W3CR Synthesis – Week 5

ForefrontW3CRJul 25, 2022
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This week was a passing of the torch in the creator residency, as Alex and Entes finished their last week and Kabuki, Nico, and d3mo– members of the second cohort– began their residency journeys.

Entes:

In his “Vortex Tunnel - Final” event, Entes took us on a journey to the final version of the Vortex tunnel– the first installation of its size in Lima, spanning 850 square meters and taking two months to complete. An explosive piece combining lettering, portraiture and text, Entes chose to showcase how the tunnel looked at night, where you can still see what’s happening in the intricate web of words and images through the soft illumination of glow paint. The work is not only a vortex of graffiti, but a mix of his various projects, reframed in a political context. To Entes, the “gm” refrain commonly thrown around the web3 space not only means “good morning,” but gente marron–brown people– a way of honoring his mixed race heritage while advocating for the future of his people in his work. Digging into the symbolism in the mural, which can be watched in full on the Forefront YouTube channel, the residency ultimately helped him widen the scope of his artistic practice into web3 and NFTs: he concluded that it is now apparent to him that he can use the tunnel as a way to expand his work into the metaverse.

“Approaching the Guerilla in web3,” his final event in the residency, elaborated on his plans to take his learnings into the metaverse: he wants to invade the internet with tags, building walls and murals that reflect his ethos. Walking us through the process of creating his characters, each face he painted was chock full of color, with the skin tone either left out or changed to a color like blue. Soon, he has his first show in the virtual space and the opportunity to use it as a platform to spread his message– that we are all equal.

Alex:

Alex’s last live song production session again invited the community to watch her “do the work” of the artistic process. She focused on one song for the whole hour, constantly trying different songs and mixes to find the best way to move the song forward. Working on the produced version of “Close to the Sun '' for the last half hour brought her time at the residency to an emotional close, ending with the reminder that the breakthroughs that make an artists’ work worthwhile only come through consistently showing up and doing the work. Only then can the threshold of craftsmanship, introspection and transmutation the creative process demands be met.

Kabuki: generating through mindful rule-making

Kabuki’s residency goal is to start and finish a generative NFT project on Tezos, a Proof of Stake blockchain that can upgrade itself, citing its low transaction fees and eco-friendliness as reasons for choosing the platform. During Monday’s Open Studio, Kabuki shared his project plan, breaking the residency into four parts to ensure he has a productive, accountable mindset throughout the process. When he first begins a creative project, he creates boundaries and sets a very abstract goal, reducing the amount of friction to finding inspiration. To overcome the fear of a blank page, something many of the students he works with face, he creates “guardrails”-- guidelines for tweaking his creative process to meet the scope of the project– for himself that allow him to switch seamlessly between the systematic and creative sides of his brain. To get the Forefront community more involved in his work, he also shared that throughout his residency, he planned to stay as abstract as possible in his creative work so that any interested community member could build along with him.

Kabuki kicked off the week’s creator events with “Rules and Rituals,” which sought to reframe rules as an expansive rather than restricting force in an artististic practice. The event was an exploration of rule-setting from thinkers throughout art history, from John Cage’s piece for 33, to Lars Von Trier’s Dogme 95, to Glenn Gould’s extremely methodical yet wildly unpredictable composition process. Rules and rituals help alleviate anxiety, fear of the blank page and fear of finishing things, introducing structure to a creative practice on an artists’ own terms. His “From Something to Nothing” event the following day dove into the specifics of his generative NFT project, starting with his homework on the history of generative art from Stuttgart to the MIT MediaLab to today’s NFT-driven movement. To him, removing yourself from the driver’s seat and simply enjoying the results of generative art opened up a universe of possibilities. His generative work– such as a chromatic drift that syncs three vinyls playing at different tempos to create a captivating three-part harmony– uses the chaotic beauty of the natural world as its driver, often involving physical contraptions to create true randomness. Using cables.gl, fxhash, and other blockchain tools, we’re excited to see what he creates through his interactions with technology during the residency.

Nico: community design as game design

Nico has been journeying across the US in an epic road trip while developing her residency project– Agartha, an eco village prototype. Her travels resulted in an epiphany that completely changed her approach: the architecture had to not only be eco-friendly, but also awe-inspiring and beautiful in order for the movement to stick. Drawing inspiration from ancient Islamic, Indian, and Chinese temple designs, she is now working on designing new architectures based on each of the four elements, showing a drawing of an Earth temple decked out with aeroponics and hydroponics that was also designed to be a vertical food forest.

Nico’s first event– “Why Create”-- demonstrated how much of a polymath she is. She dove into her creative journey and the variety of interests that led her to instigate Agartha. Her creative process focuses on synchronicity and discovering the way that things are intertwined, a complexity which made itself apparent during her event introducing Agartha later in the week. The name came to her during a dream she had in Hawaii where she was approached by a warrior, Agartha, while exploring ancient caves, given the calling to rid the earth of weapons so abundance could come. The dream began becoming reality during her time at Mars College, a coworking experiment where she started a study group examining different aspects of eco-living, from structure to governance.

The question became: how could we solve the multifaceted nature faced in these communities at once? After all, ideal communities have over 13 dimensions from religion to location to climate, and– from construction to funding– are equally difficult to instigate. Her research directly before the residency focused on creating a Notion page to connect with others pursuing similar projects and a Discord channel to debate these issues, where she began noticing the cultish behavior developed in some communities and the dangers of one-sided decision-making in getting people to work and live constructively. Guiding the audience through a graph for a linear plan of Agartha, Nico realized that the catalyst for taking the project from research to concrete action was through game design, as “games are a catalyst for action.” Designing the game that enables Agartha to become a healthy community– a virtual twin to test out community feedback loops before physical construction– is what she will devote her residency to.

D3MO:

D3MO’s artistic journey began with music, when he started playing guitar in his adolescence. After the passing of his mother in 2018, he began learning where to focus his energy, going on a long tour of Patagonia. His time staying in nature not only healed him, but also opened his eyes to a new, sensitive way of observing the world that changed his life– “nature’s beauty is encoded in everything that surrounds us, and is inside of us.”

After discovering 3D art through Blender– a medium which allowed him to produce pieces that reflected his sensitivity to environments and the rapture of natural beauty– he felt he had the tools to create anything he wanted to. His practice is grounded in connection to community: specifically, technology to connect with one another and with nature, strengthening mutuality. The new tools he wants to experiment with during the residency, such as AI, reflect this ethos: he wants to incorporate AI in his workflow, for example, because “in a sense, [it] is the output of our collective unconscious.” He draws inspiration from visual projects such as Igloo Ghosts and Codex that aim to create entire universes, and in the process of that world-making, he feels his art doesn’t belong to him, but to everyone. The immersive nature of his work is also due in large part to his incorporation of music, which doesn’t come before or after the process, but rather exists in symbiosis with his creation of visual elements.

“Creative Nature” was an invitation to peer into his unplanned and organic creative process in Blender. Modeling, twisting, and duplicating, the premise that technology should be fun and inspiring was present throughout his work, and he takes care to use tools that allow for spontaneity instead of suffocating him. Contemporary artists, he believes, are finally hitting on the alignment between tech, nature, and art– “Art right now is in a really interesting moment. It’s becoming more accessible to people and making connections throughout the world.”



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