Micol from VerticalCryptoArt interviews Sarah Zucker in collaboration with the Museum of Crypto Art. It happens to be on the eve of Sotheby’s curated NFT auction, “Natively Digital,” which includes Sarah’s work.
Sarah Zucker is an early Crypto Artist who started minting her work on the blockchain two years ago. Her interest in crypto art began in 2014 when she first learned of Kevin Mccoy’s NFT. Funnily enough, this is now being auctioned in the same “Natively Digita”l Sotheby’s auction as her’s.
She tells us how Yura Miron’s post about SuperRare gave her the “aha” moment. On the same platform, she quickly minted her first art piece. She gives a lot of gratitude to Jason Bailey, aka Artnome, who started collecting her work in 2020 and contextualised it, attracting collectors’ attention. She considers herself platform-agnostic, stating that artists’ availability of multiple entry points can help them find the ideal match for their work and experiment with their creations.
Sarah looks at the crypto art world as Pandora’s box that has now opened up indefinitely. The mass media has widely publicized and, in some cases, demonized the concept of NFT, and now the entire world is aware of them. She believes the technology behind NFTs has longevity, and it is simple and revolutionary. She leans towards calling it a “Boom” rather than “bubble.” The term “bubble” connotes anything that could burst and is associated with negative connotations, which is why she would refer to these last few months more as an initial “boom”. She cites an example from the 90s when the ‘dot com’ bubble burst, but that was in no way an indication that the concept of the Internet would fail. Now that the market hype of NFT has slowed down, she believes it is a good sign of healthy growth and a stable correction.
What’s upsetting for her is the misplaced rage hurled towards the artists, which sprang from a lack of knowledge and people imposing their moral imperatives on sensitive artists.
She transmuted all of these personal experiences with criticism to create a body of work called “Cassandra’s Complex”, which tells the story of a prophet being punished for his/her predictions. This is something she feels can be reflective of what might happen and is happening within Crypto Art.
Ray Kurzweil, a proponent of the futurist and transhumanist movement, is Sarah’s most important influence. Her creative practice is rooted in the idea of the internet as a humanities attempt to become a planetary civilisation. She sees the internet forming into a massive organism currently undergoing a push-pull process. Half of the population is resisting the future, and the other half eager to embrace it.
In the majority of her works, web-like structures, interconnectivity, and spectrums are prominent. Her favourite colour is rainbow, which has depth and synchronicity for her, as seen in her joyful, funny and colourful screen art as seen in pieces like ‘Moon Dance’, ‘Trapped in a box’ and ‘Stairway to Paradise’.
Themes of childlike wonder and experimentation are central to her work. She believes in nurturing one’s inner child while also cultivating a babysitter capable of making the child feel safe. Her body of work incorporates elements of the infinite spiral and trippy techniques she creates by tinkering and experimenting with various mediums. She began work on ‘Astral Antenna” in 2016. She states it’s the first VHS painting ever minted on the blockchain in early 2020 – which sees figurative, abstract, graphic work by combining analogue feedback and digital animation.
Sarah spent ten years as a street photographer, which influenced her digital work. Her creative practice revolves around the idea of capturing a moment. Making digital pieces like ‘WobbleWave,‘ her first solo mp4 token on the blockchain, takes a lot of planning and preparation. It began as digital animation, which she then transferred to her analogue system, a carefully curated collection of vintage gears that she meticulously assembled and connected. She followed her intuition there, letting go of the work’s planned intention. This work is now part of MOCA’s permanent collection.
Her work, titled ‘GlitchedSlapped’, is the first narrative short film to be tokenized on the blockchain, probably the first-ever. It has a total sound production with a story designed to loop, and it includes her distinct engaging, colourful and rhythmic style. According to her, filmmaking in the NFT space is still in its early stages. Currently, platforms restrict a size that doesn’t allow for the tokenization of entire films yet, but this may change.
Sarah Zucker will be an integral part of the Museum of Crypto Art as an Artist Council member. MOCA is the first Metaverse museum to exist entirely in virtual reality with a mission to safeguard the communal stories of crypto art and a decentralised publicly owned arts and culture platform governed and curated by MOCA token holders.
Sarah admires MOCA’s collection of crypto art, as well as the announcements about how they intend to use the MOCA token as a means of determining future acquisitions. She is thrilled there is an institution that values the self electing nature of crypto artists and leans towards elevating the culture of the crypto space.
As she expresses beautifully in words: “Societies that are artist-led tend to be healthier, happier societies because the artist’s role in society is to shine a light for everyone. Artists are people who are unafraid to stand at the edge of the abyss and gaze into it, and if we support them financially and culturally, in doing that, we all benefit.”
When it comes to criticism of the new media, she questions whether it has the same issues as old media, but she believes that the new media is improving itself not to have the same problems. MOCA is a place where that conversation is taking place. They recognise and appreciate the underlying values of the crypto art community and the art associated with it. There is a need to place this movement in a more significant technological, cultural, and artistic context. Rather than immobilising a movement, an understanding of the social-historical context liberates and empowers crypto artists and collectors.
She appreciates MOCA’s long-term archival approach, which combines art, tech, and finance aspects of the crypto space to speak to collectors’ interests while also serving artists.
For the crypto artists working in this space today, institutions supporting the technology and creating a blockchain-based archive of crypto art is crucial. The confluence of crypto art, technology and finance are necessary for artists who are now part of this culture-shaking movement which has changed the social hierarchy as we know it. MOCA provides an infrastructure for discourses around digital art, crypto culture, frontier technology and the financial aspect of NFT art.
Her advice to emerging NFT artists and collectors is to listen to people who educate. Not to have the same problems on finance and NFT technology and not listen to the naysayers.
Thank you to Sarah Zucker for this conversation and gratitude to the Museum of Crypto Art for this collaboration.
Article by Nitika. @nitikamusing