Creator Confessions: Sky Goodman

“I’m craving a return to the distinction between online and offline, which doesn’t seem to exist anymore.”

Text Zine
Published 22 Jun 2023

Sky Goodman is a media artist and poet based in Chicago. With a formal training in poetry and three published books to their name, Goodman’s interests expanded to encompass digital art after watching their computer glitch out while streaming the 2014 Fifa World Cup—a break from the usually smooth texture of the digital experience that proved far more interesting than the game itself. Since then, they’ve enlisted elaborate configurations of both extinct and emerging technologies—encompassing old televisions, modified electronics, video feedback systems, and virtual reality—to create glitching artworks that, like the best poems, play with the boundaries of chaos and order, intention and accident, dysfunction and detournement.

  • My earliest memory of being online
    I remember going onto the internet with my brother and my father—who was really excited about the early internet—when I was 11 or 12 and just sitting there. There were no search engines yet. We were just sitting there with a cursor flashing because we didn’t know where to go.
  • How my online experiences have influenced my offline life
    Sometimes that repetitive motion of scrolling will get embedded on the back of my retinas. I’ll close my eyes to go to bed and see a Twitter feed.
  • The most challenging and most rewarding thing about what I do
    They’re weirdly two sides of the same coin. It’s hard to be online all the time and never alone with your own thoughts. But the other side is that never in my life have I known and had the potential to collaborate with so many incredible artists that live all over the world.
  • The most commonly misunderstood thing about what I do
    It depends on the audience. People outside of the crypto arts space often don’t understand what my work in that world is about, how it’s functioning, or why people even collect it. I’m very embedded in the Tezos art ecosystem and a lot of people who are outside of crypto have never even heard of Tezos.
  • How technology has changed what I do since I started doing it
    I started super analog, just pens, paper, watercolors, and stuff like that. Technology has radically changed how I create. Now, I might go and put a VR headset on and sculpt and paint inside a virtual warehouse. The core ethos of my approach to art-making hasn’t changed, but the tools look very different.
  • How I think our relationship with technology should change
    While it’s great that we can be cyborgs, I do feel like people don’t get enough time to reflect or think critically anymore because they’re constantly online. I’m craving a return to the distinction between online and offline, which doesn’t seem to exist anymore.
  • The most important tool for my practice
    It’s me. It’s my own hands, heart, and mind, as cheesy as that might sound. If you’re an artist, you’ll find a way to create no matter what is around you. I use a lot of technology to create my art, but if it vanished, I would grab the closest thing near me and come up with new methods.
  • Art matters because
    On a macro-level, art is important because it’s a frame to view the world through. If you look at the art of a period in history, it can give you a visceral insight into the collective consciousness of the time faster than even a history book might. On a micro-level, it’s important for the individual human experience as a way to synthesize information, to express the subconscious.
  • I am most indebted to
    Probably my parents. They were really great parents—still are great parents—and they never discouraged me from pursuing the arts.
  • I am fascinated by
    I’m fascinated by how culture takes form, how you get armor, resiliency, communication, style, and fashion from cultures and subcultures. I think that’s probably why I went so deep into the Tezos community. It felt kind of like an online CBGB.
  • I am vexed by
    I don’t like when people say sorry when they haven’t done anything wrong. I’m from New York, but I live in the Midwest now and people say sorry all the time just for just existing. It’s okay. You don’t have to be sorry for that.
  • Something that feels futuristic now but will be forgotten in the future
    The whole explosion of artificial intelligence feels very sci-fi right now. I don’t think that’s going to be forgotten in the future, but maybe one day we won’t be able to imagine life without it.
  • Something that feels like a distraction now but will define the future
    A deeper understanding of how political systems actually work. To make sure that change is happening the way you want it, things need to happen on a local level. We’re already seeing the ramifications of that, at least in the United States.
  • How I envision the role of the artist changing in the future
    We’re already seeing a revolutionary shift in the role of the artist now. I think people are calling themselves artists who wouldn’t have called themselves artists in the past. We’re going to see more people claiming that role than before.
  • My future legacy will be
    I’m less concerned with my future legacy than having a good life in the present and getting a chance to share and explore art with people while I’m alive. Once I’m dead, I’ll be dead. I’d rather just try cultivate what I have while I’m here.
  • The best instruction for an AI learning to emulate me
    I would try to give it a bit of a sense of humor, some stuff about my sense of fashion and the kind of art that I like, and then maybe have it read some of my favorite science fiction novels—Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow, Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, Isaac Asmiov’s Foundation, everything by Octavia Butler.
  • Three things I would recommend to anyone
    Try to touch grass a lot. I don’t mean the metaphor for being offline. Literally, go touch some dirt and grass. Try to hug people more and get physical touch and affection from other people. Challenge yourself to read things that take time to read, and not just give in to scrolling all the time. I’m giving myself all this advice too, by the way.
  • My current desktop situation
    My background is one of my own works. It’s an abstract glitch piece featuring an analog glitch that I then further distorted digitally. It’s all kinds of blues and purples and pinks. Sprinkled all over it are random images of my work that I’ve saved from the mint page to tweet out.

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