From June 7 to July 16, 2021, I ate no food and consumed only water. During this period I created 40 works of art, one per day, beginning with 喜889 “Metaverse” and concluding with 喜928 “How Do You Put A Human On The Blockchain?”
This prospectus, written before the fast, lays out the nature and purpose of this series of works, and the scope of the 40th and final work.
Today’s child will grow up in a System where it will engage more as a virtual form than in “person”; where a majority of faces seen are filtered by a computer; where many leading entertainers are synthetic; where popular culture is algorithmically generated; and where billions have digital personae so accurate that their in “person” behavior can be algorithmically predicted and directed.
The world’s most powerful enterprises are creating Alternate Realities and Virtual Realities in technology and information.
Governments and corporations are beginning to mandate digital personae for humankind. These are used for identification, tracking, and access to goods or services. The World Economic Forum is encouraging the adoption of “the blockchain” for these digital identities. These representations are undignified and reductionist; the limits and perverse incentives of such systems change human behavior for the worse. With misguided plans to integrate “the blockchain”, these shoddy representations of humankind threaten to become permanent.
Is Humankind, the Apex of Evolution, to be branded and tracked like cattle?
Is Man, made in the image of God, reducible to bits?
Is our eternal end to be judged for the works of our heart, soul, and mind; or to be left behind as a profile on a blockchain?
“Digital twins, or replicas in the digital world of actual assets or objects, can only be leveraged and trusted if certainty of identity can be established.”
– World Economic Forum: “Building Trusted Digital Identities”, WEF Blockchain Toolkit
How Do You Put A Human On The Blockchain?
What meaning is there in a digital representation?
Already, our digital representations outlast us. What does it mean when they will be stored forever?
If I perish, yet my digital twin lives eternally? The networks of The System are filled with hatred, rage, envy, and all manner of perversion.
To be there forever would be condemnation.
Mechanical reproduction of humans fails miserably. Digital reproduction has failed, too; so permanent reproduction is fated to lack any dignity.
Only art has the enduring capacity to represent the human. Technology has invaded and shredded every aspect of culture it has touched, dehumanizing it by cutting it down in the name of efficiency. As technology begins to integrate and represent the human itself, humanity’s own image and creative potential is in question.
Already we see the emergence of Artificially Intelligent “creative” works of comparable or superior fidelity to human ones, and Holographic Specters with the voices, faces, and lucidity of human figures. What when humanity is chopped up to fit, and compete, in the same environment?
Who is running the show?
What place is there for the human heart, the mind, the soul? How can something devoid of these be eternal?
“Being a theomorphic creature, man is himself a work of art. The human soul when purified and dressed in the garment of spiritual virtues is itself the highest kind of beauty in this world, reflecting directly the Divine Beauty.”
– Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Knowledge and the Sacred
I will fast on nothing but water beginning June 6, 2021, and will complete the fast of 40 days and 40 nights at the end of July 15, 2021.
Every day, I will taken a snapshot and a Polaroid of my body, to create a serial daily record that has been posted on a “blockchain”. Read the technical details here.
I am capturing my body (digitally and in analog) in defiance of “cultural platforms” pushing human creatives into competition with algorithms and artificial “intelligence”.
I am fasting in defiance of platforms that commodify the human figure to encourage consumption, train algorithms, and mine data forever. The classic fast of 40 days is uniquely human, divine, and eternal at once, in complete opposition to the demonic representations technology is creating.
All 40 snapshots will be collated into the final work of the series.
With every snapshot, I will include a piece of writing to document the development of my thoughts and experience during the fast.
Technology encourages ever-more-rapid consumption; I will use it to document the path of ever-lesser consumption.
After every day and night of the fast, I will create a work that has been posted on Superchain. The first of these was 喜889 “Metaverse”, and one has been posted daily until the fast concludes with 喜928 on July 16, 2021.
We are in a time where the human spirit is cowed like never before.
The decade has begun with plagues, violence, and economic instability. Billions of human beings have been locked down and controlled. Houses of worship have been closed and authentic human connection is at an all-time low.
People have had nothing but technology to turn to, and yet digital connection has proven shallow. Culture is stale, and online communities are turning toxic and oppressive as people seek outlets to express their frustration at the “real world”. War is erupting on physical and digital terrain.
I look at history and know that such periods are fertile ground for cultural renaissance. I look at humankind and the power at our disposal and know that something less miserable can be created.
Our networks and culture are infested with demonic spirits of fear, greed, and aggression. A fast of 40 days is something of tremendous spiritual import; I am fasting and praying to get these most severe kinds out of our environments and return to a spirit of optimism and peace.