MIAMI—Here are a few phrases I wish I would never hear again: Minting NFTs. Virtual reality. Metavers. They are the opposite of art — they are the tools of financial engineering. And these aren’t just hollow concepts, they actually hurt people. Billions of investment capital have disappeared into these voids.
If you don’t want to take my word for it, ask the more than 10,000 people who were fired from Facebook amid its clumsy attempts to rename itself “Meta” shaved 2/3 of the company’s market capitalization. Ask the Bored Ape Yacht Club “investors” who have seen hackers exploit a hole in OpenSea to buy NFTs from their owners. Or maybe just call a county attorney’s office, some of which have set up whole new divisions to deal with the flood of fraud emanating from this new space.
It’s disgusting and it sours this crypto OG all over the space.
So how to harvest something fresh and new from this charred land here in the fraud capital of the world, where crypto would transform this oft-remade city into “the next Silicon Valley” (as if the original Silicon Valley was a virtuous model).
Well, you can start with a beautiful woman singing her heartfelt songs with original choreography and a bespoke VR movie backdrop.
Fresh off a performance at the Venice Biennale, Carrie Able brought her XR Music to Art Week for “XR Music: The Miami Launch.” A room of 50 sipped (phenomenal) Ghost tequila and sported members-only hats and jackets in what could have been some sort of tongue-in-cheek anti-fashion statement, but actually looked pretty cool.
The event at Wynwood’s Somnium Space – one wonders how much longer Somnium will brag that FTX is among its sponsors now that Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto exchange has been revealed as perhaps the biggest fraud in the world. America’s Business Story – was billed as “DIVE INTO THE METAVERSE: A True Musical, Technological, and Artistic Activation with Carrie Able.
New York multidisciplinary artist, singer and songwriter Carrie Able performed a short set to accompany her recording Brighter the Burn while Weav offered an “interactive NFT experience using stems from an actual song, and the first to invite fans to be part of the creative process through an opportunity to purchase unique derivatives of the same song.
Those in the pretty room were joined by who knows how many were simultaneously watching an immersive live experience of the show elsewhere.
A “virtual reality DJ” – a guy standing there with those heavy sunglasses – spun records. And aside from a video screen depicting a skinnier version of him moving his hands, it was exactly like a billion art parties before him. Seriously, what’s supposed to be so special and upsetting about the Metaverse? It looked as interesting and futuristic as the file snooping scenes in Disclosure, the 1994 Michael Douglas film.
But you know what holds? Good songs, heartfelt singing and graceful dancing. On those scores, Ms. Able pulled it off, with the opposite of VR – a real heart and despite her rudimentary guitar chops, even a bit of soul.
The tall and striking Able took the stage in high-waisted pants and a gold suit jacket. She strapped on a bright red Fender Strat and only then did things get a little real.
Able sings in a low tenor and pulls off simple arpeggios. The subject is not groundbreaking – the struggles faced by female designers – but no less powerful for its familiarity. And again, the public, in search of a party during a week that has become as scenic as it is artistic, barely knows how to behave.
Able’s ultra-introspective songs are so personal they can almost sound like parodies of important artists. But the brotherhood-like element that shows up for an art show can’t help it. During a song that laments that “women work twice as hard for half as hard,” several guys were literally screaming and chasing each other. It’s hard to break through.
All of this takes place in an extremely online context of virtual reality films created by Able. We’re told she has her own filter on Instagram that suspends the femme fatale characters in space, which actually looks pretty awesome and was a compelling backdrop while she performed. The dancers, Pink Supakarn and Kate Griffler, were another highlight of the show – powerful performers who brought a ton of kinetic energy and live visual appeal to a scene that might otherwise have been weighted too heavily in favor of the dancers. video elements.
I confess that I am not the target audience for a performance like this. I’m literally too old for this shit. At 54, I was 10 years older than the oldest person. If my ideas of art as a direct connection between creator and audience are hopelessly outdated, I accept that. But to me, the proof that EM Forster’s command to “Connect Only” hasn’t quite outlived its usefulness is the fact that the show’s highlights allowed the audience to focus entirely on Mrs. Able’s words and melodies, the dancers providing powerful context and even some acting chops as they struggle and struggle to accompany her plaintive lyrics.
Ultimately, art is about connection. If future earthlings feel better able to connect through dumb headsets, I guess that’s fine with me. But for now, I think good songs well sung by good performers always work better.
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