David Rudnick, Stem (detail), 2021. Courtesy the artist.
“Welcome to the Metaverse” is a two-part program exploring the emergence of virtual forms in community, economy, and culture. This first session brings together designer David Rudnick, artist/curator Aria Dean, and Rhizome’s Artistic Director Michael Connor. The point of departure for their conversation is the idea that today, a person’s everyday experience, sense of self, job, wealth, and future, may be more deeply tied to digital contexts than physical ones. This shift is further complicated by what Rudnick describes as a struggle for “primacy,” proposing the terms “physical prime” for the belief that value is largely tied to physical sources (as with traditional art objects or real estate), and “digital prime” to refer to a value system that privileges digital sources of value and meaning (as with cryptocurrency or NFTs). These value propositions represent the poles in a looming conflict between historically unprecedented volumes of capital, leaving the contemporary viewer—who has little to gain from either position—caught in a no man’s land in between.
What artistic and political strategies are available for understanding and responding to this moment of upheaval? How might artists interrogate the overlaps and failures in these two positions, and navigate the space between them?
The second event in the program, will take place June 16, explores DAOs and other forms of social organizing that are facilitated by the blockchain.
This event is presented in conjunction with “World on a Wire,” the first exhibition in a new partnership between Hyundai Motor Company and Rhizome of the New Museum to showcase leading digital art globally.
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