Greg Smith connects physical art and digital assets to grab in his show Absent Word Double

David J. Holcomb


New York based artist Greg Smith presently exhibits Absent Phrase Double, a system of do the job inspired by the BiP39 language, at Susan Inglett Gallery in Chelsea, NY, from March 18-April 23, 2022.

If you personal a crypto wallet you have gained a group of phrases serving as a back up to get better your belongings. These terms aren’t just any words. They are pulled from a specific record of 2048 words acknowledged as the BIP39 wordlist. Some words and phrases included are for instance summary, borrow, daughter, initial.

It is of class a terrific source of inspiration for artists considering the fact that it produces a new language which can be viewed as contemporary poetry. It is particularly what motivated Greg Smith in this new solo exhibition.

Installation by Greg Smith Susan Inglett Gallery
Absent Term Double Installation by Greg Smith (credit: Adam Reich)

The artworks of the show Absent Term Double are a sequence of “banners” developed employing many elements and with text, all belonging to the BiP39 record. “It’s terribly tricky to write some thing fair working with the BIP39 term record considering that so numerous significant phrases are missing, but at the exact time these uncomfortable phrases can connection to the Ethereum blockchain in a natural way, creating a type of electronic truth that sits alongside the physical display in the gallery.” says the artist. 

To go further, the artist did hyperlink electronic assets to the phrases included in his artworks. One of them getting a parcel of land in Wyoming aspect of the cityDAO undertaking. Some of the property have been claimed by the viewers and those remaining will be donated.

Greg Smith shares in this interview what led him to this display and what he hopes viewers will acquire from it.

CITIZEN, Greg Smith, 2022, cloth, thread, wood, encaustic, acrylic metal display, hardware, video watch, dry erase board, online video – 35 x 48 x 37 in by (credit rating: Adam Reich)

Can you notify us about your exhibition “Absent Term Double” and the inspiration that led to this overall body of perform?

I guess I’ve been sewing and creating banners for very a even though, but I was usually unsure about what to put on them. A banner demands a slogan, it looks to me, but the examples I arrived up with didn’t interest me incredibly substantially. So I commenced wondering about constraining a language to pressure the slogans into instructions I couldn’t handle. This is when I stumbled onto the BIP39 term listing. I’d generally been amused by some of the seed phrases that Metamask spits out, which often examine like absurdist jokes or concrete poetry. Only right after some research did I understand that the BIP39 word record could be applied to examine all sorts of factors, from ruminations on divorce, to tries to construct a calendar, to (of training course) slogans. I was promptly drawn to how this BIP39 “language” both equally closed things down and opened points up: It is terribly complicated to publish one thing sensible employing the BIP39 phrase list considering the fact that so numerous crucial words are missing (standard verbs, pronouns, conjunctions, and so a lot extra), but at the similar time these uncomfortable phrases can hyperlink to the Ethereum blockchain in a pure way, generating a kind of digital fact that sits alongside the actual physical demonstrate within just the gallery. 

You declared about crypto: “There’s possible, but I’m also deeply skeptical of the possibility of building a thoroughly clean break”. Can you share much more about this?

It’s broad-open up engineering, and everyone’s making an attempt to determine out what it can do, and it’s glorious chaos whole of genuinely awesome stuff and garbage and anything in amongst. I actually really do not know what to make of it, and I feel that is what I uncover so intriguing. There are intelligent people contributing to writing the underlying code, excellent thoughts men and women have for DAOs, and novel routes individuals have arrive up with to convey themselves. I feel all of that is astounding. But at the exact same time, I marvel if all the common designs of capitalism and wealth accumulation are taking part in out in crypto, and will go on to do so in excess of the coming years. 

Installation by Greg Smith Susan Inglett Gallery
Twenty DOUBLE 20 Eight Up coming BANNER Leader SPIRIT THAT Adore Persons SWARM, 2022, Greg Smith
Fabric, acrylic, thread, zippers, wooden, encaustic, hardware, metallic wire, EMT conduit, cotton string, plaster, paper pulp 145 x 74 x 49 in. (credit score: Adam Reich)

In a single of your artwork, you incorporated the code to a electronic wallet offering possession of a residence in Wyoming. What gave you the thought to produce this interactive operate?

I really respect the audacity of cityDAO task ( Who doesn’t want to test to control property in a different way? And should not there be far more space for option approaches? I really like how Ethereum serves as a wonderful way for folks to pool assets to embark on jobs that would normally be out of reach for individuals of common suggests.

Anyway, additional than a yr back again I started out accumulating electronic belongings for this present, and I scooped up a CityDAO Citizen token together the way. But I wasn’t collaborating in the venture alone, so I was eager to let an individual else have at it. And to my surprise and delight, on March 26 another person grabbed it from an account I set up for the exhibition (the account was accessed by way of the BIP39 seed phrase “citizen citizen make claim upon this nation wild west piece govern citizen”, and you can see when an individual produced the claim at this hyperlink). Now possibly the token will finally end up with another person who will help shift the project forward.

I like possessing this DAO angle as aspect of the demonstrate. I consider good care with the material presence of the objects and banners that I make. But these things never exist in a vacuum. I have family members and close friends who make my studio time achievable, I display within just the gallery procedure, I have a full-time occupation that pays for my studio and  materials, and I’m pretty considerably component of this messed up globe we all live in: All of this is dragged into the gallery with almost everything that I assemble for the exhibition. Utilizing the BIP39 phrase checklist and token presents supplies a way for me to join the actual physical demonstrate to these larger much less-visible buildings in a distinct, and possibly more participatory, way.

Installation by Greg Smith Susan Inglett Gallery
BANNER Calendar year, 2022, Greg Smith, paper, tv keep track of, usb generate, blue ray, wood, lace, headphones, 53 x 35 x 19 in. Picture Courtesy of the artist.

What do you hope viewers will consider away from the exhibition?

I usually love to walk away from art shows experience that the globe is not just about as ossified as I experienced considered. Most likely which is what I hope for viewers of my displays, far too. 

So there’s that optimistic gesture going on, but I consider that for me, it begins from a relatively bereft put. I imagine that a good deal of this exhibit is about an try to swap what is missing with truly awful tools (the BIP39 phrase checklist, for one). Interactions in a really standard perception and their breakdown are a emphasis of numerous pieces in the exhibition, and during, there are clumsy attempts to uncover a way forward. Building DAO tokens out there is component of that, both equally in the feeling that I’m giving presents to viewers, and in the feeling that the DAO tokens invite viewers to interact with many others in a new way. But all over again, there is a clumsiness in this article I’m not normally confident that these DAO-mediated relationships and interactions can supply what they assure.

What is your dream undertaking?

Ha! The sorry truth is that my dreams are pedestrian: far more time, additional methods.


Stick to Greg Smith on Instagram @gregasterisksmith

SUSAN INGLETT GALLERY – 522 West 24 Street,

Tue – Sat 10am to 6pm


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