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World of Warcraft’s most notorious bug inspired this cursed piece of modern art

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It looks like something out of an Eldritch fantasy horror, maybe a Diablo game: sharp, bony extrusions, gnarled ligaments, and a modestly sized chest covered in twisted veins, all painted a pale, ghostly, flesh color Is. It’s repulsively organic, but it also has an occult, formal air. Actually this cursed item is called an artifact tainted blood residue, by a Boston artist named Harris Rosenblum. And as you can tell from the title, it’s actually linked to another Blizzard game: world of Warcraft,

The Corrupted Blood Plague of 2005 is probably the most infamous bug Very goodlong history, which gave rise to one of the most famous unscripted events in any online game. Corrupted Blood was a debuff applied to players during the climactic boss fight of the Zul’Gurub raid, and it transpired between characters being close to each other. Due to a bug, the debuff went out of raid range and spread faster Very goodThe world of Azeroth is becoming a real in-game pandemic. Non-player characters could take it asymptotically, while lower level player characters were killed instantly by the powerful debuff. Some players tried to set up an organized healing response, while griefers contrived ways to further spread the disease.

has two small windows on the sides of tainted blood residue sculpture, and Rosenblum placed an SD card in each of them. One contains the patch that introduces the Corrupted Blood Pandemic, and the other the patch that cures it. The cards give the piece a sort of Schrödinger’s cat feel—as if this hideous box is holding two possible realities at the same time.

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A giant, portrait-oriented collage of horrifyingly messy bedroom images

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infinite mess By Harris Rosenblum — collage of images from r/NeckbeardNests.
Image: Harris Rosenblum

“Yeah, totally,” laughs Rosenblum, speaking to me via video call from his home in Boston. “There’s a strange dichotomy that you can get from having both of those possible game states as one thing. As such, at some point, you may need the power of a Remnant of Contaminated Blood, or at some point [the power of the fix], They are present at the same place.

Rosenblum has sleek, dark hair and wears small round glasses that give off a cool, engineered look. He is originally from Denver, Colorado, has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Kent State University in Ohio, and works as a digital fabrication tech at Harvard, helping people build tools like 3D printers and laser cutters. Strange Machines” helps. As an artist and researcher, he is interested in new digital fabrication techniques, industrial and post-industrial crafts, and the culture of online spaces. his curse Very good the chest was the centerpiece of his exhibition tainted blood residue, mounted by the Blade Study Gallery in New York in late 2022; He has a new show inorganic demonOpening April 14 at the Sarah in New York.

Rosenblum does not play video games and describes himself as “no”. He online,” but he has a fascination with the new social structures emerging in online spaces, and the new realities people are able to create for themselves there. He says he first heard about the phenomenon of contaminated blood during the COVID-19 pandemic, when apparent parallels to real-world events brought it back into the public consciousness. He was interested in the unplanned, organic nature of the event, how it allowed players control over the game’s narrative, and how it was later “re-canonized” into a pre-patch event. wrath of the Lich King expansion that mimicked the plague in more controlled conditions.

Rosenblum thought the reaction of the grievers was particularly interesting. “I don’t mean it, but people who are on the fringes of society, who feel a little more isolated, they find these homes and places,” he says. “As such, the mourner actually has the ability to reform reality and to reform these worlds in a way that the person who tacitly understands what is going on around them and does not agree with it. “

A large, white, organic looking sword hangs between two wooden frames

sword of vitalik By Harris Rosenblum – A fictional possession of Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin world of Warcraft Character.
Image: Harris Rosenblum

In other pieces, Rosenblum has found herself returning to other figures from online and gaming culture, such as Hatsune Miku and the orcs from Games Workshop’s tabletop Warhammer games. He was interested in Hatsune Miku because she is basically a vehicle for fan-made art, and the community has a right to it; And in the orcs he saw “a symbol of this amorphous and, like, ever-mighty version of the working class, against whom no force could really come. It seemed like something that was really beautiful to me. Another piece, sword of vitalikSealed within a giant sword is a unique NFT on an SD card based on a two-handed sword that might Very good Character created by Vitalik Buterin, creator of the Ethereum cryptocurrency. (Buterin says he modeled Ethereum after his favorite Very good The character was weak in a patch.) Another, infinite messThe Neckbeard Nest is an overwhelming, bewildering wall of images culled from the subreddit.

The Internet as a democratized space – or at least, a space of resistance – is key to Rosenblum’s work. “We’re in this moment of capitalist realism where reality is moving down this neoliberal path that matters less and less to more and more people. And so online spaces are places where people have the ability to escape the circumstances of it, but they have the ability to have these imaginative other worlds where [in place of] The consensus reality that exists politically, they invent their own kind. Reality feels like it’s crumbling.

An ornate silver relic containing a Warhammer 40,000 space marine figurine in a kneeling position

Relic of the True Cross (In Space Marine Relic) by Harris Rosenblum
Image: Harris Rosenblum

Interestingly, there is a connection here to another old inspiration for Rosenblum’s work. “The fact is that fans are generating this lore and creating these fandoms, and then that winds up sometimes being reintroduced into canon. […] Honestly there is nothing like it other than medieval Catholicism. He mentions the cult of the saints whereby “the consensus reality of the Church does not match the lived reality of the people” in some areas. “They will essentially build their own fan following of Christ, and it will be re-integrating. I see these online spaces as being able for our present day.

Rosenblum’s wife, a curatorial assistant at a museum, is a student of the cult of saints and turned him to the medieval phenomenon of reliquaries – ornate, ceremonial, “semi-memorial” objects made to hold small pieces of bone. Will go Or the clothes are said to belong to the saints. tainted blood residue Stylized as a type of relic, there are SD cards that have patched data as part of the relic pieces. Of SD cards, he says, “It’s just silicon, it’s just sand that gets refined in a really intense way.” “But there’s such a profound meaning that you can hold within that, and then the object almost serves to show what the contents of this stream of little transistors are.”

To create the chest’s distinctively terrifying look, Rosenblum modeled it in 3D and then printed it on a resin printer, using new crafting techniques before achieving an organic finish by coating it in liquid latex has been pioneered by the cosplay community. He watched videos of people making Halloween props and picked up techniques like dry-brushing from Warhammer figure painting. For the primer, he created a historic material called clay bole that was traditionally used in gilding, “but I made it out of everything I could essentially get at the health food store.”

Rosenblum is a bit evasive about where tainted blood residueA very disturbing look emerged. “I firmly believe that aesthetics emerge from the physical conditions of the object […]: That thing that happened in sports, this cosplay thing, and the post-industrial physicality. And then there’s only a certain amount of ways one can see that,” he says. “I could spray-paint it with silver spray paint and make it look super sexy or whatever,” he says of the piece’s gross, nude finish. “But I think it’s cool to lean into it, like there’s a meaning and a materiality to the surface. So it feels scary and occult in a way.

single storey Very good Bugs, medieval Catholicism, 3D printing, the politics of grief, cosplay techniques and DIY gilding. It is a heady mix of influences that, like all good art, creates something greater than the sum of its parts. Even just seen in jpg on the internet, tainted blood residue There is an infallible power. It’s cursed, in a good way.

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