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On April 1, 2021, I came home from a long day and sensed an intriguing tension, amplified by the occasionally blinking LED widescreen on Matthias’ desk. An atmosphere akin to suspension. On the top of the screen, a number kept rising, followed by the abbreviation “ETH.”

I asked Matthias, how did it go? For I had a nebulous idea that one of his digital artwork debuted at an auction on Withfoundation, an NFT platform for crypto art trading. More accurately, it was a work created by his work, the world’s first fully automated 3D design “influencer” Rachael Lery. Rachael had been posting one digital artwork per day since May 3, 2020, during the time when Matthias and I just began to adapt to the escalated restrictions and new social norms in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 11 months later, still having to work from our flat in central Berlin on most days, like many people, we are desperate for some novelty.

In this context, Rachael, created by Matthias, has been generating novelty every day, not only for us but also for her 6,000 followers on Instagram. Without any promotional efforts from Matthias’ side, Rachael’s followers keep rising steadily–many of them have left comments and messages, praising her creativity and taste and, sporadically, asking for collaborations. Matthias feels puzzled by the fact that after he disclosed the real identity of Rachael last summer, many people still seem to believe that Rachael is a real person. I wonder, besides Instagram users’ general lack of interest in reading texts, if people increasingly turn to believe in a version of reality that appears more expedient, regardless of how deceitful it proves to be.


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