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Message about digital garbage

Museum Link: https://app.museumofcryptoart.com/collection/the-permanent-collection?collection=0x41a322b28d0ff354040e2cbc676f0320d8c8850d&token=3733&page=1

Source Link: https://superrare.com/artwork/message-about-digital-garbage-3733

Date Minted: June 26, 2019

Artist Description: Photoshop filters are not a good reason to create digital garbage.

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

If there’s not much to look at, then presumably there’s much to think about. One has to imagine, when Fabiano Speziari composed his Message about digital garbage, he wasn’t exactly under the impression that he was putting together the next great artistic masterpiece, but rather the opposite, deconstructing art to its very basest elements: color and content. Despite the piece having something very clear to say, it’s unclear if it ends up saying anything at all. That’s not for any one person to say. And sometimes we aren’t meant to tear into a piece slowly, as we would a thick ribeye, piece-by-piece, but rather take it like a shot, let it go down, and then focus on the burning sensation it leaves in our throats. Message about digital garbage is a feisty shot of low-tier Vodka, a Rubinoff or Burnettes. It has no illusions about what it is, or what it’s meant to do. And it isn’t meant to be appealing. And it’s not meant to be softly sighed at or cooed over. Message about digital garbage is meant to communicate a short, eleven-word blurb to observers, one which may be directed at those with previous knowledge of the Crypto Art scene, or may just be for us to plaster our own internet experiences upon.

“Photoshop filters are not a good reason to create digital garbage.” White, blocky letters upon a blood-red background. The sentence itself is scrunched into the bottom third of the frame, with the image’s wide forehead an unbroken state of scarlet. I understand this may be a stretch, but in just the relationship between colors and their overall domination of the piece, there might, if you squint and really try to convince yourself, be a Rothko comparison to be made here. I’m not going to make it. I’m going to let that comment just hang out there, undeveloped, in the spirit of the piece before us.

There really seems to be two ways in which to examine Speziari’s intentions when it comes to the message Message is interested in purveying. Anger or irony.

In either case, Message stands alone from the rest of Speziari’s works, all of which have little or nothing in common with the conceptual theme and tonal schema that are presented here. A sudden bout of strong emotion must be responsible for shunting the artist towards conceptual communications and away from their usual interest in virtual landscapes and architecture.. So let’s examine anger first, an emotion that seems at least partially borne out by the dominant color scheme here; pleasing purples and greens this is not; Message about digital garbage assaults you with the fieriest color in its fieriest form.

“Photoshop filters are not a good reason to create digital garbage.” It would make a good Facebook status. It would make an even better caption under the uploaded photo of an archrival. The words themselves are even sunken at the bottom of the image, as if it is indeed a comment on something above it. It’s unclear if this potential anger is directed inward towards others within the Crypto Art world or at social media users, but in both cases, the artist seems to be recognizing and rebelling against a certain lazy aspect in art/photo-uploading, where the lack of effort is palpable and/or perhaps part of the appeal (don’t tell ROBNESS). Speziari seems to be suggesting that it shouldn’t be part of the appeal, and anyone who thinks otherwise is helping predominate the expansion of this superfluous and ultimately harmful art form. One can see his point. Speziari is, elsewhere in his oeuvre, thoughtful and intentional and creative in what he makes. Good writers hate lazy writing. Good musicians hate contrived pop. Good artists want quality art to be rewarded, but if placed within a glutted sea of so-called “digital garbage,” it’s hard for people doing actual work, taking actual time, and using actual thought in their work to succeed. 

There’s no point in examining the validity of that sentiment here, in this medium, but maybe it’s worth doing so yourself, internally. Message is clearly meant to provoke. “Message” as a physical, etymological word implies a recipient. If you aren’t feeling some kind of response to this piece, it means it hasn’t communicated anything with you, which means it isn’t even the thing it claims to be.

For another reading, we can trace the irony inherent in this piece. Though hinted at previously, there’s something overtly comic about someone railing against lazy art —”digital garbage”— by creating something that looks like, well, this. There’s not much going on here, just a background and some artfully-sized text; surely, this could not have taken longer or been more difficult to construct than the digital garbage questioned by the title. And that forces us to consider whether, if that digital garbage doesn’t have a right to exist, does this? Does Message gain some kind of credibility from critiquing something that it nevertheless is? I think of Groucho Marx claiming, “I don’t want to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” Well, Message has no choice but to be accepted into the very club it critiques, because it’s as much digital garbage as anything it rails against, or at least outwardly appears to be. What does it say about itself, and about Speziari in general, that his chosen method of criticizing “digital garbage” is to add another piece of it unto the ever-larger scrapheap?  It’s futile! It’s funny! Could it be these things on purpose? Are we left to ponder the irony of something attacking its own credibility? Or by simply singling itself out as the “good” member of a bad organization, does it dissolve itself of association with the thing it hates? 

(Although this piece appears to target ROBNESS and Max Osiris’ Trash Art Movement, it was actually minted about 7 months before ROBNESS’ 64-Gallon Toter appears to have been. This might be my own fault in shoddy researching, but while the title seems to specifically reference trash art in no uncertain terms, more research might be necessary before coming to such conclusions.)