Nancy Baker Cahill is a new media artist who examines power, selfhood, and embodied consciousness through drawing and shared immersive space. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of 4th Wall, a free Augmented Reality (AR) art platform exploring resistance and inclusive creative expression.
Her geolocated AR installations have been exhibited globally and have earned her profiles in the New York Times, Frieze Magazine, and The Art Newspaper, among other publications, and she was included in ARTnews’ list of 2021 'Deciders'. Her work has been exhibited internationally at museums and galleries, including Francisco Carolinum Linz, The Hermitage, The Buk-Seoul Museum of Art (SEMA), Honor Fraser Gallery, and König Gallerie. In 2022, she was one of two featured artists in the Luma Foundation's Elevation 1049 Biennial in Switzerland. Her work was featured in the Immersive Main Competition at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival and was exhibited on 90 screens in Times Square for the entire month of July as part of the Midnight Moments program.
Baker Cahill was an artist scholar in the Berggruen Institute’s inaugural Transformations of the Human Fellowship, and a 2021 resident at Oxy Arts’ ‘Encoding Futures,’ focused on AR monuments. She is a TEDx speaker and a member of the Guild of Future Architects. In 2021, she was awarded the Williams College Bicentennial Medal of Honor and received a C.O.L.A. Master Artist Fellowship. She is a 2022 LACMA Art and Tech Grant recipient.
In conversation with Nancy, we asked:
Having explored different media and tech in your work, NFTs seems fitting. How did you first hear about NFTs? What was your first impression of it?
I'd thought a lot about blockchain and art back in 2016, when I first acquired cryptocurrency, and became fascinated with the technology, but wasn't sure how to integrate it into my practice at the time. Just prior to the explosion of hype in late 2020, I'd been in conversation with some digital artists who were working with NFTs and was intrigued by what this new tokenomics offered, particularly around the promise of automated remuneration and disintermediation, something most artists still struggle with (aka not getting paid, not getting paid on time, having to chase down what they are owed for their labor). At that moment I wasn't yet aware that so many of the inequities of the status quo would be reproduced in short order.
What opportunities does web3 bring to artists? What excites you about NFTs?
The opportunities that currently excite me most are both contractual and community-based, models that experiment with new forms of governance that are neither fully decentralized nor centralized, but a balance of the two (DAOs). I'm interested in what smart contracts that are more complex and robust might look like, and how they might be built to account for collaborative practices and projects.
Nancy Baker Cahill's artworks on auction are entitled ‘Slipstream Entanglement’. Slipstream Entanglement is a cinematic still of a bespoke immersive video installation exhibited at Format Festival 2022. These artworks are an abstract narrative referring to three parts; referencing the body, the climate, and nature itself, inextricably entangled and interdependent.
“Slipstream artworks begin as graphite drawings on paper, launching a long odyssey of production. The drawings are torn and reconfigured into bespoke sculptural configurations. Documented as 3D objects, they are altered, lit and animated. These additive and subtractive transmutations embody a self-organizing logic.”