Now in its 20th year, Art Basel Miami has become a landmark event where the main show is less important than what happens behind the scenes.
While the “creme de la creme” of the art world mingle at the main exhibit and SoBe’s fancy hotels, the hip crowd head elsewhere in the city. Seasoned collectors rarely visit Miami’s vibrant Wynwood neighborhood, best known for its street art. They are making a huge mistake.
Wynwood and the area around is now home to Tech Basel — a chaotic and insanely popular week of happenings that runs concurrently with Art Basel. And it’s just so much more fun than the collector’s lounge!
Tech Basel in Miami brings together techies, digital artists and a cast of weird characters you could never have imagined in your wildest dreams. Large-scale conferences, such as the Web3 Summit, coincided with massive parties organized by biggest crypto companies.
In addition to over 250 of the world’s leading galleries exhibiting at South Beach Convention Center, Tech Basel is bringing more provocative — and lesser-known — artists to Wynwood.
Even if they aren’t setting trends, they definitely have their fingers on the pulse of the world. And in the post-pandemic year of 2022, patriarchy and state repression are unquestionably on the agenda.
What if women ruled the world?
Judy Chicago, a pioneering feminist artist, presented her new project at ICA Miami this year. The initiative, called “What If Women Ruled the World,” is aiming to become the largest gender rights community on Web3.
Chicago collaborated with Nadya Tolokonnikova, the leader of Russian punk group Pussy Riot, who spent four years in prison for participating in a public performance directed against Vladimir Putin. Earlier this year, the artist joined forces with Trippy Labs to create UkraineDAO. The initiative raised around $7 million via an NFT of Ukraine’s flag to support various charities from the country.
In the promo video, Tolokonnikova responds to 11 thought-provoking questions. “If women ruled the world, would there be violence?” asks Chicago. “Men could find new ways to express their disappointment, vulnerability, and fears without the need to take it out on others,” says Tolokonnikova. “The rape, violence, and war brought by tyrants’ repressions would no longer be necessary.”
The project invites everyone who shares feminist values to submit messages in response to Chicago’s thought-provoking questions. The responses will become the foundation for a new Web3 community challenging patriarchy and the existing world order.
“There has to be another path for us as people,” Chicago said at the presentation.
Women unite on Web3
An Iranian artist known under the pseudonym Hypnotiq showcased his new project in Wynwood in collaboration with Creators Console, a no-code NFT management platform. The project, called Women Unite, will launch early next year.
Hypnotiq’s seven unique physical NFTs feature neon-daubed sculptures dedicated to women’s rights and freedom. Inspired by Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Iranian who died in police custody after allegedly violating the country’s strict dress code for women, his sculptures are a passionate provocation. And it almost cost the artist his life.
“I was waiting for a cab in New York late at night when a few Muslim guys with knives approached me,” he said. “‘You are Hypnotiq, and you are an insult to Islam. We’re going to kill you,’ they said.” Instead, they parted as friends: Hypnotiq told them the story of his childhood, which has inspired his art.
The artist’s mother and his aunt were tortured by the Iranian morality police in Tehran when Hypnotiq was just five years old. “We were going to the park, I was holding my mom’s hand,” he said. “The next thing I remember the morality police knocked us to the ground. They put a gun to my head. I was so scared that I peed myself. They said “Your mom is a whore.”
The morality police took the artist’s mother and her sister, who was 15 years old at the time, into a van. “When she got out, her lips were bleeding. They cut them with razor blades.” One of Hypnotiq’s sculptures, with grotesque 3D lips, is a reference to this traumatic childhood experience.
Hypnotiq, who has a background in the Seattle tech industry, uses 3D printing and UV resin, alongside more traditional sculptural material, to create his artworks, which replicate popular media artefacts.
Apart from Hypnotiq, the Creator Console gallery showcased nine other artists during the three days of Art Basel. They include Mr. Moda, Mekia Machine, John-Herbert Wright, ETTE ART, Giovanni Preziuso, M. Clark, Val Pase, Cherida Patterson, Melo Benveniste, and others.
A total of 4,000 guests attended the event, including crypto pioneers such as Michael Terpin and Wagar Zaka.