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3p0

Museum Link: https://app.museumofcryptoart.com/collection/the-permanent-collection?collection=0x41a322b28d0ff354040e2cbc676f0320d8c8850d&token=561&page=1

Source Link: https://superrare.com/artwork/3p0-561

Date Minted: August 2, 2018

Artist Description: Mining C3P0

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

Well this isn’t this piece fun! The beloved Star Wars IP factors frequently into Hisartwork’s work, with both overt and subtle homages therein to this most foundational of science-fiction archetypes. 3p0 takes that inspiration and enters it into an aesthetic framework often found throughout Hisartworks’ (confusing), where a white background fills with individual pixels, those pixels then coagulate into a single image, and then dissolve again, flying off the other edge of the image. Often, these pieces focus on Crypto-related imagery: Doge or the Bitcoin symbol, for instance, or Litecoin or Superrare’s logos. 3p0 is more playful than that, taking the Crypto Art inspiration and applying it to an unrelated, Pop influence. 

The Artist Description reads “Mining C3PO,” so it’s safe to assume that we’re meant to draw some allusion to Cryptocurrency procedures. In mining C3PO, we are taking the same steps as if we were mining bitcoin, or Ethereum, or any other Cryptocurrency: ripping it forth from its programmed prison, bit by bit by bit. And that’s exactly what we see here, as a few hundred individual pixels of yellow and blue rush from the left edge of the image to the very center of the piece, staying stagnant in the form of a pixelated C3PO for maybe a millisecond before dissolving again, rushing away off to the right-most ends of the screen.

When mining a Cryptocurrency, individual transactions are carried out which break off bits of the overall Cryptocurrency from some safe-guarded, well-protected central lodestone. Nodes, breaking off, lodes; hence, the mining analogy. The assertion of this piece seems to be that an important pop-culture figure like C3PO also exists in some hidden databank (Jung’s Collective Unconscious, anyone?), requiring the exploits of human beings and their imaginative computations in order to access it. 

Or the piece could be asserting that everything, not just cryptocurrencies, are made up of many hundreds of individual pieces, all necessitating the advanced power of many different engines (thinking, computational, mathematical, etc.) in order to build them together into the final image. Think about Star Wars for instance, an IP invented by a single man, George Lucas, but requiring countless moving parts in order to become the cohesive end product that we know. Costume designers, story artists, camera-people, lighting staff, voice actors and sound designers, directors and producers and focus groupers, those with the marketing departments and those in construction, those in catering and those who cleaned the bathrooms in Mark Hamill’s trailer. Without these integral pieces, the end product, the thing as it exists in our collective understanding —having evolved from image to concept to nostalgia— would cease to be. There are associations we make when seeing an image like this. We picture certain movements. We hear certain sounds. We find ourselves transported to certain places, playing out certain scenes. We ourselves revert back to certain states of mind, remembering certain memories, recollecting certain emotions. These are the kinds of things that are inherent in an image like C3PO, built not of its own devices, but of the countless individual impositions of feeling, place, and circumstance that the image conjures in every member of an overwhelmingly large populace. They are the pieces rushing in from the left to form the image. And the image dissolves again, into its individual pieces, to repeat the cycle over and again, over and over.

The mining of pop cultural images, therefore, is a limitless project. This is not Bitcoin, with a total 21 Million Tokens. There is a half-life to all things, but it is not baked into the foundation of the image itself. The program is our collective longevity. That’s the only limit to the thing’s emotional and valuable existence. 

This is probably an exaggerated amount of meaning to place onto an image which may very well have lower aims: to be fun, perhaps, or engaging. While not exactly an architectural wonder, it’s not difficult to imagine this piece in a Metaverse home, helping describe the personality of its owner. After all, FunkoPOP dolls have proliferated into dorm, living, and bedrooms around the world, built off no stronger impetus than the desire to proclaim one’s love for certain IPs. 

When we look back upon Crypto Art with nostalgia, far back in our rearview, it may pique these same nodes of nostalgic reverence that, now, something like Star Wars does. It may well have a certain name, a certain voice, a certain feel, conjuring memories of place and person and possession. When does a Bitcoin become more than a Bitcoin? When it leads to specific purchases, specific lifestyle changes, or when it’s connected to a face, a place, a time. What differentiates that and C3PO? Is not that his memory has proliferated out and touched others? Are these not both images with deep roots and widely-extended branches?