Inside the White Square

Curator’s choice

In a talk with an executive of a large (and evil, as those should be) social network a few years ago, who was in charge of its arts and culture department, I once stumbled upon an obvious, but spot-on delusion. Describing the interface of the social network, they mentioned casually, that it works precisely like a white cube gallery: neutral and welcoming any user to make with, in and out of it whatever they wish. Surely, the neutrality of a white cube space has been refuted and played around with for decades in academic writing, institutional and independent artistic practices. Web interfaces have also been theorised and critiqued as precisely the controlling, ideologically rich and opaque/covert, always inherently problematic environments set between the user and the algorithms.

Still, as the hype around decentralised protocols made way for a bubbling market for tokenised digital objects, and platforms were developed to host this market, it was hard not to pick out their whitish, e-commy, functional and neutral design, inevitable for the goal of hosting streams of unsortable images, be it gifs™ or multilayered transmedia projects. Meanwhile, the very idea of the primacy of ownership through a unique contract, regarding a work of art (an object, or a collectible) leads back to practices in the history of conceptual art.

What dimension exactly has been stripped off of a modernist white cube in a Web3 interface (or has not — set aside, why rebuild it)? Hyperplatformisation introduced new types of maps of interactions between artists, producers, audiences, collectors etc., through regulatory mechanisms such as online social capital, randomised gatekeeping and pure speculation. Such irregular maps often create a non-navigable, exclusive space for economic and affective agents, once again with labour unseen, and profits centralised.

These several (well-known) artistic practices have been looking into this for a while now, engaging with the media and market itself.

Rhea Myers

First Transaction (Bitcoin Raw Transaction)
First Transaction (Bitcoin Raw Transaction) by Rhea Myers

With a very simple and poignant gesture, pointing to a modernist one, Rhea Myers represents the first Bitcoin transaction as an abstract coloured grid. Her body of work holds numerous sophisticated narratives, full of interest towards the history of art, and conceptual art in particular, as a fulcrum for critique and discussion of the current technological, social and economic futures, projected by different actors in Web3, from protocol developers to artistic groups. The special sensitivity to beauty of code as a language (up to an ideology, coded into a digital exchange protocol, which Bitcoin is), lets her find a variety of forms of thought and image on the matter (her recent book, Proof of Work. Blockchain Provocations 2011–2021, is highly recommended for expended thinking on blockchain and nft culture, as well as politics of technology in general).

Rafaël Rozendaal


Rafaël Rozendaal is almost an iconic figure in net art, widely known as an artist “who uses the internet as his canvas” as his website puts it. Interface in his works becomes a dynamic and affective space — probably, most notable in the work Abstract Browsing, where the elements of any website’s DOM structure are transformed into dynamic abstract forms. A method of working with some very basic forms, types of interaction and animation, that browsers offer, gives a great freedom in seeing into the computational logic ad its visuality that structures millions of daily lives (and remains inaccessible for others) — together with that questioning the inevitability of special places or platforms for art to exist.

Holly Herndon


Holly Herndon & Mathew Dryhurst contribute an enourmous amount of productive critique to the Web3 practices and discussions, looking at infrastuctural problems and heritages of centralised networks in current experiments, but also designing new tools and economics for creative industries with their artistic projects and education activities. It is interisting in the context of this selection, how this particular work, generated presumably by a GAN, presents a view of a white cube, which is incorporating windowed structures of web interfaces amid the general uncanny feeling of this now almost ubiquitous aesthetics.

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Simon Denny

NFT Mine Offset: ETH Ethereum Miner 3 GPUs

Simon Denny, artist, curator and educator, has payed a lot of attention to the blockchain culture and its rise alongside public problems it brought with it. In this work, against the background of an e-bay interface (note the white e-com grid in all its glory) selling ETH mining rigs, a 3d-model of such a rig is shown — bought beforehand by the artist IRL and repurposed from running an ETH-miner to working for a non-profit climate research. Such a process is imagined as a proposal, parallel to carbon-tradeoff. Although questionable and much critiqued by environmentalists as being an instrument suitable to allow negative effects of energy business to be perpetually reproduced — such a gesture in the domaine of art (or cryptoart) seems to generate a moment of skipping away from the white square into a much more intricate and lively world of multidimensional problematics and possibilities of social action.

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The Curated platform supports openness in the Web3 space. Most of the works featured in this Curator’s Choice section are fetched from external Web3 marketplaces and fall under their respective regulations, and remain the intellectual copyright of the artists. The editorials are non-commercial and we do not take any fees or commissions.