With the recent crash of all things crypto-related, I thought I’d revisit one of my first purchased NFTs. By May of 2018, the price of most crypto was falling from recent highs, into a lull that would continue for the next full year and a half.
Around then, I discovered Fog Over Gowanus on one of the first NFT marketplaces, the now-defunct RARE Art Labs, an early home to such OG crypto artists as XCOPY, Hackatao and others. I have a background in photography, and really loved the image of the morning fog over the Brooklyn skyline here, highlighting the since-removed Kentile Floors sign in it’s original, industrial splendor.
Although RARE Art Labs is gone, I still own the token to the artwork in my Ethereum wallet. While this token proves provenance, date of purchase and price, it does not link to any known image of the artwork. In 2018, there was no easy way to store items on-chain, and the cloud-based IPFS wasn’t heavily used.
Luckily, I saw the above photograph while scanning a 2018 blog entry in Artnome, Jason Bailey’s fantastic, long-running art blog. I have two other pieces of art from RARE that aren’t so lucky — I haven’t been able to track down any high-res images of them.
But perhaps a solution will be found. Jason has gathered with some friends and started ClubNFT, a service that will eventually allow users to download copies of their NFT collections to their own devices. I greatly look forward to its release! At long last, I will finally be able to store all of the images onto a few tried and true SyQuest drives for all eternity.
Lance Weiler, known online as culturehacker, is an artist/storyteller who works with code to produce glitchy, striking images that often take you to unexpected places. Often working in portrait, his faces and figures are sometimes ghostly, and layered, sometimes striking or bemused. You can occasionally only identify a face by the lips, or nose. He was one of the earliest artists to release work on the Hic et Nunc platform in March of 2021, and remains active in the Tezos community via releases on Objkt.com.
Gemini is fairly typical of his lighter work, capturing a striking gaze in close duplicate, with a marked degree of distortion, melting and glitch. Gemini was a small edition of three. I noticed that another of the editions is owned by Ganbrood, a friend and artist who will appear in this blog soon.
Recently I found out that, like myself, Lance studied film in college, and that he had the opportunity to meet and shoot with the legendary art-film director, Stan Brakhage. This is really wonderful as I can see a bit of Brakhage’s reflections and influence scattered throughout some of Lance’s work. Lance also attempted to release a work a day in 2021, a creative exercise that is very admirable — and also exhausting! And he also recently wrote a nice piece about the demise and rebirth of the HEN community in November of last year. On top of all of this, he’s also the director of the Columbia University School of the Arts’ Digital Storytelling Lab.