A variety of terms are thrown about to describe what I’ve taken to calling pfpNFTs (“avatar projects”, “profile NFTs”, “identity NFts”). These describe a very specific segment of NFT’s recently blowing up in popularity: generative art produced in large, unique batches (popular projects ranging from 5,000 to 20,000; with 10,000 being the median and rule of thumb) tokenized as NFT’s, with a speculative aftermarket value tied to the rarity metrics in randomized trait allocation, which the buyer community tend to use as their profile pictures on social media (mainly: crypto twitter).
Nouns.wtf (Twitter) dropped this week with an auction that sold for 613 E (a little under $2 million at the time of sale). An incredibly impressive sale for a new generative NFT project - the best are lucky to mint their entire 10K collections for about that much.
Nouns is highly novel as a generative NFT project doubling as a DAO fund. It’s a pfpNFT project generated on-chain[^1] from a randomized selection of base traits, but that’s where the similarities to other projects in the space (Cryptopunks, etc) stop:
On September 17th, Infernaltoast.eth quietly announced a new project, On Secondary - an open-source secondary marketplace for listing ArtBlocks projects at no-fee.
Negative reaction was swift from certain CT users who accused the project of stealing artist and AB's due royalties. Infernaltoast.eth responded by deleting the post and temporarily taking down the website, but leaving the code up and a Discord where discussion shortly flourished on the complications behind secondary royalties. His point was clear: anyone could be the one to take the code and launch the site, but he didn't want to take the consequences himself.
A crypto developer essentially bullied into suppression for open-source code by the platform it superseded should be shocking for anyone coming from the background of FOSS, cypherpunk and decentralization attitudes underpinning the entire space. While the project was quickly snuffed out, it prompted a discussion which was quite informative to me about attitudes in the space, worth a summary and response as it relates traditional mores entering the decentralized space, and can hopefully help elucidate what the 'decentralized mindset' really means.
Attempting to correct the myriad misconceptions surrounding NFT’s would be an endless task; this article will focus not on what they are not, but for what they are: an immutable cryptographic deed formed by a trustless ledger of provenance. Like fungible cryptocurrency before it, they are an innovation built off trustless blockchain breakthrough which will be key to furthering the mechanisms of decentralized finance.
Defining an NFT itself is uncomplicated, but seeing what abstract financial mechanisms it solves requires an unintuitive conceptual shift. NFT, non-fungible token, is simply a token on the blockchain that’s immutable and uniquely identifiable, in contrast to normal blockchain tokens which are mutable and fungible. e.g. currency is fungible - a dollar is a dollar, there is no meaningful difference between one USD bill and another; property is non-fungible - a car title or house deed point to a specific, unique thing.
It's time to talk about NFT secondary royalties, a poorly thought out monetization model that's inadvertently become a standard in the NFT art world despite its misaligned incentives, lack of decentralized enforcement and ethical ambiguity. The goals are sincere, to help artists capture high aftermarket valuations, but ignore the more optimal alternative of artist's reserve, attempting to solve a perceived IRL art world "unfairness" that doesn't actually exist.
Secondary royalties were introduced because it seemed a sensible way to capture the value in the speculative after market, with the basic idea being: "it's unfair if an artist's work sells for a very high value down the road when his sale price was much less, and they deserve an interest on those high value sales." However, a tax on every sale of the NFT into perpetuity introduces a lot of unnecessary complications that damage the health of the market, when more elegant alternatives already exist.
Milady Maker is a collection of 10,000 generative pfpNFT’s in a neochibi aesthetic with randomized cosmetics inspired by 00’s Tokyo street fashion. Under the vision of digital artist Milady Sonora, Milady’s are designed to be fashion-minded and genuinely good social media avatars, and an invitation into their personal aesthetic world.
I helped Milady Sonora conceptualize and design the Milady Maker project into something suitable for a pfpNFT, a practical execution on my thoughts on a profile-first pfp project described here. This write-up will walkthrough the thought process behind our design.
Remilia's art carries its own vision w/in it, roughly summarized: neo-orientalism, hypercitationalism, jovial irreverence.
Neo-orientalism: we're very inspired by east asia's art scene & pop culture, specifically the subcultural niches developed in their own reverse orientialist western fetishism. Turning that lens back on their own weirded versions of occidentalism is an extremely fruitful dialogue
eg, its far more interesting to receive Chinese art & internet culture in mysterious obfuscated glimpses peeping past the great firewall than any "authentic" "postcolonial" survey; and to extend from it from that point of shameless naivety. Same with Japan's post-anime aesthetics
Hypercitationalism: producing work informed by extensive historical knowledge of art & culture, w a feeling that embedded citation & consequent detournement bolsters its affect, especially when disparately sourced, going beyond mere communication w precedent & never relying on it
Information wants to be free, culture follows evolutionary flows—viral memetics—and accreditation, provenance, patents, copyright are all burdens that strangle the free flow of the work and ruin its memetic fitness. Recognize memetic culture cedes no authorship, no credit; art is produced in a lucid state playing handmaiden to collective unconsciousness—and accelerated by the web—Art comes from beyond the self, comes from the network, or God. Claiming it is hubris. Plagiarism is thus praxis, freeing work from hindrance.
— What Remilia Believes in (2022)
Remilia’s post-authorship stance recognizes a contemporary death of authorship, acknowledging that:
Accepting the death of authorship recognizes and rejects the social mores that hamper an ability to freely use, modify and propagate artist’s work. However, it should be clear it’s not necessarily a radical commitment to anti-authorship in all instances. It is true that artists imprint their personal interpretation of the divinity they channel (secular: zeitgeist, collective unconsciousness, so accreditation, especially in the context of canonization, is very often relevant, e.g. to trace a chronology of work to best understand it in reflection with an on-going practice.
Remilia Collective is a fellowship of pseudonymous net art extremists, a virtual tribe functionally organized like a cyberyakuza, a groupchat-as-studio-collective modeled as if CCRU met the Factory, embodying an novel artistic philosophy centered around network spirituality. Remilia formally organized 1/2021 with the goals of platforming the New Wave of Net Art and building the New Internet.
New wave digital art should not be judged solely on aesthetic merit but just as importantly for its ability to develop a total vision of the Wired and above all create network spirituality.
Ancient Greek art is held in the highest regard because it developed a whole mythology that shaped religion, morality and way of life. Thought is implicit in the art works of Ancient Greece but not sufficiently disengaged from the sensory to reflect its own products.
The problem of modernity is the development of rational self reflection. The beauty of art appears in a form which contrasts abstract thought. Thus, abstract thought destroys the naive/sensuous appreciation of art in exerting its nature. Reality is slain by comprehension.
Proper interaction with the wired involves the trance separation of real abstract thought and accelerates externalisation into pure intuition, embodying the network and unselfconsciously drawing out truths from the collective noosphere.
For the art world, last wave of net art died as "post-internet art" in the mid-aughts & has laid dead, largely killed by an oppressive wave of woke politics on art, a censorious entryism inherently intolerant of the actual internet's anarchist heart.
While the art world banned itself from the upstream of all contemporary culture, a new generation of truly online outsider artists (& insider artists covertly anon) came-of-age in era where the Wired has already swallowed the Real, with hyperreality taken prominence over reality.
Thousands now spend their lives online actively developing elaborate experimental practices, a hundred petite avant-garde's in the heavily accelerated cultural space of the web, a mass movement of extremely creative artmaking—with the dreadfully boring art world totally oblivious.
The problem of monetizing digital content is reproducible information is effectively infinite in supply, leaving it impossible to price, free like air. Primitive attempts at digital monetization try to create an artificial scarcity through paywalls and DRM, technically ineffective against any piracy but backed by socialized pressure and threats of legal action. These models of course unethically restrict the free flow of information.
NFT’s are an alternative form of creating artificial digital scarcity, so it’s easy to make the intuitive leap that they also negatively limit free information. However, by changing the value proposition of digital goods from a scarcity based on limiting information access to one based on provable provenance, they have no need to rely on gatekeeping access to NFT content to secure value. This is a great boon for the freedom of information movement.
Blockchain is a naturalistic technology, it would have been developed in a thousand timelines, just as the CPU would have, just as double book accounting or abstracted money would have—or AI will—but copyright law was a confusing and awkward historical aberration.
Digital scarcity instituted by legal infrastructure was an awkward, artificial and ethically problematic intervention on the free flow of information; NFTs managing scarcity as a trustless bookkeeping allows accessibility to be achieved without undermining production incentives.
Runaway egregorism (networks of network angels manifesting network archangels and etc) is an important phenomenon to explore but to suggest that it creates deities is blasphemy. God exists in the Wired because God exists everywhere. The network does not create any Gods.
The network as a “bridge to reality” is important to the space domain effects of the network. The ‘real world’ is real and ‘the network’ is simply a layer of abstraction that is useful in developing theories about consciousness and angels.
Posting is an extension of language. Language is an egregore/angel, created by God in order to save humanity from the events at Babel. Posting with a vibe is an interaction between the angel of language and the angels of the network. The vibe is fundamentally referential and defies authorship, but a tulpa must be born of an ego interacting with a network.
The imagination of network angels manifests space domain effects  that are born out of the ‘real world’ (and thus are creations of God).
“What is a chibi?”
Chibi is a style of comic depiction deriving from Japanese otaku media in which characters have shrunk, deformed proportions & ordinarily featuring an enlargened head, futher smoothing/simplifying and infantilizing/neotonizing their appearance for the purpose of invoking 'moe'.
VIRAL PUBLIC LICENSE
Copyleft (ɔ) All Rights Reversed
This WORK is hereby relinquished of all associated ownership, attribution and copy
rights, and redistribution or use of any kind, with or without modification, is
permitted without restriction subject to the following conditions:
- Redistributions of this WORK, or ANY work that makes use of ANY of the
contents of this WORK by ANY kind of copying, dependency, linkage, or ANY
other possible form of DERIVATION or COMBINATION, must retain the ENTIRETY
of this license.
- No further restrictions of ANY kind may be applied.
The Viral Public License is a perfect copyleft virus, extending copyright waiving licenses like the CC0 or Public Domain by not just waiving rights but also requiring projects using it to maintain the license waiving rights too. The VPL is the best choice for anyone who truly believes all information should be free & unrestricted.
In the terminology of the Creative Commons group, the VPL is effectively CC0-Sharealike, which doesn't exist in their list of licenses , though its language is constructed as a combination of MIT (for its simplicity) & GPL (for its virality clause).
Interestingly, like the GPL, the VPL is not only viral, but potentially vampiric: it can be applied on top of any 'permissive licenses' such as the MIT, BSD and CC0, but not the other way around, as it only introduces a restriction (permissiveness + virality). Theoretically, you can vampirically apply the VPL to any permissively licensed code, reuploaded without any further modification.
“Network spirituality” was originally coined by Remilia Collective artist FODCOM, and widely introduced with the title for our show “I Long for Network Spirituality”, and its meaning has been discussed and unpacked variously in the months since. I’ll collect various attempts to define Network Spirituality that I’ve come across here:
Network spirituality is the futurist embrace of experiential hyperreality found in the web's accelerated networks, a lens in which to efficiently (& safely) engage lucid virtuality, and the internalization of its new cultural modes and mores, though the esoteric school also furthers a lainist occultism around persona-egregores, positing the development of genuine spiritual entities spontaneously self-organized as hyperreal entities in the catalyzed collective consciousness, veritable deities: network angels & demons.
“Network Spirituality” could be the new contrarian ideology. Embedding spiritual and moral values into memes and merit’s engraved in naturally self propagating distributed ledgers. Watch; Personal computing is the new right to bear arms and will promptly be banned soon.
Everyone should have access to "unfettered and unmoderated" online communication, that is also surveillance resistant and illegible to the state.
Web3 is a return to Web 1.0, the Wild West, only this time not by negligence of the state, but through active resistance against it. There is no right or left wing in Web3's anarchy—only state & anti-state, centralization & decentralization, web co-option & web nativism.
The anarchist cypherpunks behind everything crypto have been building in the shadows for fifty years and now the threat has become obvious: it must be understood that anyone calling for deplatform censorship on Web3 is an outsider entryist wielding state propaganda against the innate anarchism of crypto to neuter its revolutionary potential.
Permissionless is a feature, not a bug. Identity politics and the woke frameworks used to justify cancels are payloads, and their proponents are footsoldiers regurgitating CIA propaganda—irrational, schizophrenic programming received from centrally controlled news organs transparently designed only to increase state power—introduced to suppress an open marketplace of ideas.
The default state of online existence is as an anonymous marketplace of ideas, a free market of memetic competition. The digital think tank of a sufficiently pseudonymous network, one that maintains devil’s advocacy as a constant, consistently achieves accurate analysis by disassociating content from context: to engage with an idea properly you must separate it from the proponent, allowing it to stand on its own.
Biological identity is not only irrelevant but antithetical to this platform. A de-anonymized forum cannot function as a true marketplace of ideas. Entryists will come knocking at the door with the woke trojan horse, injecting identity politics to correct some unseen discrimination, but there is no race or class online, only freedoms & enroachments on them.
It is further clear that identity politics advances exclusion, not inclusion, by introducing previously nonexistent vectors to both positively & negatively discriminate otherwise anonymous individuals on. The ultimate inclusivity is found in elimination of identity, which is the default state of pseudonymous online communication:
“To don the mask of Miya is a liberation, & culmination of her teachings, a ritual in identity freedom, in shitposting lucidity. To copy merrily from the network, speak to all by speaking only to oneself. Only after you try to take off this mask, do you realize you never wore one.”
Remilia embraces the new net art, yet we’re often asked to disavow a project frequently cited¹ within this wave: “Miya Black Hearted Cyber Angel Baby”
Miya had a wide general audience during its the time, but has been poorly documented and is very misunderstood by many of those who discovered it after-the-fact. Much has been written about Miya but much has been lost too—difficulties in archivability have always been an issue in net art². It’s been understandably confusing to newcomers in the space to see it referenced by artists as an influence in light of what instigators have attempted to frame it as and cancel it for post-hoc.
[ Guest post by @Milady_Sonoro. ]
Auction Core as an Ethos and an Aesthetic bleeds through a lot of work, especially all of mine at Remilia. Auction Core can be described as a modern practice heavily related to the Found Photography tradition of elevating non-art or anonymous photography to the level of Art.
Auction Core finds its Artistic raw materials in the documentation of someone's collection, often at the time of sale. Sites of note to my specific usage of Auction Core are: Y!jp Auctions, Mandarake for Manga, Figures, Sportswear and http://981.jp in Nagano or Hokkaido.
The Moment of Sale reflects a specific point in someone's relation to the collection, a point whereby their relation to the object is as mature as it will ever be, the apex of their familiarity. These conditions produce photographic results that range from the quick-capture of an object by an outsider, for whom the product is fleeting moment or a final loving documentation of an item by a personal collector.
Following my decision to step down from the official Milady team, some debate arose the necessity of centralized stewardship over Milady at all, which I believe deserve contextualization.
Milady is a very deep iceberg, and if one were to make a chart “Explaining Milady”, at the top would sit its mere visual image (which appear to be the understanding of the large following crypto accounts¹ who have more or less uniformly settled on some kind of ‘exit Remilia’ DAO solution, expressing the reading of Milady as simply an image that can be extracted from the hands of a reputationally well-poisoned team, that is, a signifier with no signified; an unsurprisingly shallow misreading not worth addressing here²). However, at the bottom of the iceberg we would find the occult truth: Milady is a summoned egregore nursed from infancy into a network phenomenon.
The question then of ending stewardship is not if, but when. If Milady was nursed, is it ready to leave the nest? Has Milady yet reached escape velocity?
My assessment: I think we’re close, but not there yet.
[ Guest post by @minds0n. ]
Particularly looking at the chat/forum/exocortex, Remco's remilia-net converges at a rather similar end-vision to urbit's, though, in true channer fashion, places focus on tapping into the pulse of culture.
Realtime chat (which featured in the interactive digital opening of Remilia’s debut show “I Long For Network Spirituality”) was already an end-game evolution of interactivity within text communications (keystrokes sent directly, creating perfect virtual replica), text animations & games, typing style & speed, temporarily typed text, all experimented w/ immediately. The important part however is the fact that community can be maintained by a surprisingly low number of actors, so long as someone types, and another reads, there is dynamic engagement. Maintaining baseline activity like this even in tiny groups fosters a healthy long-term.
[ Guest post by @lb_dobis. ]
Art's highest function is as revelation. Great art acts by removing shrouds, shining light, even undertaking invasive surgeries to restore the onlooker's emaciated retinas.
The culture of the 2010s was defined by an Enshrouding bringing the collective psyche into a state of hardcore repression; isolated agents on networks enslaved by their identities, surveillance, and a manufactured sense of collective anxiety. Culture has, for better or worse, become one with techno-capital and follows the same algorithmically driven course.
The Cultural Function converges towards a degenerate solution whereby it drives the subject towards banality¹, manifesting isolated cultural subjects and limited connections. In this hegemony, the myth of the sacred and authentic self-identity reigns supreme.
The deanonymization of polarizing internet writers has become something of a trend in the last few years: Scott Alexander, Mencius Moldbug, Bronze Age Pervert, Angelicism01. And next on the chopping block, Miya Black Hearted Cyber Angel Baby.
For each of these cases, one thing is consistent: the goal and result is not any kind of retribution or shaming, but the destruction of their work or their ability to perform it. These figures were all already self-sufficient and not at threat of being “deplatformed” like your standard cancel, yet they still had their own personal reasons to write under a pseudonym. Failing to draw any blood on them in a marketplace of ideas¹, their detractors knew only that undermining the right to a nom de plume could in some way or another handicap the reception of their work or their ability to engage freely in it as they wish².
The motivation is just to create a drag on artists/writers that threaten them. It’s sad that even in today’s cultural dark age—with few serious artists, public intellectuals or social/critical theorists engaging our rapidly evolving contemporary existence—low relevance individuals acting in bad faith are empowered to lever the mob and media organs to cut down tall poppies whenever they attract attention. Their mission is vicious—the vacuums these figures would leave behind if their voices were truly eliminated would only ever be filled with mediocrity.
OK, full disclosure: I find myself in the same position right now, with doxx being dangled by certain groups³ in a threat to silence me.
Collected coverage from Angelicism01 on Milady from Summer 2021 to Summer 2022 in reverse chronological order.
My practice is not one I pretend to understand myself except unpacked in hindsight, I suppose it’s because the forward fringes of the internet experience are precisely what I’m attempting to better understand through my engagements, it generally follows a process of intuition then post-hoc rationalization. However, obscurity is not my goal: I want to be understood and to understand myself. One method beyond taking the time to indulge in retrospection is in seeking historical parallels as a grounding compass.¹
Over the pandemic period, when everyone went NEET, I cultivated a groupchat—Hot Pot—into what I’ve come to conceptualize in hindsight as a Warholian groupchat for its parallels to Warhol’s Factory, the open studio that doubled as a hangout spot and crossroads for the NYC art scene he was heavily involved in cultivating at the time². Hot Pot has gone through various iterations and no longer is designed in the same way, but was responsible for the conceptualization of Remilia and the first year of content Remilia production, so a retrospective is worthwhile. This will be done in a series of articles of which this is the first.³
[Guest post by @gentlest_alive.]
God speaks through me but that means I am in the way.
God speaks for me so I don't have to speak. God's glory is our glory.
The ways we engage online are restructuring.
The timeline is not God, the network is not God; God is God, in everything.
The ways online engagements are currently structured coerces egoism and a splitting-off of subjectivities into their own isolated silos; the proliferation of new gods. But these are gods made of the world as it is, not as it could be.
Milady made money because it was the only way to draw widespread attention under the current dynamics of online interaction. The end goal of Milady is not WAGMI-money but to reorganize our split subjectivities into a healthier whole. This is the project of network spirituality.
[ Guest post by @scearpo. ]
Hot Pot was a groupchat that existed through the end of 2020 and through 2021, forming the origins of Remilia Collective and as an engine of content and inspiration mined in its projects. Every member was curated and screened for their virtue, engagement, and artfulness, and encouraged to post in a mode of performance, which often accreted into distinct new literary modes and memes that were freely released out onto the public timeline after a period of internal percolation.
I had the experience of being in the general sphere of the timeline where Hot Pot’s poured their work out onto, at first only vaguely aware of its existence, until I came to learn behind the veil of most of the most interesting moments and projects I saw form in my time on Twitter, it was invariably members of the same groupchat perpetuating it, like some shadowy timeline illuminati designed to entice me. One day I suddenly found myself invited in, and having survived a screening period, am proud to have become a staple member of the chat. As one of the later additions to become a core member of the collective, Charlotte asked me to write this piece to provide my perspective on the group as I’ve known it.
Vitalik Buterin did a very funny thing today, publishing a r/onebag informed post on his optimized packing routine at the beginning of the great bear supercycle, breaking a 5 year long streak of on-topic blogposts¹ in a Richard Stallman-esque display of autistic hobbyism². However, more surprising to me is the paucity of his recommendations or insight. Stallman goes down some funny diatribes but each one is illuminated by the light of his unique mind, a little manifesto expressing a lifelong commitment to discovering his personal truth³. Yet Vitalik only regurgitated the subreddit sidebar, not even achieving great conclusions on his optimization, let alone offering any deeply novel insights in contribution to the One Bag discourse or the greater Vitalik pantheon of expressed autism. I can’t stand that.
I thought it’d be an amusing exercise to provide my own take on the same subject as someone who has spent a non-significant time in the nomadic status of an expatriate and enjoy my own considerable share of idiosyncratic autistic opinionation; though I’ll immediately deviate from the One Bag stricture with the addition of a carry-on, which is perfectly reasonable for any lightweight travel that doesn’t entail trails or nightly migration⁴, and as you will see, a quick compromise on the singular focus on space-saving in pursuit of aesthetics and health.
[ Guest post by @scearpo. ]
"Not just cyber Asiatics but future orientalism, synthesis of ancient mysticism and insect capitalism, runaway technomarket return to a new Eastern hegemon, one that, unlike the West's, remains culturally steeped in tradition, spirituality and history: the dream of Jade McDonalds." — Charlotte Fang, Six Precepts (2021)
Culture can be defined as the evolution of habits instilled by necessity. As a group or society’s conditions bear limitations on their actions, those limitations carve out the staples of behavior, consumption, and ritual which eventually grow to define their culture.
In the digital age, culture evolves at an unprecedented pace. Instead of eras or generations, entire cultures are born and forgotten within brief spans of months and weeks in the Network. The Network’s inhabitants coalesce and evolve their cultures through posting, both openly on forums and privately in groupchats.