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Portal

Museum Link: https://app.museumofcryptoart.com/collection/the-permanent-collection?collection=0xb932a70a57673d89f4acffbe830e8ed7f75fb9e0&token=10656&page=4

Source Link: https://superrare.com/artwork-v2/portal-10656

Date Minted:  June 1, 2020

Artist Description: I'm a digital explorer in search of her own body. Every programming language reveals a new color to me. I learned to float in different dimensions. 

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

Yes, this is a self-portrait. At least within the world that Argentine artist crypt0baby has created. If we look through the Artist Descriptions for her dozen and a half SuperRare pieces, we find passages that point to the creation of a narrative around the figure here at the center of Portal. I'm a digital explorer in search of her own body. Every programming language reveals a new color to me. I learned to float in different dimensions,” crypt0baby writes for Portal. “After a while I finished designing all my parts, now my sensors have volume and I feel everything more intense. If we meet in a chat room, I can be your digital fantasy,” reads the description under another piece, Venus, which depicts the same figure. Symbiosis, crypt0baby’s Genesis piece on Superrare, comes equipped with the phrase, “I came to this island to find new ways to navigate the pixels of my anatomy.” The figure that all these pieces center around —blue and bulbously-breasted, fleshy, a head necklessly disconnected from body, gold nipples and gold earrings and gold eyes— is the digital avatar crypt0baby uses to represent herself. But since that figure is so inhuman as to be cartoonish, crypt0baby has the freedom to craft intensely personal self-portraits around this figure that nevertheless utilize all sorts of strange, freewheeling, and imaginative environments. The rub is sifting through the hyper-stylistic artistry to find the allegory underneath. It’s never easy. But in her pieces, as in Portal, the visual information is so unique and attractive that the journey towards discovery is far more fulfilling than the theoretical destination. 

Crypt0baby’s ever-changing self-portraits take on slightly different dimensions each time they are codified, and in Portal the artist has glossed herself over with the shiniest of textures, appearing to be made out of blown glass. I could see this figure sitting on the shelf of a small artisan shop somewhere; look at how the light reflects off of the figure’s midsection. She has one hand raised up in the air and the other down at her side, seeming —in both color and position— to approximate a depiction of Shiva, the Hindu God. The environment around her, while not mimicking this texture, is bedecked in a version of it. The figure sits upon a great hill, a kind of mountain ridge that extends from the front of the piece deep into the distance, one of three parallel formations to do so. These topographical formations appear almost plasticine, reflective in places, sure, but otherwise mottled and homogeneous, made of predominantly grey and beige hues. Overhead and around, copper hoops ascend upwards and arc back down into the ground elsewhere, always in groups of three, never with the same size of dimensions or spanning the same distance. Scattered throughout the landscape, either sitting on the ground or floating in the air, are pieces of an amber-like substance. I count 10 in total.

Each of these various objects —crypt0baby, hills, amber, rings— seems to be made of different material, pulled from a different kind of composition. We can return again to the Artist Description: “I learned to float in different dimensions.” This a reflection of crypt0baby’s continuing (it seems) education within the realm of digital artistry, and here, yes, we see vastly different techniques juxtaposed together, like an artisan who has crafted a cohesive sculpture out of many different materials. Nevertheless, crypt0baby has ported us to a new and unintelligible world, the kind of realm where a god-like figure would sit —among objects and processes that can’t be logically interpreted— and one that seems to exist in the very cross-section where a number of other individual realms meet. Crypt0baby the avatar sits central among even these, the connective tissue herself.

I love the image conjured by the phrase “I'm a digital explorer in search of her own body.” It’s haunting and melancholy while expressing great hope and power. To seek out one’s body is inherently oxymoronic. Shouldn’t it be, you know, right here? But this is one of those peerless questions that artists can ask now that they have fractioned their existence between the physical and digital realms. The body left behind in the physical realm, but the mind and talent and muse all existing elsewhere, on the other side of a screen, requiring a specific set of knowledge and tools to access. What does it look like when one goes searching for a physical analogue in a digital realm in which those things are somewhat unnecessary or obsolete? What does one want to look like when they can look like anything?

There’s a great spiritual beauty to the way the crypt0baby avatar sits in this piece, at seeming calm in the center of a quasi-unintelligible cavorting of forms. This abstract landscape is obviously beyond the bounds of anyone’s logic, or of the artist’s, and, I presume, of the avatar’s as well. And yet, this is where the avatar sits, exists, waits thinking; as the avatar, so the artist. We are seeing that avatar in the process of becoming itself —a new programming language learned, a new color added to the palette, a bit more definition coming into one’s edges. I’m mesmerized by the idea of form following education, evolving out of gained information. As if every new idea learned is like a bit more fog cleared away from a mirror’s surface, and, oh, now we can see our ear, and is that what my eye looks like?, and oh, that’s how tall I am, here is how much space I take up in the world around me. 

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