Hidden Gems is a series of articles inviting curators, artists, and art professionals to highlight some of their favourite work in the Ephimera marketplace. For our first article, we welcome Sarah Maryam Moosvi, founder of Tara Digital Collective. The following words are written by Sarah.
Whether as artist or collector, those participating in the rapid development of the ecosystem supporting digital art on the blockchain have witnessed an incredible phenomenon. Digital creativity and the growth of the Metaverse has thrived even as we as individuals become increasingly removed from the past realities of our pre-pandemic lives.
When approached by the Ephimera team to highlight works minted on the platform during the period following its launch in November 2020, I was busy at work putting together a viewing room. Dedicated to the women of crypto art, the Venus of Metaverse exhibition is spearheaded by MakersPlace, in partnership with the fantastic organizations DADA, WOCA and Universe Contemporary. Through artist support and thought leadership, these groups have played a direct role in the formation of this nascent space.
It was through this lens that I reviewed the works on Ephimera. I immediately found myself gravitating toward pieces by three female artists on the platform whom I admire as artists and progenitrices of the Metaverse we are creating together. In my mind’s eye, I began to see Sarah Zucker’s 3gr@ces, Gala Mirissa’s /PASSION OF NATURE/ and GISELXFLOREZ’s Water Seed in Recollection as a triptych for our time.
Zucker’s 3gr@ces explores the spiral dance of time through both medium and message. Her creative practice incorporates the high tech of the past, thus reifying her tools and work as a product of the “future” of the past and a foundation for the “past” of the future. Similarly, Zucker’s vision of the Graces is both classic in form and a reference to our digital age. Her Graces assume the canonical pose, yet stand upon the platform of a data tree drawing input from the sea. Output in the form of fountains sprays from the heads of the Graces in what can be read as a reference to the ways in which our connection to the sea of knowledge that is the Internet informs our collaborative and communal output in the Metaverse.
Gala Mirissa’s /PASSION OF NATURE/ condenses cycles of creation and destruction. The generative nature of the feminine is represented by GAN-generated images of nature across the seasons. A female figure in flames, what would typically be a fearful image of destruction, appears to jog at a leisurely pace across the shifting forms of the natural world in full bloom. Near the middle of the work, the environments shift from greenery to bare branches and icy peaks. Again, the female figure appears, this time made of gold. Her dance seems to bring the world around her back to life. Lakes burst forth from snowy peaks, in turn giving way to forests and fields. As purple flowers cover valleys, the electronic beat drops and the female figure appears running toward the viewer. The cycle of creation and destruction begins again.
Female forms are absent in GISELXFLOREZ’s Water Seed in Recollection, yet the mystic power of the feminine is imbued throughout the piece. A line from the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, a Sanskrit text dated between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, accompanies the work: “”Know that all of Nature is a but a magic theater, that the great Mother is the master magician, and that this whole world is peopled by her many parts.” A video of gentle waves appears to shift from sphere to circle and back again, evoking the image of earth as seen from space. This sense of volume is an optical illusion created by the rotation and the framing of the video elements of the piece: water, an element traditionally associated with the feminine, gives birth to a new world. GISELXFLOREZ evokes the dichotomy and inherent tension of the promise of the Metaverse. A new world awaits, at once flat and yet full of forms, its final shape awaiting our creation.
These pieces each explore aspects of the mystic and archetypal feminine. The roles ascribed to the feminine take on new meaning when viewed within the context of the nonstop meme-cycles of our digital-first lives. Likewise, my sincere hope is that female artists will continue to shape the Metaverse in new ways that go beyond female representation as maiden, mother or crone.
Sarah Maryam Moosvi is the Founder and Lead Strategist of Tara Digital Collective, a hybrid digital strategy consultancy and gallery program dedicated to digital art on the blockchain. Venus of Metaverse is on view through March 31.