Talk Hole Takeover Part One: To NFT or Not to NFT?

The New York-based duo records and interviews their way through the galleries, pools, and beaches of Art Basel Miami

Text Zine
Published 11 Jan 2023

The spontaneity. The titillation. The drama. The Talk Hole x Zora Zine Video Series.

Don’t ever underestimate the potency of a mic and a camera: Andrew Callaghan’s All Gas No Brakes lifted the rock over the bizarre and dank that the lower 48 has to offer; loathsome Infowars’ Ashton Whitty inadvertently introduced a whole country—and the internet—to the erstwhile-unknown Dasha Nekrasova, aka Sailor Socialism (“I just want people to have free healthcare, honey”); Humans of New York saturated viewers in a vat of saccharine preciousness which paved the way for grittier vignettes like New York Nico during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If man-on-the-street interviews are fixtures of an American quest for freedom of expression and 15-minute celebrity, then Basel Hole is a cornerstone—except this time we’ve traded in the mic on Canal Street for a pair of Chacos on Ocean Drive in South Beach.

Eric Schwartau and Steven Phillips-Horst are the New York-based duo behind Talk Hole, a comedy show and brand. Their eponymous column, first seen in Interview Magazine and now in Gawker, is a masterclass in braiding high-brow cultural authority with low-brow gags and antics.

Zora Zine sent them packing. To Art Basel Miami, no less—a maelstrom of art, activations, and canapés, whose attendees are often as gilded as they are glib. Galleries have notoriously chided art fairs for their lofty pay-to-play arrangements, which often see gallerists—after travel and installation fees—barely breaking even despite record-breaking sales. But then where would the fun be? Where and when could we have moments where the public bears witness to the conceptual hedonism, or decomposition, of which Maurizio Cattelan’s taped banana reeks?

Perhaps for similar reasons that it attracts such a concentration of art world opulence, Miami has also styled itself as the crypto capital of America—see the Bitcoin bull statue unveiled by mayor Francis Suarez earlier this year. But just as there are many artworlds, there are many crypto-pills to swallow, each with its own distinct flavor of intoxication and enlightenment. Similarly, just as those outside the art world are quick to dismiss the neologism glossolalia that adorns the average press release, the dense dictionary of Web3 jargon often confounds the uninitiated. Web3 had its biggest presence yet at this year’s Basel, but what, if anything, did the attendees make of it? Summoning the outsider wisdom of their beginner’s mind, the Talk Hole duo went on a journey to uncover what any of this really means: the journey of ETH, Pray, Love.

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