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Date Minted: March 30, 2020

Artist Description: burst_ artwork 31 / HELP WITH TOKENS: I will donate 100% of the revenues from this artwork!! Explanation: I’m stranded in Huanchaco (Peru), because I was preparing for an exhibition in Lima and supporting my girlfriend who is working as a therapist with underprivileged population. Since 2 weeks, like everybody here, we live in strict quarantine. This means we live in a military exclusion zone, (since we have infected people in this little beach town) where the military is checking everybody on the street and nobody is allowed to go outside at night. Normally most of the local people live from day to day (mostly from tourism) and families often from less than 5 dollar a day.. They have no way of earning money to feed their families now and the state support is not enough. Some friends of us started a crowdfunding to raise money to buy food/medicine and give as quickly as possible to those who really need the help now!! I will donate 100% of the revenues from this artwork to this project! - Pandemic 2020. GIF, 960 × 960 pixels

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

This is not the first time I’ve cited Colborn Bell’s analysis of Trash Art as being, “about speed and responsiveness to culture in the moment. It is not about the object itself but about the object's relation to the space and time in which it was created and how that permeates over time.” And while, at first glance, it might feel strange to put Burst_’s HELP WITH TOKENS into the category of Trash Art, especially considering the severity of its subject matter, I see this as an enormous compliment and spiritually, if not thematically, correct. HELP WITH TOKENS manages to announce itself as a marker of a specific moment in time as seen from a specific place, doing so not only with its physical composition, but with the elements around its composition: an explanatory Artist’s Description and a colloquialist title, for example. While it fits stylistically into Burst_’s overall oeuvre, HELP WITH TOKENS seems to at the same time transcend its relationship to the other pieces Burst_ has created with its intense temporal specificity and its subsequent stamping of itself on a specific place and time, as if a postcard, or a letter from a now-ancient world. 

On Superrare, the artist labels himself “an anonymous cryptoartist with an emphasis on post-neoexpressionism and digital art. He creates futuristic-hybrid-organic artworks as well in a digital as physical form. These are multi- and mixed media artworks which are supported by video, animation, digital media and actual painting. He often plays with motives which are repeating itself, a sort of code. Transformative processes of the human psyche in a digital age constitute an important focal point of his work.” How this manifests in his work is a kind of constant glitchiness almost reminiscent of a less-violent XCOPY, but affixed to any number of styles. There are pieces which call back to the modernist painters like Munch. There are pieces which are unmistakably internet-inspired like those of Max Osiris. There are signature stylistic flourishes —like a constant inclusion of repeating, hand-written words, often enough “HAHA” posted over and over in large chunks— but an overarching interest in experimentation that it’s hard not to find inspiring.

HELP WITH TOKENS was minted relatively early in Burst_’s oeuvre, and we can see how it informs the development of his style over time. Again, here we see the glitchiness in the form of the piece’s physical shaking, its acid-washed, acid-trip colors washing over themselves within a box in the center of the piece and then, suddenly and only for a half-second, expanding outwards into a square four or five times its original size. Information flashes constantly around the screen, including the appearance and disappearance of red-inked words, “Help with tokens,” appearing either as en entire phrase or as segmented words, popping up here and there, sometimes even glomming over another version of itself and becoming illegible, a mishmash of color and, words turned into squiggles by the nature of their appearance. Some items in the piece are constant though, like the opaque orange ring, almost like a square frame, which separates the center of the piece from the edges, and which —almost transparently— reads “Don’t be afraid, it is coming.” Quite harrowing. And all this sits atop another rather harrowing image: a photo of a seaside town, presumably the Huanchaco, Peru mentioned in the Artist’s description, but being patrolled by a series of uniformed soldiers walking in formation. It’s a bizarre juxtaposition, the natural beauty of this coastline, dotted with windswept palms and sand, and the soldiers. Makes structural sense that Burst_ would remove all color from the initial photograph. Seeing as HELP WITH TOKENS reflects a moment early pandemic, filled with fear and paranoia, it makes sense that color would be temporarily sapped from the image, or at least all color except the blood-red of the writing, the faded fiery orange of the opaque frame, and the anxiety-ridden flashes of green, turquoise, purple, yellow. And the central acid-wash psychedelia which explodes and contracts? Now, as I stare further at this piece, it seems even more malignant, some omnipresent cancerousness which one might be able to ignore for a moment, but then, without warning, it expands wildly outwards, takes up the whole of the world, before vanishing back again to the depths of the psyche from whence it came. 

Admittedly, I’m pretty taken with this piece. I’m impressed with its ability to communicate a very specific kind of mental violence, and I’m impressed with the thoughtfulness of its juxtapositions, especially when we consider the exceeding specificity of this piece’s content. What we are seeing, mind you, is not just a specific moment in time at a specific place in the world, but the very specific headspace of a very specific perception at that place and time. It’s High Art, what HELP WITH TOKENS aspires to, an inexorably internet-inspired kind of Impressionism, the communication of a mind outward through expression. I hate to use platitudes, but I do feel like I know Burst_ better for having seen this piece. Or perhaps it’s more apt to say I feel like I know this captured version of Burst_ better, the one there and then, for having seen a piece like this, which that old Burst_ created.