VCA Curatorial Picks – Week 11th April, 2022

Welcome to this fortnight’s Vertical Crypto Art Curatorial Picks- our latest selection of creative innovators to watch out for in the crypto art space.

The four artists we are highlighting this week are linked by their creative usage of text in their works: Ana Maria Caballero, Sarah Ridgley, encapsuled and Sasha Stiles.

The works selected for today’s consideration use text as a basis for their explorations into process and space, with a shared fascination with automated creation and its relationship with meaning (or, at times, lack of meaning).

Let’s take a look…

Artist #1- Ana Maria Caballero, Mujeres’, 2022

A Harvard graduate, Ana Maria Caballero describes herself as ‘an award-winning poet having a crypto love affair’.

With poetry awards including the Colombia’s National Jose Miguel Arango Prize and the Beverly International Prize, it is unsurprising that her work impresses, even if simply read as a poem. ‘Mujeres’ sensitively but powerfully reveals a family’s troubled story in a few short verses with an intimate domestic setting which leaves the audience feeling as if it has insight into moments of real privacy. 

Yet Caballero’s piece goes beyond the impact of words, incorporating her own haunting voice, atmospheric music and illustrations by graphic artist, Octavio Irving, ultimately transforming the work into an absorbing, unforgettable, almost cinematic experience.  

In an interview with NFT commentator, Kaloh, at Basel last year, Cabellero’s pure excitement over the potential of NFTs was palpable: ‘what [I] love is this whole underground vibe that has all of a sudden elevated itself to mainstream, but a mainstream which hasn’t lost its edge.’

Twitter, website, Foundation, OpenSea

Artist #2- Sarah Ridgley, ‘Midnight Confession’ (from ‘A Lover’s Case’ series), 2022

Midnight Confession

Sarah Ridgley is a generative artist, printmaker, poet and creative coder. She describes her work as a body which ‘focuses on exploring the space between the hand-drawn and the computer-drawn and trying to blur those boundaries’.

A key project for Ridgley is the creation of a generative handwriting algorithm-or Asemic manuscript [or GLAEM]- which she describes as having co-created with a book and her computer. This links to her ‘Asemic writing’ works, with Asemic defined as ‘having no specific semantic concept’. 

‘Midnight Confession’ is generative art, coded in JavaScript. The process and the artwork are concerned with mark making itself and the work suggests possible meanings, with marks resembling handwriting and the title and damaged rose-like marks suggesting a lover’s tiff. However, it is asemic, created by an algorithm and therefore ‘freed from the need to mean’. 

Ridgely’s commitment to ‘freeing’ the word from its own process is reminiscent of Paul Klee’s 1925 statement that ‘A line is a dot that went for a walk.’ The artist begins the process but the final artwork is created automatically and, therefore, sits beyond the control of the artist.    

Twitter, Art Blocks, Foundation

Artist #3-encapsuled ‘Flow’, 2022

Flow by encapsuled

Like Ridgely, the incorporation of uncontrolled elements is key to the work of the Italian poet, writer and collector, encapsuled, who explains how he ‘likes to play with words and involve collectors in his creative practice.’

We have selected a recent work, ‘Flow’, for its consideration of how image and text can be experienced together. The work is both philosophical and poetic, the subject matter engaging the concept of embracing the uncontrolled and uncontrollable, both in art and life. 


Things change. 

It’s inevitable, 

I tried to resist many times 

“this will not last” 

“it’s just a period” 

but the world never listened. 

And so I changed too. 

I stopped resisting and started embracing. 

The flow 

is not against you.

The flow just is.

The work also draws on earlier examples of his work, including ‘Journey’, which is comprised of distinct chapters, the first collector of each chapter was allowed to choose the direction of the next chapter, by selecting from the options provided by the artist.  

Twitter, Versum, website, KnownOrigin

Artist #4Sasha Stiles & Technelegy, Floralgorithm’, 2021

On her website,  Sasha Stiles identifies as a ‘first-generation Kalmyk-American poet, artist and AI researcher probing the intersection of text and technology’. Stiles is also a graduate of Harvard and Oxford Universities who has an AI alter-ego and collaborator named ‘Technelegy’ (also the title of her acclaimed book of poetry which asks the question ‘What does it mean to be human in a nearly post-human era?’)

Floralgorithm’, is a collaboration between Stiles and Technelegy, which investigates not only the juxtaposition between words and technology but also between nature and technology (interestingly, a relationship also considered by Ridgley). 

Like Cabellero, Stiles final work transforms her poem by incorporating her own voice and the beautiful wistful music (of the international musical director, Kris Bones). The resulting work is a soothing, hypnotic piece that alludes to nature and attempts to conjure up an inner poetic response to it. 

Both Ceballero and Stiles are founding members of @theVERSEverse, a literary gallery where poems are valued as works of art, of which Ridgley is also a member.

Twitter, website, instagram, Foundation

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VCA Curatorial Picks – Week 25th April, 2022