Beeple: Technology is something that affects all of us. And I think exploring how that is affecting the human experience through art, to me, is really interesting.
It’s called Human One because this is sort of trying to imagine the story of the first person who was born in the Metaverse–obviously very far in the future–somebody who, their entire consciousness is online in this virtual space. They don’t have a physical body, and they are sort of trapped inside this computer, but at the same time, they have all these crazy worlds to explore and all of this stuff that they can continue, sort of like moving through.
The overall human experience is one that is very deeply personal to us, and so having one person to see all of these weird things alone is more analogous to what life is actually like.
If you look at the pictures, a lot of them have the same little 3D model looking at something crazy or big or beautiful or something. Like, that little dude has seen all these crazy things and it’s like he is on this journey and has seen and done a bunch of different things.
So the process between making Human One and making the Everydays [series] is different in some respects, but similar in some respects as well. It’s similar in that I'm using the same program and the same type of techniques in terms of bringing in 3D objects and placing them and lighting them. But it’s a bit different, obviously, because it’s in this framework of this physical sculpture.
It also uses a bunch of techniques that I learned through a decade of making concert visuals, namely projection mapping. And so, I think bringing the tools and techniques of concert visual productions into fine art is something that I don’t really think has been done a huge amount before and something that I think is really interesting, especially given how powerful these tools are now.
I think when people see digital art, they expect it to just be like a flat video on a TV screen or something on your phone. And so I really wanted to make something that combined these two worlds in a way that it felt like both of them needed to exist. The physical part is very necessary for it and the digital part is also very necessary for it.
When we were kids, everybody drew, everybody made art, but then everybody stopped. Like, almost all people stopped making art. And why is that? I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that people get in their head about, ‘oh, is this good? Is this, like, good enough?’ Or like, ‘are people are going to think this is stupid?’
And I think kids don’t think about what are other people going to think about the artwork. They just draw what they want to draw. And I think if you can get back into that mindset and it’s very hard to do, it’s very hard to listen to that tiny voice that is telling you the picture that you want to make and not what you think everybody else wants to see.
You will make work that will resonate much more with yourself and with everybody else because people can inherently tell no matter what the picture is, I believe, when you made something that you really care about.
And so each day I’m trying to listen to that tiny voice in my head that is pointing me into the picture I’m most excited about making. Sometimes those are pretty weird! [laughs]
In this interview, Mike Winkelmann—also known as Beeple—talks about depicting technology’s impact on the human experience through art and the importance of creating something you care about.
Beeple has produced at least one artwork daily for over fifteen years. Every. Single. Day. HUMAN ONE (2021), installed in the M+ Focus Gallery, is Beeple’s first sculptural work. It is a four-channel video sculpture focusing on a mysterious figure’s journey, informally named the ‘traveller’. This figure tirelessly treks forward through a virtual landscape capable of evolving from a dystopian war zone to a benevolent jungle and everything in between. This seemingly endless digital world is confined to a box constructed from four LED panels.
Says Beeple: ‘The overall human experience is deeply personal to us, so having one person see all these weird things alone is more analogous to what life is like.’
- Produced by
- M+ Producer
- M+ Curatorial Research
- M+ Text and Subtitle Editing
LW Lam, Amy Leung
- Special Thanks
Beeple, Scott Winkelmann, Tyler Berkey, Ryan Zurrer, William Smith, Chris Sullivan, Mimi Cheung, Rachel Chan