Where do I start? Deep in the warm, thick muck of the swamp, her subconscious answered.
SLIPSTREAM: TABLE OF CONTENTS was Nancy Baker Cahill’s first solo exhibition at Vellum LA. Curated by Alice Scope and Sinziana Velicescu, Baker Cahill’s exhibition features ten new works from her Slipstream series on Vellum’s state-of-the-art LED Luma Canvases. The exhibition included an inaugural summit, Web3: How It's Going, curated and organized by Postreality Labs' Jesse Damiani, Vellum LA, and Nancy Baker Cahill. The collection was been minted with NFT.storage on proof of stake Ethereum.
Slipstream series hosted on SuperRare
Every day, 4 am, awake. Did Sisyphus ever push the boulder over the hill? she wondered. Hers grew inside her.
Lives and works in Los Angeles, equipped with a head that explodes and reassembles itself regularly.
Baker Cahill’s series title springs from the fiction genre called “Slipstream,” which deals in "the familiar strange or the strange familiar.” In her Slipstream series, Baker Cahill mediates the genre with visual art created using the tools of digital simulation.
Ten video artworks, presented as nine abstract “chapters,” with a final “about the author,” speak a visual language of mutation and untrustworthy translation. As misinformation continues to drive conversations about invented truths and how they can be weaponized, the artist recognized a deeper thread. The contemporary condition has only scratched the surface of the ways in which this force will impact culture, politics, and personhood in the future. Baker Cahill approaches the practices and technologies of web3, which are entangled in conversations of power, decentralization, and value, to further explore the epistemological process of truth making (and destroying).
The roach’s first brain vibrated. It was an undeniably good spot. Its ganglia seconded this assessment, urging it to climb.
How is blue a comfort, she asked in earnest. It’s not, they replied in unison, unless it’s electric.
Sturdiness ran in the family, you could see it in their thick legs. No one anticipated that their vulnerability would be the soft undersides of their feet.
Slipstream artworks begin as graphite drawings on paper, launching a long odyssey of production. The drawings are torn into pieces and then reconfigured in bespoke sculptural configurations. Echoing recombinant DNA, each sculptural installation represents an iterative version of the one before. Documented as 3D objects, they are altered, lit, and animated using CG software. The drawing sculptures form shifting landscapes and subjects, glistening as they breathe, expand, and contract. In some videos, Baker Cahill includes brief textual collaborations with the AI engine GPT-3, to further blur and layer her creative intentions. Once composited, they exist as discrete looped videos. Additive and subtractive in their construction, these transmutations embody a self-organizing logic. Information is lost and gained as the drawings journey through the software that supports their new incarnations. As digital animations they reckon with the core question of the Ship of Theseus; what, after version upon version, remains of the original? Inspired by pre-cinematic cave painting, drawing, and entangled human and botanical life, the videos reveal the analog technology of drawing, blurring its origins with dazzling pixels. These artworks gesture towards the organic, as entirely simulated fictions. Hybridity is the beating heart of the changeling artworks, inviting conversations about what is real, what is alive, and what we see and feel when digital/analog boundaries are blurred.
In partnership with NFT.storage, powered by IPFS and Filecoin, Baker Cahill also presented this exhibition opportunity to address the question of longevity, conservation, and safeguarding of NFTs as part of the larger canon of art history. As the artist’s Slipstream works question truth and information around power, decentralization, and value, the natural question to follow is: how do we ensure NFTs as an artform are stored ethically for the future and the history of the medium? For this exhibition, all ten of Baker Cahill’s NFT works were stored via Filecoin, and made available over IPFS, a peer-to-peer distributed network protocol, to make a more efficient and secure web. By allowing anyone to participate as a storage provider and truly decentralizing access for its users, Filecoin creates a decentralized, efficient, and robust foundation for humanity's information.
Inevitably she thought of Liquid Sky, without the fluorescent face paint. Ascending shudders, veins engorged, peak life, small death.
It was time (to) travel. She buried her face in his armpit and inhaled deeply.
But this, but that, but this, but that, but that, but this, but that…
They were sober, and he proposed a staring contest by candlelight. His eyes locked on hers, and without blinking, she watched his face melt and contract until it was unrecognizable.