First of all, thank you for subscribing to this newsletter. I’m excited about finding alternate ways of communicating, talking about my work, etc. outside of the traditional social media structures we have all had to lean so heavily on.
This week, I’m premiering a new episode of my ongoing series “Keeping Tabs with Molly Soda” (just Keeping Tabs for short ;)). For this episode I had very special guest and friend Matthew James-Wilson join me as we explored some metaphysical/mystical websites. It was honestly just fun to hang out with a friend and surf the web together - I feel like this should be more of a thing/habit. Like, there are apps that allow you to watch Netflix with your friends but clicking through websites together is something I don’t think I’ve ever done outside of the context of this show. If you want to tune in, it premiers tomorrow night, Thursday 2/18 at 9PM EST/6PM PST on eternal.tv. Streams are free so click here to view/register. Also, if you’re not aware of who Matthew is you should check out his music and Forge Art Magazine.
My zines, which I recently archived a selection of on my website and the book, Pics or It Didn’t Happen, which I co-edited with Arvida Byström are part of the Fleeting Media, Publishing Post-Photography exhibition at Fotomuseum Winterthur. You can view all of the publications and comment on them via this google doc of the show (until it can open in person).
Now that I’ve gotten all of that out of the way ~ I can start rambling about something that has been on my mind lately, yes this is a blog, yes we call blogs newsletters in 2021, it’s fine. I’ve been thinking a lot about crypto art and digital art in general, and sort of the discourse that has surrounded it over the past few months. I’m inclined to be interested in crypto art solely because it makes the concept of collecting digital art more palatable to people who maybe wouldn’t have conceived of it before. As someone who makes all of their work free and accessible online, the idea of attaching scarcity to art has never really appealed to me. Whenever I sell a digital piece, I maintain that the work has to remain online whether or not its in someone’s private collection. Basically, when someone buys a piece from me they get the file as well as a certificate of authenticity. The certificate really feels like what the collector is buying, and crypto sort of replicates that by creating a unique token or essentially a digital certificate embedded into the piece itself.
Anyway, I’m not really here to plug crypto lol because I see a lot of stuff being replicated in that art space that happens in traditional art markets and tbh I barely even sell my work/participate in traditional art markets. There is definitely a tech bro energy around the whole thing that I don’t care for and I find a lot of art that exists in crypto spaces to be highly underwhelming. I also feel like at the end of the day, most collectors either want to buy something that is aesthetically pleasing or something they see as an investment (ugh).
I’m more so interested in what this could mean moving forward in terms of making the idea of collecting digital art more mainstream and hopefully, in turn, making non-physical works seen as valuable and elevating artists working in those mediums. I really hope more interesting work begins to flood the crypto market too, because it’s definitely got a corny vibe right now.
I also want to acknowledge that a lot of the criticism around crypto seems to be around its ecological impact, which I honestly have a hard time wrapping my head around and didn’t know was a thing until I started to look into it more. Apparently, it is not very energy efficient to mint NFTs (crypto art) or to mine crypto in general but I also wonder what the physical art world’s footprint is. Like, is crypto the same as eating meat or flying on an airplane? What other things do I participate in (knowingly and unknowingly) that are just as bad if not more for the environment. This isn’t me saying, “there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism” but more that we are very interested in blaming individuals for structural problems. Every time I watch a YouTube video someone is giving a disclaimer about how they forgot their reusable cup or straw at home and that’s why they are using a disposable cup. We move through the world ready to apologize for anything that may be criticized before anyone can say anything about it, it’s an online self defense technique that has been learned over years of existing online. And maybe that’s partly what I’m doing right now too.
Thank you for this! 100% feel you on NFT scarcity and ecological impact, it seems like most people involved choose to disregard that completely. The fact that the art I've seen go for something like $100,000 (in bitcoin) tends to be...not good is probably beside the fact, but most likely due to participating artists being friends with the people behind the concept (like it seems to be the case with @SuperRare on twit) I believe there's an element of gatekeeping similar to the traditiona art space. Its nice to read your thoughts!
Just saw a headline that musicians are also getting into the NFT game. I have no idea how that would actually work, but apparently its working for Lil Yatchy and deadmaus5.