Sarah Zucker’s work merges the gorgeous and grotesque through humor, psychedelia, mysticism, and the interplay of both cutting edge and obsolete technologies, often mixing digital and analog video techniques and the use of VHS. It is an aesthetic intervention that transports the viewer into a dimension of her own definition, evoking familiar forms of the past as a lens for looking at the future.
These “rainbow transmissions from another realm,” as she calls them, are episodes in the ongoing broadcast that her work entails, full of characters, stories and interweaving tropes unique to the one-woman TV channel she operates. Zucker stands out as one of the leading new media artists gaining prominence in the world of NFTs.
The present work is inspired by a personal revelation the artist had while reading a book about mushrooms and the “wood wide web” they create with their mycelium – essentially a mesh network that allows interspecies communication in a forest. Struck by a vision of the Internet as the extension of the human nervous system, just as the human nervous system is an extension of the mycelial networks of the natural world, Self Transcending was born.
“We’re living in a very potent time in human history, where we’re redefining our notions of humanity as we merge with our technology,” says Zucker. “This can often be strange and uncomfortable, and societal growing pains are not uncommon. But a more zoomed-out perspective allows us to see how we’re extending beyond ourselves, bursting through our borders of separation to connect with each other, like nodes in a network.”
In this piece, Zucker uses her VideoPainting technique paired with analog feedback to visualize this sense of the Transcending Self as a Strange Loop – a narrative that reiterates itself into infinity. “Every new Self informs the next, and it’s up to us to establish harmony within the chaos,” she explains. “As we harmonize within, we expand without. We can now reach beyond our own boundaries to become Self Transcending”.