Conversation with Zach Gage

Thanks to Outland for organizing and publishing this conversation with artist and game designer Zach Gage.

GAGE That’s another way in which your work is embodying the moment that is not fully surfaced. There’s an interplay in what you’re doing where it feels to me that you’ve found a place where you can be a radical while still succeeding at feeling like you’re being accommodating. You’ve managed to do it in a way where you feel comfortable because you locate these bureaucratic zones that are ready to be occupied. I wonder how that factors into the experiences and observations about the NFT space, and your work there?

KUO None of that is by design, but it came out of a certain kind of relation to a dominant culture. The interactions with collectors and NFT prospectors that have been disturbing to me are those in which I’m feeling the depth of their expectation and their own sense of the power that they think they have, or maybe do have, due to the amount of capital they’re sitting on. In the same way that this one-click collecting framework is being built around me, I feel a real threat in being expected to help engineer one-click relationships to myself and to my work.

GAGE I think that’s an important contextual component of what crypto fundamentally does. It’s a way to bring a free market to any space, which is a substantial, powerful thing to be able to do. When it’s done, everyone in the space becomes either a vendor or a customer, which comes with a whole host of expectations that are totally different from being an artist.