Updated: Nov 29, 2021
Author: Ben Yurcisin
Upon entering Artechouse, I was completely immersed in the future of digital art and tech as I began to explore the new Machine Hallucinations NYC exhibit, featuring an epic futuristic visualization of NYC created by acclaimed Turkish media artist Refik Anadol.
“Commissioned by ARTECHOUSE and created by Refik Anadol, Machine Hallucination: NYC is a time and space exploration into New York City’s past and potential future. This completely immersive exhibition is of New York, by New York and for New York — a fitting tribute to one of the world’s greatest cities and architectural marvels. Exploring New York through the mind of a machine, Machine Hallucination: NYC aims to uncover the ever-changing shape of the city, evoking our collective memory and the ways that new forms of visual representation can alter our perception of this iconic destination.”
Before I even made it into the exhibit, I felt the excitement of the line outside as a select lucky group of VIPs and press all anxiously awaited the anticipated first viewing - as well as the first chance to own one of Refik’s exclusive collection of 1000 NFTs that potential holders could only buy by physically visiting Artechouse and making the purchase in-house; a concept somewhat contrary to the world of decentralization and digital ownership, but a unique opportunity to create an exclusive community around those who got to experience the exhibit IRL in real-time.
All I know is that NFT NYC was the perfect week to launch such an innovative exhibit and drop this new collection, and I was honored to experience it firsthand.
Prior to entering the exhibit, the attendees were shown a brief introductory video which gave some background to Refik, his unique spin and vision on the aesthetics of NYC, and the world of NFTs.
Refik was in the world of digital art long before NFTs entered the mainstream, but now had a unique opportunity to share and commission his art on a larger scale. As I made my way into this warehouse style museum, I was greeted with multiple displays providing additional context on this Machine Hallucation: NYC exhibit as well as more information on NFTs so that even those unfamiliar had a chance to learn before becoming immersed in the culture themselves.
Once I finally made it into the main exhibit, I couldn’t help but feel like I was actually inside of an NFT. It was absolutely breathtaking and satisfied the senses in every way. The walls, floor, ceiling, EVERYTHING were part of the art itself. It felt like you were actually immersed in it and part of the exhibit and experience.
Given the exhibit was based on the city of NYC, and we were inside of the exhibit while in NYC, I lost track of what was real and what was digital. It’s like I was 3 layers deep in the metaverse!!! If you’ve seen The Matrix, this was the closest thing I’ver ever felt to being inside of it. Truly remarkable!!
The art itself was unlike anything I’ve seen before, and was more like an immersive story than static imagery. The visuals were broken down into three chapters of Refik’s emotional journey showcasing the magic of the Big Apple.
Chapter 1 - Memory, seemed to tap into the subconscious to showcase the mind as it revisits experiences of the past. This particular chapter especially reminded me of the Matrix and the vague distinction between what’s real and what’s created inside of our minds.
Chapter 2 - Consciousness - further explored the memories from past experiences stored in our minds as a series of visuals and emotions.
Chapter 3 - Dream - was my favorite of all and showed actual glorious scenes of NYC in a nostalgic fashion, bringing back beautiful memories of my days in the big apple. These scenes of NYC were then skewed and distorted into an alternate view of reality - Indexing Hallucinations. NYC began to transform into a trippy, psychedelic journey, showing us all that we see is merely a perception based on our past experiences, and is subject to interpretation. These hallucinogenic views of NYC were the basis for the collection of 1000 NFTs, which showcased different pieces of NYC in a truly innovative and visually stimulating way.
Speaking of these NFTs - I definitely did not plan on picking one up myself when I arrived, but after seeing the hype around Refik's NFTs and viewing his astonishing art, I couldn’t help but to hand over my credit card and buy my special piece of NYC history for $2000 USD. As an NFT collector myself, I have only ever bought NFTs with cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Solana, or Tezos, so this was the first time I’ve ever handed over a credit card and paid for an NFT with Fiat money. It was somewhat strange to me and didn’t exactly feel “right”, but I realized that this will probably be the future of NFTs for the mainstream: the ability to purchase a web3 asset leveraging traditional payment methods, making it easy for users to purchase NFTs without dealing with the complexities that come along with buying and holding crypto.
So I ended up dropping $2000 and snagging #389 of the collection which is gorgeous and something I plan on displaying in my home one day. Unless someone purchases it from me for my listed price of $50,000 ;)
I was actually so impressed and excited about the art that I went back to Artechouse just two days later to pick up a few more of the NFTs, only to discover that they were all sold out (within only 48 hours for a total of $2M) AND after speaking with the staff, I learned that it was only one NFT per person anyway!
At least I got to check out the exhibit and experience the magic all over again.
Find out more here and definitely check out the exhibit through January 17! https://www.artechouse.com/program/machine-hallucination-nyc/
About the Author
ParlayMe Tech & NFT Reporter - I am a serial entrepreneur with a passion for creating community and helping brands discover and amplify their authentic voice through social media marketing. As founder of BeYu Labs - a web3 business focused on community and unforgettable events - I aim to explore the unique opportunities and potential presented by the rise of NFT culture and future of the internet as we know it. I spend my free time playing guitar, skateboarding, traveling and researching overpriced JPEGs.