In ETERNAL ETHER, Anne Spalter delves into the complex relationship between our relentless quest for wealth and the paradoxical environmental effects it incurs, situated in both physical and virtual realms.
At the center of this piece are the foxes, symbolic entities not only for their natural cunning and resourcefulness but also in the direct nod to the MetaMask logo, a critical interface for many in the realm of Ethereum and NFT transactions. These foxes are not just miners but avid explorers, propelled by nootropics, allegorically representing the technological enhancements we use to maximize our potential in pursuit of wealth.
The objects of their hunt, the diamonds and Ethereum, serve as metaphors. The diamonds stand as the traditional embodiment of rare physical wealth, inherently tied to a legacy of environmental destruction through mining and linked to the broader issue of rare earth mineral exploitation. Simultaneously, they are a reminder of the negative impacts of our pursuit of the tangible luxuries and necessities that these minerals provide.
In contrast, Ethereum symbolizes the burgeoning digital economy, which, while intangible, also involves either mining or staking. In both worlds, bad actors have played outsized roles. NFTs, a current manifestation of this digital value extraction, find a place in this allegory, prompting viewers to consider the unseen real-world implications of virtual transactions.
ETERNAL ETHER therefore challenges its audience to confront our consumerist desires in both the physical and digital worlds, posing hard questions about the sustainability of our current value systems. As we, much like the foxes, delve deeper in our quest for both tangible and intangible riches, it begs the question: what is the true cost of our progress and what is the nature of the systems we are building? This work seeks to spur reflection on our part in this interplay of technology, environment, and our perception of value.