historia deletur repetitur
Historical Erasure is a social awareness / historical context Ethereum NFT collection that provides perspective on the use of apes, monkeys and other simians as avatars representative of human beings. I provide a paper below presenting the term Digital Blackface. The paper outlines historical contexts in which human-approximating simian imagery has been used to oppress, enslave, segregate, ridicule and marginalize groups of people.
Whether the crypto community has reclaimed this imagery is up for debate, but I provide historical context as to the use of such imagery and question whether the crypto community is in fact aware of this tainted lineage. Significantly, I consider a specific example where comparing an individual to their ape avatar would be considered unacceptable due to historical context.
In creating this work, I consider a world in which a new generation of children is unaware of the history surrounding simianization and its dehumanizing intentions. While they may grow up considering it perfectly acceptable, the old adage remains: history erased is repeated (historia deletur repetitur).
For the NFT collection, I utilize two fundamental images from page 458 and 459 of Types of Mankind: Ethnological Researches Based Upon the Ancient Monuments, Paintings, Sculptures, and Crania of Races. (1854) by Josiah Nott and George Gliddon. It is a work central to polygenic theory. Using Preview in OSX, I hand erase sections from the merged images for a total of 10,000 distinct instances of historical erasure. Each erased instance is then overlaid with a single eraser throughout the collection.
Some raw video of the erasure process is available here.
Number to mint (max. 20):
- / 10000 minted.
Ethereum Contract Address