Sasha Stiles NFT Poem Top Seller At Christie’s x Gucci Auction

BY Lorepunk

November 28, 2023

Traditional and web3 poet Sasha Stiles has had a successful poem sale today at Christie’s auction house as part of Christie’s partnership with luxury brand Gucci.

Alongside Stiles’ piece, “Repetae: Again, Again,” the auction—“Parallel Universes: from Future Frequencies to Gucci Cosmos”—included works from Alexis Andre, Alexis Christodoulou, Amy Goodchild, Harvey Rayner, Jacqui Kenny, Jo Ann, Melissa Wiederrecht, and Thomas Lin Pedersen.

Stiles’ work, a video of the word “again” in red text on a black background, accompanied by the audio of a poem written with her AI collaborator, Technelegy, sold for three ETH to an online buyer, matching the price another top sale of the auction—Harvey Rayner’s generative work, “Eden Fresco.”

Stiles has collaborated with Gucci before at Christie’s: in their show this summer, she sold “The Loom of Languages,” a generative work exploring the relationship between text and textiles. In conversation with Gucci’s Micael Barilaro, Stiles learned that poetry is deeply important to Gucci as a House and to its creative director, Sabato De Sarno.

“I remember Micael sent me a manifesto on the name Gucci Ancora, and I was moved by the team’s poetic understanding of “Ancora” – a beautiful word that means still or again and evokes the complex value of carrying the past forward. That planted the seeds for this new poem, “REPETAE: Again, Again,” commissioned as a response to Gucci Cosmos in London, designed by Es Devlin, who I’m a huge fan of, with Maria Luisa Frisa,” Stiles told not now.

Gucci Cosmos is a traveling archival exhibition designed by Devlin, which immerses the visitor in the history and aesthetic of the brand through iconic Gucci pieces curated by Maria Luisa Frisa, and its “Ancora” room—the word means “still,” or “again”—inspired REPETAE, which uses repetitions of the word “again” to powerful effect.

To create the work, Stiles gave her AI co-author Technology some Italian-language “Gucci keywords:” “Ancora,” “Per Sempre,” “Mai,” “A Volte,” “Ogni Volta,” and “Invece.” “The English translations of all these phrases are woven into the final work in a deliberate pattern of visual poetry and electronically enhanced spoken word, embodying how meaning accrues through repetition – in art, design, and technology, just as in life,” she said.

Stiles is delighted that, of the two highest-selling items in the collection, one is her poem—underscoring the fact that the world of digital art is an ideal place to practice the work of poetry. “It’s thrilling to see a poem, a poet achieve the highest price point in an art auction – not a poem interpreted by an artist or paired with illustrations, not a venerated artifact of literary history, but a contemporary work of language art in which word, image, performance are written inseparably. A lot of what I do is writing in multiple dimensions, using aesthetics and technology as mediums to articulate things we don’t yet know how to say, and for me, innovative creative platforms like Gucci Art Space and Christie’s 3.0 are an ideal publisher,” said Stiles. 

With a background in marketing, Stiles is well aware of the potential of bringing challenging art to popular audiences. “Audre Lorde was absolutely right that ‘poetry is not a luxury,’ but in a world of commodities, it feels significant and uplifting to think a poem, especially a poem about the posthuman conundrum, can get dressed up as an object of desire and be coveted and collected and re-read again and again,” she said.

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