How many of us have hung onto the tweets of Elon Musk with regards to his views on cryptocurrency over these months while the stock market reacts with volatile ups and downs. Thinking back to a conversation years ago with a friend who had jumped on bitcoin when it was worth a mere twenty-five cents, and how it now has jumped well over fifty thousand dollars — it was a boat many of us missed.
That doesn’t mean we can’t get caught up in the excitement of the whole idea of this currency floating around, albeit hidden at times and probably questionable because it seems impossible to regulate it to any degree; it now has become the main inspiration for Chinese artist CryptoZR. After working within a pioneering CryptoArt group exhibition in Beijing, the Guardian Art Center has become her first solo-themed exhibition entitled Cookie Cookie.
It sounds confusing, but try to stay with us here.
Taking in the effects of technology and the financial systems on humans, Crypto ZR works to show a “digital currency modified by smart contracts on ETH and EOS public blockchains” to using “non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to launch voting activities in the OpenSea marketplace and opened a CryptoArt museum, Chijin Art Museum, on a Cryptovoxels blockchain platform in 2020.” Now, even for us going through these terms and trying to grasp the meaning of them proves difficult. Still, when combined with forms of painting, animation, sculptures, and community involvement, we see a social piece at work—one of our favorites — Red and Blue for its tie to Ethereum.
Participants were able to bid on color blocks with a gradient of red to blue and over an extended time, a year to be exact, which was done through Ethereum. In this bidding process, participants were observed on the distribution of their choices. CryptoZR wanted to use such involvement to explore the varying ideologies brought about by economics and differing cultures. It was not quite like chasing Dogecoin or bitcoin. Still, it was exciting knowing the participants were going about their choices without knowing what the color represented and only watching how the process fluctuated throughout that period.
“I think artists need to be actively involved in current times,” explains CryptoZR. “For me, CryptoArt is not only a new format of art but also spawns a whole new world. Blockchain is a technique and medium to create art. My works are inspired by events happening on blockchain, which engenders spontaneous meaning rather than deliberately inserting them. I want to create aesthetics for the system, not just for a single work.”
Li Zhenhua, the exhibition’s curator, also shares, “I hope through CryptoZR’s creation and the materialization of her ideas, her works will become a beacon in CryptoArt. Cookie Cookie presents an overarching view of the artist’s online work as well as her endeavor to transform them offline.”
If there’s anyone or anything that can make you look at cryptocurrency beyond the hype and social media commentary, it is this fascinating new world of CrpytoArt that CryptoZR is leading.