Diss tracks are so two-thousand and late—we’ve moved on to diss NFTs.
That’s right, folks, the NFT drama mill is a-churning, with the crypto bros over at The Color Museum fueling the feud. After the launch of this NFT marketplace where buyers can mint the rights to colors, many turned to color liberator Stuart Semple for a response.
Semple is a performance artist and activist who’s made it his mission to democratize the rainbow. He recently freed Tiffany Blue and released open-source acrylic paints, BLACK 2.0 and BLACK 3.0, in response to Anish Kapoor’s Vantablack. Given this history, it stands to reason that Semple would have strong thoughts (and perhaps even actions) regarding The Color Museum’s color-ownership hooplah. So I asked him directly.
“The Color Museum dude is a rip-off merchant,” he tells me. “I believe in color as a building block of creativity, and I’m fuming every time someone claims they own it or want to profit from it. I think it’s important to tell these rascals off so they can say sorry and not do it again.”
DJ, queue the diss NFT…
“SIX ZEROES” is a new NFT created as an edition of one million by Semple that allows you to own nothing at all, available starting today. It’s the digital equivalent of “the blackest black,” created using the hex code for black: 000000. (Hence the name.) It tells your screen to turn off all of its pixels and to emit no light at all. In essence, “SIX ZEROS” is nothing.
The top of the “SIX ZEROS” press release reads, “Stuart Semple launches absolutely nothing as $100m NFT to teach ‘Crypto Bro’ a lesson.” Within the release he writes, “I’m sick and tired of these dodgy crypto bros and their grifting NFT ponzi schemes. When they start trying to own colors and profiting off them, it’s gone too far. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been hounded by the internet to respond to the latest color grinch. I’ve never been one to miss an opportunity to turn a petty feud into a piece of conceptual art.”
Those hoping to procure absolutely nothing must agree to a legal disclaimer on the “SIX ZEROES” site which states, “By minting the Blackest Black pixel you confirm that you are not Anish Kapoor or the creator of The Color Museum NFT. You confirm you are not associated with them and to the best of your knowledge and information this pixel will not make it into their wallet.” Buyers must also submit to a wallet check to prove they do not own a Color Museum NFT.
With all this in mind, it might come as a surprise that Semple isn’t opposed to all NFTs. In fact, he supports them as long as they aren’t being used for nefarious gains, as in the case of The Color Museum.
“NFTs have been taken over by a bunch of pyramid-scheme scumbags after a fast buck. Which is sad, as I think they have the potential to really champion digital work and help artists make an income and connect directly to collectors. They can help with the provenance of physical work, and give a value to digital work. Annoyingly, the dodgy ape-flogging speculators are set to kill web 3 before it has a chance,” he says.
“There are some amazing, inspiring artists working on projects, but they are getting lost, sadly. Like any art, there’s good art and bad art; that’s got nothing to do with NFTs,” Semple continues. “Web 2 promised equality, and ended with corporations flogging our personal data to the highest bidder in exchange for our mental health. Web 3 feels like it’s already going south, thanks to these chancers. We need more real artists to show up and make amazing things.”
“Owning colors and owning art are two different things,” he goes on. “NFTs, like museums, normally have an owner, yet everyone can see the work. Using this technology to privatize and profit from colors is all shades of shady. Hopefully ‘SIX ZEROES’ helps highlight how ridiculous and naughty this whole situation is.”
In the spirit of the silliness inherent to these ongoing “Color Wars,” I asked Semple to indulge a hypothetical scenario: What would he say to The Color Museumsters if he found himself alone in an elevator with them?
“I’d probably do a massive fart and leave him to deal with it,” he offered, true to form. “But if I had to speak, I’d probably ask him why nobody ever taught him that sharing his colors was a nice thing to do, and what he’s planning to do with the 20 million quid he’s scammed out of people.”