In art, as in everything else, it’s arguably not what you do that matters but how you do it. This basic philosophy underpins much of the contemporary and post-modern art movements, in which the artistic process, narrative, and messaging often take precedence over a work’s medium or particular aesthetic.
It’s little surprise that plenty of artists in Web3 choose to spend much of their energy focusing on concept and delivery. Combined with the NFT ecosystem’s penchant for hype-building, leaning into these two dynamics is a strategy that has served many well. Among them is Xer0x, the digital artist known for just as much for his edgy social commentary and experiments as his glitchy, insightful artwork.
Every week, nft now’s Next Up unveils a new artist from our curated list of ascendant talents who have been making significant waves throughout Web3. This week, we’re excited to feature Xer0x.
Xer0x is a sound engineer and digital artist known for weaving themes of behavioral economics, satire, and copy culture into his creations. Each of his artworks is designed to exist independently, with minimal to no correlation with his previous pieces.
A staunch proponent of universal access to information and artistic opportunities — and a self-professed social hacker and performance artist — Xer0x often conducts public demonstrations that utilize the power of blockchain technology and social media platforms.
We had the opportunity to ask Xer0x a few questions about NFTs and his artistic process.
nft now: How did you first become interested/involved in NFTs?
Xer0x: My background is in audio. In late 2020 I developed this unusual hearing condition called tinnitus. I basically hear a constant ringing sound. It’s not a real sound, but somewhere between my ears and my brain, it becomes real. Feeling betrayed by my craft, I turned away from audio towards the closest thing I could find in the visual world: GIF animation.
“I’ve learned maybe a dozen ways of depicting noise in my work. I’m at peace with it. I swim in it like it’s the ocean.”
GIFs move a lot like how sounds move through time; they also loop, so you could sequence them like you would a sound within a drum machine or midi sequencer. So to me, I’m dealing with visual music.
There’s also a deeper spiritual element I find with my style — because I make all of my pieces at night in pitch darkness. I work days, and the noise I hear in the quiet of the night disappears as I work on my animations. If you look through my pieces, you’ll notice that I work with visual noise a great deal… I’ve learned maybe a dozen ways of depicting noise in my work. I’m at peace with it. I swim in it like it’s the ocean.
nft now: How would you describe your art?
Xer0x: Film noir smoke and phosphorescent static. I’m a bit obsessed with turn-of-the-century aesthetics: electrification, the machine age, Art Deco, German Expressionism. I think, for one, there was this huge promise of what tomorrow would bring, but also that the future would be tangible, albeit industrial. We live in an immaterial reality where nothing feels solid. All our thoughts, memories, and information are stored in the cloud.
It’s hard to even picture the future because there’s nothing particularly exciting about microchips becoming even more microscopic, is there? And that’s maybe the most optimistic we can be — improved processing power or something equally inhuman.
So for myself, the most interesting future was one people imagined in the late 1800s to early 1900s. The film noir smoke and phosphorescent static of the urban metropolis.
nft now: What’s your process like? Where do you usually find inspiration?
Xer0x: I tend to start with a concept. I usually have a title before I have a piece, and sometimes I’ll be thinking of a concept for a few weeks. A lot of times, I’ll have no real way of visualizing the concept, so I give up and tackle a new idea. Words don’t always translate to visuals despite what AI has everyone believing.
Every piece is supposed to live, just like music lives. They need to emit energy like a living thing would, needs to move like a living thing, needs to be flawed like a living thing. It needs to be the opposite of sterile. If a piece comes out dirty and scarred, then I can at least know it came from me. To be sterile is to be dead.
The post Next Up: Xer0x on Visual Music, Spirituality, and Creating at Night appeared first on nft now.