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THOT Eating Vitamin Like

Museum Link:  https://app.museumofcryptoart.com/collection/the-permanent-collection?collection=0xb932a70a57673d89f4acffbe830e8ed7f75fb9e0&token=9602&page=1

Source Link: https://superrare.com/artwork-v2/thot-eating-vitamin-like-9602

Date Minted: April 19th, 2020

Artist Description: Please help feed your local THOTs the vitamin like they so desperately need

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

When I was younger, knee deep in an unnecessary film school education, I stumbled upon a Youtube video that talked about the power of a director in comedy movies. More specifically, it used various comparisons to bigger-budget studio comedies to demonstrate the brilliance of director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Baby Driver), and how Wright would use every aspect of the frame to his comedic advantage. Aspect ratio could drive comedy. So could framing, editing, color, sound editing. It wasn’t just about performance or script. The director used every opportunity at this disposal to increase the comedic output of his product, and it helped to solidify his position as one of the most prominent comedic directors in the world.

Ambigious is not Edgar Wright. Ambigious is not close to Edgar Wright. The artist has an overstuffed Superrare page full of half-baked ideas and even this piece, THOT Eating Vitamin Like, I find pretty ridiculous and self-obsessed. But boy oh boy, if this artist isn’t gifted at using every aspect of their medium to its fullest aspect. Ambigious doesn’t display much technical brilliance in their pieces, and THOT is no different, but to a certain extent this is twisted into an advantage. The artist’s blocky, simplistic, deadened artistic style lends itself to deadened, odd, and off-putting pieces. It takes a wise artist to lean into their strengths the way Ambigious has leaned into theirs, and while I’m not fan of THOT as far as content is concerned, I’m enamored with the artist’s ability to leverage every aspect of their talent (or lack thereof) to increase the piece’s effect. I may not like THOT. But I’m damn impressed by it.

If I was entirely without context, I’d probably think that THOT Eating Vitamin Like is some kind of homage to early-era 3-D art, aged into uncanny valley obscurity, like you’d see in concept art for the original Toy Story, back when software was stilted, and outputs were weak, and character models childish in comparison to what we’re capable of now. Animation today is sophisticated in how it reflects reality. But THOT lives in the uncanny valley. Ambiguous’ unsophisticated renderings are almost ubiquitous in their art. Constantly, we find pieces with low-effort renderings, with hyper-niche subject matter, with heavyhanded collage and unnecessary filters. One can sniff the Trash Art influence if you can’t exactly see it.

But that’s not necessarily a negative here. In a piece so interested in being off-putting, THOT achieves an expanded (dare I say admirable level) of technical discomfort from how perspective and angles and 3D models are used to demonstrate the action therein. For example, we as observers are positioned either too close to the subject matter —revealing obliquely grotesque details and unnatural movements— or too far away —where we can see various unfinished edges on some of the 3D models, like how the woman’s head in the center of the piece is in fact a dismembered body part, cut-off cleanly at the neck. Or how we’re never looking straight on at what’s happening, but are instead observing the animation from mostly dutch-angles, giving the whole piece a somewhat Hitchockian ambience of discomfort.

And then there’s the items within the piece itself, all built to exude to a similar effect. Like how the woman’s face has been kept expressionless, without any realism past its weird, blotchy skin. This woman’s face, the image’s physical and ideological heart, has a doll’s deadness we can’t escape from: those empty eyes, that over-starched hair, it’s completely unnatural movement, gravity, and realism. A disembodied hand can’t just be a hand, it has to be made of many dozens of tiny spheres. And “Like Button” symbols, thrown hither and thither by the aforementioned hand, have to hang at the edge of the woman’s lips like they’re bugs or pustules or some sign of sickness. I may not love how THOT makes me feel, but damn it if it doesn’t do a bang-up job of making me feel it.

But while marvelously off-putting in its composition, it feels wrong to keep from this commentary  my opinion that THOT’s subject matter is too gauche to be taken seriously, a childish-at-best, misogynistic-at-worst opinion of social media worship. 

What this piece wants to say is very obvious and very unimaginative. Were it not for its construction, THOT would simply join the funereal cavalcade of commentary on our collectively obsessive relationship to social media. Watch as the mindless “Internet User” opens wide to swallow as many Likes as possible! Watch as she (always a she) takes these “Likes” on the proverbial chin, and don’t worry, those sexual allusions you’re thinking of are real and present and oh-so tired. Yes, some people are desperate for validation on social media. They might even get off on it! It’s a fine, albeit relatively uninsightful, theme, but does nothing to advance or explore the topic, interested in nothing more than identifying it.

But what I don’t like, and what was clearly a slapdash decision devoid of subtlety or thoughtfulness, is Ambigious’ centering this piece around a woman and using the word THOT in the title (“That Hoe Over There”). Like I said, childish-at-best, misogynistic-at-worst. Ambiguous wants to comment on internet usage but unnecessary and tellingly turns their comment into an indictment of women, one no more sophisticated than you’d find on a 14-year-old’s first 4chan post.

I don’t want to speculate about the artist’s potential desire to create something subversive, but by all outward appearances (and after all, what more can I judge THOT one but its appearance?), this is the work of someone with either an entirely juvenile understanding of social media norms, or a constructed and artificial ignorance of all the various social factors which contribute to their perception that its women who are the main purveyors of such norms.

Perhaps I’m being too sensitive. Perhaps I expect too much from artists. But I just can’t shake the relative lack of imagination I sense in this piece. It’s just so trite, and just so tired in what it seems to say, in what it seems to think is some original point-of-view. That’s not a symptom of Trash Art, which is oftentimes subtle and layered and responsive to a specific event. THOT Eating Vitamin Like doesn’t seem interested in responding to anything. It just seems interested in hearing itself speak.