SURVIVAL by Kevin Abosch

The tale of the human condition is one of instinctual struggle to survive. The process of survival starts at birth and in the general sense, we are all survivors. One is said to have survived a calamitous event by not having died as a result of it. One’s life could end, but they are said to have been “survived” by their legacy. We are survived by the reverberations of our actions.

SURVIVAL / 500 works by Kevin Abosch

Not for the first time in modern history, we find ourselves facing the threat of autocratic governments, consolidating power while new autocracies emerge, unseating what we refer to conventionally as democracies. With concurrent genocides taking place across the globe, and the spectre of nuclear war very much front and centre these days, we are reminded of the existential threat to humankind served up by rogue leaders empowered by the terrified masses. To survive, those whose logic has not been confused by fear must intervene. Most importantly, we must help those who cannot help themselves to survive.

SURVIVAL / 500 works by Kevin Abosch

SURVIVAL is an intervention that started by collecting vast amounts of historical data pertaining to humankind’s constant struggle to survive, with an emphasis on human rights abuses and atrocities committed across the globe since the 20th century. My process of working with data has evolved over time to something much more akin to ritual than science. I employ a battery of machine-learning algorithms to help surface insights that I might otherwise not glean if I tried to work through the mountain of data myself. I work with computers in a back and forth fashion, a feedback loop, until I am left with an emotional distillation of the original data as it pertains to a given theme, in this case, survival. After encryption in the form of hexadecimal alphanumerics, these “testimonies” undergo a process of obfuscation that entails overlaying the alphanumerics upon each other, and frequently truncating or deleting sections. What remains is not suitable for intellectual analysis. The truth of the work can only be accessed emotionally.

The process I’ve described is how I have made much of my work since 2019, particularly the work manifested as NFT’s. With SURVIVAL, however, the work leaves the virtual realm before returning to it. As an artist who spends a considerable time working with technology, I allow myself to come under the influence of technology. In this altered state, I learn how to see differently, even how to feel differently. I find it emotionally draining at times and need to come out from under the influence of machine. It doesn’t mean I have to stop in the middle of a work that was borne of bits; I simply finish a work in the physical realm.

The final stage of the work, the commitment and obfuscation of the encrypted alphanumerics, consisted of painting 500 works on paper, using acrylic paint, oil stick, India ink, and graphite. Then I photographed each work using the camera on an iPhone 13 Pro Max, because I wanted to degrade the fidelity of my paintings through the particular type of jpeg compression inherent to this type of device, exaggerated by throttling the intensity of the light allowed to reach the camera sensor. After returning to the computer each work received a procedural polishing and a subtle homogenisation before being minted as an NFT.

I made a decision that these works would not be auctioned to the public nor would they have a sale price. In fact, they are officially “not for sale.” This is not to say that a collector cannot offer to purchase one, but there is no guarantee that the offer would be accepted. Survival itself is not guaranteed.

- Kevin Abosch / Paris 3rd August, 2022

View the entire collection of NFT's on OpenSea