Going back in for my gloves / Closing in…

Highlighting two amazing works for Halloween this year from Danish artist Sp√łgelsesmaskinen

Above: Going back in for my gloves

Moving down a hallway, a door opens, and a cloaked phantom appears to walk through the next doorway. Repeat.

Above: Closing in

Running through a forest at night, light glimmers from flashlights, bouncing on the ground and leaves as we close in … on something.

As simple loops, Going back… and Closing in are perfect examples of Danish artist Sp√łgelsesmaskinen’s work found on the Tezos-based Hic Et Nunc platform from early 2021: both pieces are eerily mysterious, permeated with shadows and contrasting light, all created with 4-bit graphics reminiscent of vintage computer games from the late 1990s.

The framing differs between the pieces, but they share a sense of propulsion, moving forward with almost identical speed and perspective. The looping repetition is seamless, adding more uncertainty to the perplexing search. Where are the gloves? What are we closing in on?

I have no idea how the artist comes up with these concepts, nor do I want to know. Mystery is what makes these pieces come together so well. The pieces are permeated throughout by an unsettling, disconcerted sense of unease. It feels dated and timeless at once, and that sense of curiosity is piqued every time I come upon these enigmatic little gifs. Even the blurbs (on Objkt) where a description normally goes says nothing terribly descriptive, only the characteristics of the file itself, and the items contained within:

The artist remains prolific, continuing to produce works on both Ethereum and Tezos, and has a gallery show at Bricks Gallery in Copenhagen through November of 2023. Feel free to follow the artist via the links below:

Website: https://www.spogel.xyz/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/spogelsemaskine

Objkt: https://objkt.com/profile/spogel/created

Ethereum: https://www.spogel.xyz/ssmbl/

Happy Halloween!

Map 1: Red zones

Artist: Helio Santos

Above: Red Zones

I’ve always loved maps, detailed maps, maps that show things that are no longer there and maps that make your imagination wonder at what is to come. My grandfather worked with the US Army Transportation Corps during WWII, and I own a few of his strategic maps of Europe, along with my parent’s travel guides through what was West Germany. I have atlases from countries that have changed names, and we have a globe showing borders that are now decades gone. I still have travel atlases from when my bands would tour the eastern USA in the 90 and 2000s. The beauty of maps is that they allow us to view place and time, geographically, and politically, for one fleetingly brief moment in history.

Heliodoro Santos is an amazing artist that I’ve admired since the early days of the Tezos-based Hic Et Nunc platform back in 2021. Most of his work that I’ve collected are described by him as “landscape generated by machine learning and computer vision algorithms. The dream of a landscape by the machine”. Below is one of my favorite pieces called Landscape dissolution II, described by the artist as “Exploring generative adversarial network and particles”:

Landscape dissolution II

Map 1 is my introduction to the artist using more two-dimensional work. I really love the colors at play here, they are the first thing that drew my eye to it, the strong contrast of reds, orange and light blue. As the viewer of any map, we want this area to exist, to find something familiar and focus on a concrete location, but we cannot. Much of this looks like the southwestern United States, the red areas resembling the heat maps that we’ve seen much of this year. It also looks like there are elements of the Mexican peninsula throughout. The piece feels very Pacific in nature. I love the fact that the map itself includes what appears to be a legend, in white, the text garbled, but still present. It’s beautiful:

Detail from Map 1: Red Zones

Once again, the mystery behind this work’s creation adds to its beauty. I’m sure I could try to get an explanation of processes and machinery behind this (perhaps not?) but regardless, it’s a really amazing piece that carries the weight of most maps in this day and age, portending geographic motion, displacement, confusion and massive, uncontrollable swaths of heat.

Link to piece on Objkt.com