Curator’s choice

Cryptozoology is a subcultural movement which studies creatures that are unrecognised by mainstream science. With the majority of all animals and plants on earth unobserved there are millions of cryptids out there, and this collection is a reflection on the diversity of life on earth and a speculation about what is possible.

Online there is a plethora of communities and records around the subject of cryptids, from sightings, recordings, and conversations to lists of these speculative creatures.

#Cryptidcore is traditionally associated with cryptozoology, or the study of creatures from urban legends and folklore, and the romanticization of the adventure and mystery surrounding conspiracy theories, ghost-hunting, cryptid-hunting, and the supernatural.

Curated by artist Joey Holder, the collection contains pseudo-scientific specimens which are off limits, made up, or undiscovered, shown alongside scientific formalised nomenclature. This year Joey will be launching a new project titled Cryptid where scientific method, myth, folklore, and tradition are brought together in new cosmological formations.

Katja Novitskova

PDB MUTANT 03 by Katja Novitskova

Katja Novitskova is an Estonian artist based in Amsterdam and Berlin. Her practice explores the ecologies surrounding image production on a level capable of affecting the planet and humanity. Novitskova’s work features mainly images found online and interrogates the positions and locations where the technological  and the physical coincide. Blurring distinctions between media, she is interested in the interpretation and perception of visual material through digital collages, sculptures and installations. Novitskova represented Estonia at the 57th Venice Biennale and has exhibited in galleries and institutions including Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2019); Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn; Whitechapel Gallery, London (2018); CC Foundation, Shanghai (2017); Greene Naftali, New York (2016); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015); and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler (2014).

Ernst Heinrich

Copepoda by Ernst Heinrich

Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel was a German zoologist, naturalist, eugenicist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist. He discovered, described, and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology.

This particular plate contains illustrations of Copepods, a group of small crustaceans found in nearly every freshwater and saltwater habitat. Copepods are among the most populous of life forms on the planet and have been studied in detail for years, but they remain something of an enigma. They have a clock, a depth-meter, a communication system so complex we have never been able to understand it , an ability to change sex to ensure the survival of the species, a compass, and the ability to dive down to depths which would crush a human down to the size of an apple!

Matt Furie

Snorketts by Matt Furie

Matt Furie’s art comes from a mix of child-like enchantment and momentary adult situations. His self proclaimed “children’s book illustrations for adults” combine traditional and modern mark-making for his ripe, cartoon-inspired characters. He is the subject of the documentary Feels Good Man, which is about how his gentle character, Pepe the Frog, was co-opted. He has exhibited extensively in the USA and Europe. His comic book series Boy’s Club is published by Fantagraphics. In 2012, McSweeney’s published Matt’s first children’s book, The Night Riders, a wordless tale about the adventures of two best friends, a frog and a rat.

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Cool 3D World

The Groundhog
The Groundhog by Cool 3D World

Cool 3D World is a multimedia studio comprising digital artists Brian Tessler and Jon Baken. Based in Brooklyn, Cool 3D World serves as a space for animated 3D content as well as original music and sound design. Founded in 2015, Cool 3D World is best known for the creation of precisely animated, alternative universes filled with grotesque, often nightmarish narratives. The duo has created hundreds of animated shorts, images, and original scores, becoming one of the most widely viewed 3D animation projects on the internet. Pairing 3D imagery and haunting audio, Cool 3D World’s films emerge as open-ended streams of consciousness.

Ben Mauro

BLUE Hero by Ben Mauro

Ben Mauro is a senior concept designer and art director working in the entertainment industry. He studied industrial design and entertainment design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. After college he relocated to Wellington, New Zealand where he worked at Weta Workshop from 2009 to 2013. There he contributed to a vast array of film, television, and video game projects, such as The Hobbit Trilogy and Elysium among many others. He is currently working as a senior concept designer at 343 Industries on Halo Infinite. Past clients include: NASA, Lexus, Boston Dynamics, 20th Century Fox, Treyarch, 343 Industries, Sledgehammer Games, MPC, Legendary Pictures, Weta Workshop, Magic Leap, LucasFilm, Rhythm & Hues, Activision, EuropaCorp, Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Insomniac Games, Microsoft, Design Studio Press, SyFy, and Discovery Channel.

Chris Parks

Invisible Oceans #32: Auricularian I
Invisible Oceans #32: Auricularian I by Chris Parks

This is a large auricularian larva of a sea cucumber or holothurian. The name, auricularian means “ear-like”. The white dots within the larva are ossicles that indicate that this is a larval synaptid sea cucumber, a soft bodied, slender perambulating type found in shallow tropical waters. The oval central stomach is plain to see, as is the upper crescent-shaped mouth and ventrally-pointed anus. The crenulated edge of the beast is finely ciliated and these extremely fine cilia propel the larva gently along, often setting up a spiral course.

Chris Parks

Invisible Oceans #20: Phyllosoma I
Invisible Oceans #20: Phyllosoma I by Chris Parks

The phyllosoma larvae of palinurid lobsters are so flat and so transparent that you can read a newspaper through their bodies. More weird than that, though, is the fact that they spend around a year-and-a-half of their early life latched onto a jellyfish, hydromedusan, comb jelly or salp. These hosts transport them way out into the open oceans, hundreds or thousands of miles from their birthplace, only returning to shore if the host drifts and swims inshore. By then the phyllosoma may have changed skin seven or eight times, grown to be five centimetres across, ridden several hosts, and yet still bear no resemblance to a slipper lobster. Inshore, the larva skin changes, metamorphoses, and settles to the bottom of the sea, thereafter to steadily harden, grow, and pigment into a baby slipper lobster. Half of the larval body, including the eyes and legs, will drift away and be eaten by passing fish. The head of the lobster will be formed from the white central patch in this photo of a late stage phyllosoma.

Ivana Bašić

Ivana Bašić: "Hypostasis ‡" 2013–2021
Ivana Bašić: "Hypostasis ‡" 2013–2021 by Ivana Bašić

Hypostasis ‡ (2021) is a part of the ongoing project SOMA (2013-), which is included in the Whitney Museum's permanent collection. With SOMA, Bašić created an exact 3D-model / digital replica of her body with the intention of selling the model with no limitation on its use. The digital bodies sold in online markets for use in advertising, animation, and 3D-porn are usually not linked to living people. By making her own body available for purchase with no control over its use, Bašić simultaneously gives up control of her body image and initiates her body into a process of limitless transformation and multiplication that is not bound by matter.

In Hypostasis ‡ (2021), the central abstract form simultaneously references a sarcophagus and an insect's chrysalis, both of which are transitional structures that enable the reconfiguration of bodies into new substances and new natures. The digital body seen emerging out of the sarcophagus-like form is both the by-product of transformation into the technological condition and also an instance of corporeal reduction and dematerialization, which Bašić utilises in her practice as methods of insurgency against the material order and its limitations.

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