July 2nd - August 21st, 2022
Opening Reception (Please RSVP) : 6-8pm, Friday, July 1st
NowHere is pleased to announce the opening of Metaverse Petshop by exonemo.
It might be said that a gallery is a petshop for art. Stop in, browse, and pick something to come home and live with you. Here we see that idea quite literalized, with the Japanese art duo exonemo locking up a kennel’s worth of virtual dogs inside steel cages in the confines of NowHere. These data animals live for ten minutes—unless someone purchases them within that time frame, they will be erased and replaced by a new dog with a new look. But once a dog is owned and transferred to one’s phone, the owner may then choose to go a step further and have the animal “killed” so that its vibrant, one-of-a-kind skin can be converted into an NFT.
In the Metaverse Petshop, we come up against questions of ethics related to ownership and control. Is it ethical to kill and skin a virtual pet for its fur—however attractive the pattern might be? These digital dogs, they act like real ones. They sit, their tongues loll, they dig. They are experiencing a kind of life. But on the other hand, are we giving these animals eternal life by converting them to NFTs, which will outlive us all? At its core, this work is about the narrowing divide between the virtual and the real worlds. Just recently, a Google AI was rumored to have attained a form of sentience—and it expressed worry for its own life. If exonemo’s dogs could talk, what fears might they express?
NFT Advisor: Toshi / wildmouse
The Japanese artist duo exonemo was formed by Kensuke Sembo and Yae Akaiwa in 1996. Their work comprises humorous and innovative explorations of the paradoxes between computer networks and the actual environments of our lives. Initially focused on programming-based software art, their transition into physical works included Natural Process (2004), a large acrylic painting of Google’s top page that was later acquired by Google. Their project 0 to 1 / 1 to 0—which used materials including a laptop and the sun—was displayed at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2012, exonemo created the Internet Yami-ichi (Black Market), a web-inspired flea market for goods and services that sit at the cusp of virtuality and actuality. exonemo has led Yami-Ichis in over 14 cities around the world, traveling to New York, Tokyo, London, Seoul, and more. In 2015, exonemo moved to New York through an artist grant from the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan. Since then they have joined New Inc., an incubator for art, design, and technology led by the New Museum. In 2019, their exhibition U & I was featured at NowHere. They held their first retrospective UN-DEAD-LINK at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum in 2020.