Proxies for seeing machines: the quickest look at Sybilverse

I haven’t minted any nonfungible tokens in a while. With volumes declining across NFT marketplaces and the perpetual flood of absolute dogshit making it all so tiresome, it's hard to feel any minting fomo unless you're trying to MEV the latest delivery to Goblin Town's dump.

However, a tweet from Gabagool popped into my feed this evening and tickled my little taint.

Weird art on the blockchain

Over time, I’ve come to realize that I gravitate more towards weird art or art that has a crypto-native vibe than the vast majority of the pleb-aimed trash — otherwise known as 99% of the NFT market — vomited onto the Gem’s leaderboards every day. (Obvious examples of good NFT art include Milady Maker and Milady-adjacent projects, in milady’s opinion.)

Gabagool's tweet was the first I saw of SMPLverse/Sybilverse, and I was immediately struck by how grotesque it is. "It was so grotesque I could only laugh."

After checking how many followers the stealth-launched collection had on Twitter — roughly 423 — I did what any normal psuedoanon on Crypto Twitter would do after being exposed to such monstrosities and minted five six of them for 0.03 ETH each, plus gas. (I was even lucky enough to get one that looks like Rasukix.)

With my freshly minted tokens officially mine on-chain, I decided to dmor and actually read the project’s Mirror essay "One SMPL Trick".

One quick skim was enough to convince me that I did not waste 0.15 0.18 ultrasound monies. The weirdness and crypto-nativity of the project seeps through its pores like Marburg:

Unlike the elective avatars that crowd the metaverse’s surface, Sybilverse NFTs are avatars for the metaverse’s infrastructure. Beyond digital culture’s native identity paradigm—whereby identity is constructed and maintained strategically, as if from a third person perspective—SMPLverse maps the nonhuman identities conceived by machine learning. Though the secondary market may stage the traumatic return of the elective avatar repressed by the user’s biometric identity, it cannot mask the fact that the synthetic images are themselves proxies for seeing machines, which exceed and overcome the human binary of pseudonymity and identity.

TL;DR I feel good about myself now because I collected some more NFTs that literally none of my normie friends would ever possibly understand, and some of my crypto-industry friends might not understand. And I will possibly never have the opportunity to flip them for profit.

Full disclosure: If presented with the opportunity to flip them for profit, I would flip them for profit.

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