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Tag: art (page 1 of 3)

Crowdsourced Common Sense

My friend Beau Gunderson showed me KmikeyM, a project in which “shareholders” get to vote on what Mike Merrill does with his life. Merrill describes his endeavor like this:

By “buying shares” in Mike Merrill you are in effect giving me money. In exchange, I am valuing your input on my choices based on how many of those shares you buy. As this mini-economy grows, my stock price will become a benchmark for my success; the higher the stock price, the more optimistic my shareholders are.

When Shareholder Questions come up, stock owners will be able to vote on significant choices in my life. The more shares you have, the more weight your vote has. You could be the only person voting to send me to night school, but with enough shares behind you, I’m going to enroll. Ostensibly, if we make the right choices, we both win.

Here are some recent decisions that Merrill crowdsourced: Should he accept any and all Facebook friend requests? (No.) Should he subscribe to Spotify? (Yes.) Should he un-register as a Republican? (Yes.) There are many, many more proposals and results.

Is this performance art? Is it business? A sensible way to run your life? Markets are very good at aggregating and weighing preferences, but there’s no guarantee that Merrill’s shareholders will optimize for his values or goals. I suppose he protects himself by only offering up fairly trivial questions.

KmikeyM reminds me of Sarah Meyohas’ stock-trading paintings and Justin.tv, the precursor to Twitch. I deeply wish that I’d come up with the idea first! Of course, there’s no reason why I couldn’t copy him… Would you buy Sonya Shares?


Correction: Mike Merrill allowed the shareholders to dictate whether he would propose to his girlfriend. (They voted yes, but an inside source told me that he hasn’t done it yet.) That’s not a trivial question at all!

Futuristic Déjà Vu Plz

I bailed on y’all yesterday, so here’s an irregular #aesthetic picdump. Shouts to Glitchet for managing to do this every issue.

Woman with networked wire hair. Artwork by Albert Albaladejo.

Artwork by Albert Albaladejo.

Artwork by Barış Şehri.

Artwork by Barış Şehri.

Artwork by Neeraj Jast.

Artwork by Neeraj Jast.

Artwork by VladislavPANtic.

Artwork by VladislavPANtic.

Artwork by Jake Kemper.

Artwork by Jake Kemper.

Artwork by Ian Sokoliwski.

Artwork by Ian Sokoliwski.

Artwork by mundra-mundra.

Artwork by mundra-mundra.

Artwork by Albert Albaladejo.

Artwork by Albert Albaladejo.

Artwork by Grei.

Artwork by Grei.

Artwork by Gabriel-BS.

Artwork by Gabriel-BS.

Internet Influences and Old-School Artisanship

“Dissonance series is my body of work that explores a broken, futuristic dystopia where adornment is used as a means of coping with the environment around us. Dissonance is about a disharmony within the self and the coping mechanisms created.” — Alice Argyros

Artwork by Alice Argyros.

Artwork by Alice Argyros.

I interviewed Alice Argyros about the cyberpunk-inspired jewelry she creates. Since we did this via email, I’m just going to omit my questions and present Argyros’ answers like they’re an essay (lightly edited for readability). She said…


I actually had no idea what “cyberpunk” was until Asher of ReTech told me that my work leans in that direction. There was a boom of steampunk about ten years ago that I found intriguing. However, it was short-lived with all the mass production and nonsensical aesthetic decisions. There were some really great stories and comic books that came out of it, though.

Perhaps it’s the stories more than anything that draws me into the realm of cyberpunk. I currently have a collection of jewelry based on my own utopian world where people don’t pop pills to solve problems, they just alter the world around them. [Editor’s note: You can pry my pills out of my cold, dead hands! Venlafaxine forever.]

But as far as aesthetics, I’ve always loved the strong bold lines of Art Nouveau and dark tones of macabre art. Sergio Toppi is a huge inspiration of mine, with his illustrations utilizing asymmetrical balance and broken lines.

I didn’t always have this style with my jewelry. I got into metalsmithing back in college and it’s been a slow-moving career choice since then. There’s a fine line between doing what you want to do and doing what sells.

I have a saying, “My hands know more than my head.” Take away everything else in our lives and what we have left is our abilities; that is what defines us. I’m okay with being incredibly low-tech. I’m still able to do a lot of things despite being behind with the tech times. All I have is a website and Instagram. I don’t bother doing Pinterest and I just found out about 4chan and Reddit. Still have no idea what they are… really.

It’s also about being the kind of maker I want to be. I’m not into production lines and shipping out hundreds of little packages every month. Slow progress helps me keep everything in check, to choose my next step rationally.

Despite being low-tech, there is so much in the digital world that is absolutely fascinating. For example, there are incredibly talented artists who utilize technology to make things faster but are also more intricate. Check out the work of Nervous System when you get a chance. [Editor’s note: I also highly recommend this.]

In short, I don’t really feel downsized or inadequate for not utilizing technology to my advantage. Working with my hands is what makes me feel good. I know some of my more detailed works could be easily cut out with a laser cutter. It would certainly make the time go by faster.

But, not only is it an expensive piece of equipment, there is a part of me that would just be exhausted sitting in front of a computer instead of physically sitting at a bench and designing the work. I like to get my hands dirty.

I don’t really like to pass the time surfing the internet. So, I kind of hear about these outlets through conversations with people… which takes a while. It’s interesting to see what people are up to and some of these outlets are really good at showcasing that creativity. That’s why I to stick more to Instagram; it’s just an immediate way to see what people are doing without a lot of the drama.

Once you get into other social outlets, the temperature quickly changes. That’s why I steered clear of a lot of social media. I joined Facebook back when it came out years ago, and it was interesting to see the flow of information. But it has a way of pandering to our lowest, most basic pleasures by allowing people to pick and choose a reality based on their beliefs. Maybe it’s self-inflicted propaganda?

I don’t know, either way it got too difficult dealing with people always having an answer for everything but never questioning anything. That’s why I’ve limited which areas to expend my time. Another reason is the false sense of accomplishment we can get from these outlets. As an artist, it can be helpful to showcase what we do on these outlets but if we’re not actually communicating with galleries, emailing curators, and making strong connections, we aren’t doing much at all. We can’t get paid in “likes”!

I could appreciate the business side of being an artist a lot more if I didn’t have a day job. I’ve always enjoyed math but it’s difficult navigating taxes, licenses, and legal issues. Right now any free time I have, I’d rather spend it on designing and making instead of crunching numbers and filing papers.

As far as marketing goes, I’m pretty terrible at talking about my work. Artist markets can be difficult to navigate. I’m confident in my work but I’m not always confident when talking to people about my work. That’s the feeling I get from a lot of other artists and independent creatives as well. Luckily we have a local service here that caters towards helping women and small business owners get their feet on the ground. That’s been a huge help.

My closest cousin died a year back. She was the older sister I never had — dark, punk, goth princess with dreams of heading to the stars. I think it hurt me more than I ever though it would have.

I needed to get out of a slump. I took the attitude of, “Fuck it, I’m going to make what I want to make, regardless of what other people want.” This new turn helped me get back on track and has made me develop a stronger hold on the kind of artist I am. Whenever I hit any rough patches, I just tune into that inner punk nature we both had.


Go follow Argyros on Instagram and buy her jewelry.

Ctrl Alt Hecate

Quick Intro Note

Election? What election? Ugh. I wrote down all my feelings and posted them on my personal website, so if you’re interested you can go read that. But this is not a politics newsletter, even though governmental shenanigans often end up being cyberpunk. For now, let’s change the subject. I mean, seriously, who isn’t ready to talk about ANYTHING else?

Copy-Pasted Toil and Trouble

Toby Shorin shared a set of “cyber mysticism” resources, through which I found STONEDALONE: “a collection of wearable 3d printed crystals imbued with cyber mystical properties”.

Photo from the STONEDALONE shop.

Photo from the STONEDALONE shop.

Photo from the STONEDALONE lookbook.

Photo from the STONEDALONE lookbook.

The only thing that’s explicitly ~cyber~ about the actual products is that they’re 3D-printed. Beyond that it’s all fuzzy aesthetic stuff. Which is not a criticism! It’s just an interesting facet (pun intended) of the project.

I can’t quite tell if STONEDALONE is tongue-in-cheek. It looks like vaporwave or pastel goth jewelry with a nifty marketing hook. For example, “the blue crystal simulates a sense of shavasana after a harrowing reddit session” — how is that anything but sly self-parody?

On the other hand, there are bizarre cyber witches out there who are 100% sincere. So you never know.

Both the look and the ethos of STONEDALONE heavily remind me of cybertwee, a digital femme collective that most notably sold cookies on the deep web. And cybertwee itself is a kawaii reinterpretation of VNS Matrix.

Performative femininity has always flourished on the web, but it seems to have gotten more self-conscious about it. Hmm.

Mania and Miscellania

Happy Election Day! (Sorry, international readers. It’s almost over.) Or you might be reading this on the day after. I’m writing in the morning, so I don’t know who won! Who is going to win, I mean. Unless time is all predetermined and someone has won but we just haven’t arrived there yet. Isn’t it tomorrow already in Australia? Ahem.

@WarrenIsDead on Twitter — 2 real though.

@WarrenIsDead on Twitter — 2 real though.

The upshot is that there’s no fucking way I can focus today. I’m going to point you at some other interesting things:

Video still of Sarah Meyohas at work.

Video still of Sarah Meyohas at work.

Matt Levine wrote about Sarah Meyohas — “the artist who placed trades in penny stocks, caused the prices to move, painted the price charts on canvas, and then sold the paintings to art collectors” — and linked to a video about the project (five minutes long). Meyohas’ work brings together technology, money, and art in a particularly sardonic way. You should also read Levine’s commentary! Just scroll down to the “Art.” subhed.

Another video! This one was described as “a cosmic astral travel love story” by the reader who sent it to me. The artist calls it “a mesmerizing video short where two soulmates are reunited in a multi-dimensional plane of existence.” Definitely not cyberpunk, but it’s beautiful! Warning, however: the visuals are NSFW.

And finally if you want to read something relevant to the election, try “Inside the Sacrifice Zone” by Nathaniel Rich. You will come away frustrated but it’s a smart essay.

The More My Car Looks Like an Insect, the Better

Pink mecha. Artwork by Brian Clarke.

Artwork by Brian Clarke.

Artwork by Nick Rutledge.

Artwork by Nick Rutledge.

I hope the vehicles of the future do look cooler than sedans and minivans. But of course, by the time we get to the year 2137, the new aesthetic will be just as boring as the current aesthetic.

However, this visual is really the cutting edge:

Artwork by @greatartbot, which does consistently produce good art.

Artwork by @greatartbot, which does consistently produce good art.

That’s it. I’ve run out of opinions tonight.

Buildings, Exterior and Interior

I am profoundly uninspired tonight, so here are a couple of visual representations of potential futures:

Artwork by Tomoyuki Yamasaki.

Artwork by Tomoyuki Yamasaki.

Sorry about her extremely practical and appropriate attire.

Artwork by Joris Putteneers.

Artwork by Joris Putteneers.

If you want to read something, my friend Yael Grauer wrote about coping with her guilt about a friend’s suicide by reading their old chat logs.

Robot Nymphs with Milky Silicon Skin

Blake Kathryn is “a multidisciplinary designer and content creator” — more femme androids and other delights can be viewed on the portfolio website, Instagram, or Tumblr.

pastel pink android by Blake Kathryn

shiny gold fembot by Blake Kathryn

a pastel vaporwave portrait of Microsoft's Clippy by Blake Kathryn

Yes, that is Microsoft’s infamous Clippy. A robot nymph if I ever saw one…

Good & Normal Babies

My friend ReTech created these sculptures. I find them profoundly unsettling, and hopefully you will too. Dread the mechanized infants…

Update: ReTech deleted the Imgur galleries, but I saved a couple of photos.