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2020 LSD

Museum Link:

Source Link:

Date Minted: November 19, 2020

Artist Description: 

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

Talk about a trip. Zafgod’s November 2020 journey through the madcap and slapdash world of crypto investing, 2020 LSD, is as inventive and difficult to ingest and stiltifying as one might expect. In that way, it seems an incredibly accurate portrayal of a time gone by, a time many admittedly seem to long for, but if 2020 LSD is anything to go by, these moments in crypto art were the kind of epoch much idealized in hindsight but perhaps not quite as romantic in the moment. I say this as someone who wasn’t there, who has heard only the stories, but who frequently finds himself in conversations where artists and builders and collectors reminisce about the good old days, when the space was free from hyper-investment, and when NFTs were still pretty underground, and when it seemed as if anyone could mint anything with impunity, finding unsolicited support coming from all sides. Zafgod seems to imply that most of the implied freneticism has been conveniently left out of the story. And 2020 LSD is a most frenetic of artworks. A looping video that contains a scattered array of artistic styles, that occupies a scattered array of tones, it communicates a version of the crypto world that, indeed, seems like an acid trip: up and down and unpredictable, heartbreaking and revelatory all at once, reflective and immersive, impersonal and communal, all very contrasting and incongruent, though simultaneously true, aspects of a vast and multifaceted space. 2020 LSD is a piece best experienced rather than communicated, but nevertheless, I’ll do my best to communicate it. I will try not to leave any details out. I will try to capture the multitudes. But know beforehand that, just like my compatriots talking about the unblemished past, I’ll be certainly sure to leave some crucial details out. Sorry in advance.

But it’s not all my fault! Look how quickly this piece moves! Look how much visual information is communicated in a mere 18 seconds! A journey of a thousand miles and many lifetimes, condensed into the time it takes to melt a stick of butter in the microwave. We begin with a crudely-drawn stick-figure of sorts, though their body is more worm than stick, kicking a soccer ball around on what seems a perfectly pleasant day: grass green, sky pink (which I assume is normal). Within a literal second of the video starting, this character has run off-screen and emerged into a room alongside another similar figure; they float around the space, bodies churning in space, lips circular and white, background flashing like an epileptic disco ball, as words appear between them. “Is cripto art” (sic) “What is art?” “Cripto cry, buy buy, crypto hi!” and by now the two characters have x’s for eyes and smiles across their faces. Only one is left. “Don’t forget to breathe” in white letters across the screen. Now we are launched into one of the pink bodies: a heart breaks, the screen turns all pink, and from this pink void comes a small pink object,  a curled worm that gets thrown across the frame and splatters against a far wall. Picking itself up, the little creature begins inchworming its way across the bottom of the image. We’re still only 5 seconds in. Soon, a game of snake begins playing on the screen, with the worm the eponymous character. Oh, but damn, it’s game over, the screen flashing pink and black and telling us so. A loading tab appears on-screen. Everything turns black.

From here, things slow down. Relatively We emerge from a moment of abject blackness looking down through a window onto someone playing on the computer. We zoom quickly closer to whatever is on their screen; it’s a skull sitting stationary in a graveyard. We’ve yet to see the computer user. An object —maybe a hand— suddenly descends from off-screen (computer screen) and smashes the skull, the frame going black once again, and the next thing we see are a number of hastily-drawn squiggles, all of them quickly composing themselves into a facsimile of a person’s face, a much more realistic and spooky type of artistry than what we’ve yet seen. All pink and black with white white eyes and an outstretched tongue, this frightening person’s bust takes up the entire frame. We zoom into their tongue, upon which sits a postage-stamp-sized tab of acid, the image is overtaken by pure bouts of color —pink and pale yellow, mainly—, and then we’re back again where we began, the pink worm-man once again kicking his little soccer ball, innocent of the trauma which we now know is about to consume him. 

Rather transparently, the piece mimics the frantic nature of life when consumed by the cryptocurrency world, by crypto art, or by the various content pipelines that adepts in the space suddenly find themselves funneled into. Not super for the psyche it seems, and the rave-like pace of the piece does an incredible job of disarming us, confronting us, jumbling us, and forcing us to try to find grounding in an artwork which moves quicker than we can consume it. It overtakes us, rushes past us, and yet, we’re still silly enough to try and wrangle with it. It’ll end up eating us whole; the only part of us more powerful than its sway is our hubris. Like being on an acid trip, we are most certainly not in control. 

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