive while we simultaneously destroy our bodies and our homes. The work is surreal and yet many elements feel as though you've just stumbled upon a forgotten corner of your neighbourhood. The collection asks imperative questions about how we will survive as a species, and how we might avoid becoming totally dehumanised.
'Emerging Face - Neural Net Imagined Portrait #1'
by Pindar van Arman
Another work exploring the semi-permeable membrane between human and technology: Pindar van Arman's works are created by AI, based on a portrait produced by GANs (Generative Adversarial Network). As the GANs begin to generate a unique portrait, the beginnings of a shadowy, dripping figure emerges from the 'noise' of the neural network, and is captured in these works by Arman's robot. The AI imitates oil drips on canvas, the colour and texture of skin, bone and blood. This new frontier of art that incorporates AI to imitate and even create original artwork, some of which is indistinguishable from art created by human hands, fascinates me. It might be because this genre of art shows that creativity is not an innate, essentially human trait, but something that can be investigated, simulated and harnessed for a higher purpose. It also begs some pretty hard-hitting questions, namely: if we think of creativity as the last stalwart of humanity, and this is now able to be emulated by robots, how can we think about the definition of art and the role of humanity in an ever-more automated world?
'The Picasso Particle' by DAT.XYZ
This NFT is as beautiful as it is interesting. For the second series of New Fungus Tokens, DAT.XYZ has swabbed the surface of famous paintings by Jackson Pollock, Henri Matisse, Roy Lichtenstein, and in this case Pablo Picasso, and 'resurrected' the artists and artworks in a lab. The result is a series of mesmerising, organic microscope images of petrie dishes containing the organic, cellular material of some of the most famous artworks of our time. An act of desecration, reimagining and a 'levelling' of these epochal artists to their molecular level, there is a lot to unpack here, and for me the storytelling of the works' inception coupled with their galaxy or reef-like allure is what gets them onto this month's list.
'White Orchids' by Drake Smith
Given that March marks the official beginning of spring, and that most of the NFTs in this list are focused on a loss of physical and natural connection, it seems only right to include this stunning animation from digital creator Drake Smith as a closer. For me, this piece has it all - a Michelangelo-esque hand, white flowers, a gentle stroke of one along the other and a dramatic lighting scheme. It reconnects us with touch, with nature, with our sense of joy and awe at the smallest things on earth. According to the artist, "white orchids are a symbol of purity, faith, humility, elegance, innocence, and beauty," something the world is in dire need of right now. This NFT is pure aesthetic indulgence and the perfect piece to round out this month's picks.
I'll be back next month for another round-up of content - in the meantime, I would love to know what YOUR favourite artists and projects are. Comment below or send me a message with your top picks!