RIP HEN 2021 | A Fakewhale IRL Exhibition

November 11th, 2021 is a date that will not be forgotten by artists or collectors anytime soon, with the unforeseen shut-down of experimental open-source NFT platform Hic Et Nunc (HEN) founded by Rafael Lima in March 2021 — regarded as one of the most popular, community-driven, and art-centric marketplaces of all time.

On December 14th, 2021, Fakewhale paid tribute to the artists of the HEN scene by inaugurating the very first RIP HEN IRL exhibition curated by Jesse Draxler at the Valuart Gallery in Lugano-Paradiso.

Among the artists featured 0x4a696d, 00_.._00A.L. CregoadhdAgaredsAlfie Dwyer, Andrew Benson, AnnShaneDOS artifactsBahrull MartaBarlopostaBaron lanteigneBe leiteByron Le RougeChepertomChris ColemancoupofgraceCurio Fringe, D010930000Daniel MartindiewiththemostlikesEggs of Unknown Fox, Erin Mulligan, Erik SwahnFranco PalioffFrederik VanhoutteFrançoise GammaGammatraceGary Edward Blumgvb0digitalhaydiroketHypermoshMantissaMarcelo GandhiMario KlingemannMattia CuttiniMatan Peer, Matteo IngraoMax CapacityN-Lite.

For the occasion, Jesse Draxler shared a powerful manifesto. 

The Digital Art Manifesto by Jesse Draxler

Digital art is often assumed to be art made with a computer, but I believe this to be reductive. Digital art is all art with which its main intention is to be seen digitally, regardless of its means of creation.

I remember an instance long ago telling a friend that all of my work was made with the premonition that it would be seen mostly online. I created my work to look the best on a screen and cared less or not at all about its physical state, even if 99% of the work was done by hand.

This methodology was founded in response to the internet and invented with the underlying intent of sharing online, and itself birthed novel aesthetics, styles, trends, and curatorial perspectives.

I began to expand my artistic network into the metaverse through Tumblr, circa 2007-2008. I was pulled into its interface of browsing through innumerable works of art, reblogging [aka: curating/purchasing] them into my own Tumblr page [aka: gallery/collection], and felt a sense of community and camaraderie that I have never felt in any arts space, irl or otherwise, since. Up until now.

The artistic community surrounding NFTs is the rebirth and exponential compounding of what started over a decade ago. In the interim, us artists who started our journeys online back during the golden era of Tumblr have taken various routes through the multitude of social media into traditional gallery systems, freelance work, product commissions, and brand collaborations, but nowhere have we truly fit in. No one without roots wrapped around circuitry could understand where we came from, and therefore we have been overlooked and undervalued by the mainstream despite growing cult followings in numerous circles online and off.

HEN was/is, to me at least, almost a literal iteration of an early Tumblr, even visually, with the main difference being monetization. Not monetization in the way of advertising like we see now on traditional socials, but for the artists. Underground artists making profits on their digital artifacts, creative contributions to a functioning ecosystem. Fueled by the same spirit of unconfined, cross-medium experimentation, and taste for the fringe and avant-garde. All sustained by the Tezos blockchain. A clean chain which allows for lower transaction rates and therefore lower prices, breaking down the gates of art ownership and blowing open the idea of patronage.

The creative computational mycelium weaving through the world wide web into the blockchain has reached an evolutionary tipping point in form, and a revolutionary tipping point in society’s appreciation and valuation of artists and the artistic practice.

The rise of the digital underground is upon us.

Jesse Draxler 2021 

Founded in 2021, Fakewhale advocates the digital art market's evolution. Viewing NFT technology as a container for art, and leveraging the expansive scope of digital culture, Fakewhale strives to shape a new ecosystem in which art and technology become the starting point, rather than the final destination.

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