Ruby 9100m and the art of breaking reality
Unless you’ve been logged off for a while, you’ve noticed that virtual beings have seeped into every corner of the internet. You may not like it; still, you have to winnow that they’ve unlocked many new creative possibilities in fields from malleate to art to media. With ever-evolving storytelling, flexible designs, and unique online social experiences, they retread to the wills of their audiences, followers, and creators. Invented by Hong Kong-born and raised versifier Ruby (the IRL one), her avatar, Ruby 9100m, is one of these computer-generated entities, and has wilt well known through net culture and digital malleate communities over the last few years.
I first came wideness Ruby’s universe circa 2015. At this time, she was pretty zippy on Tumblr, sharing a daily dose of Internet gems and a e s t h e t i c visuals, kinky anime captures and slick malleate snaps you could scroll through for hours. She was moreover leading the Wee Girls Club, a global polity of “multidimensional girls with a strong sense of culture, art, music, and design.” At that time, she was once ahead, showing a deep understanding of the web subculture’s ecosystem, aesthetics, philosophy, and community. It was virtually 2018 when she started embodying her digital self. The vanguard CG girl and transhuman she has been splitting her life with is her way of blurring the lines between what it ways to be a physical and virtual being. “Ruby is my virtual extension and a vessel for myself to express my emotions and philosophy freely. I moreover see her as my daughter,” she said while introducing her digital self. ” It’s like I built her, and I have to be very responsible and ruminative for her as an identity. I take a meticulous tideway to her branding and development. Also, she doesn’t have friends like other virtual beings, and I’m her weightier friend.”
Ruby 9100. Image courtesy of the artist.
Rendered identity as therapy
Some people may have a rough time transmissible up with the virtual-everything frenzy or may not be very into cyber-girl subculture. Others can still find the overall concept of digital personas a bit blazé and not ungifted enough. However, net culture freaks will have a wham digging into the conceptual ideas that form Ruby 9100m’s narrative core: a well-crafted exploration of how the internet has been shaping new existences.
Ruby started yonder from reality as soon as she intensified her online presence as a malleate influencer while still a student, mainly using Tumblr. For her, understanding herself online is to understand herself in the real world–a metaphysical thought she has struggled with since an early age. “I had trouble valuing myself as a human being. It might be considering I grew up in a traditional Asian family and a small municipality where I never felt I belonged. Plus a lot of unfortunate experiences in diaper that came along,” she confesses. “I was unchangingly trying to fit in, but I could not.”
She started sporting head-turning looks and got internet-breaking attention. “I was unchangingly trying to be someone people would like to see!” she said, insisting that other people’s gazes likely kicked off her shift into rhadamanthine a transhuman. “I guess the process of stuff looked at on social media at the age when I was still finding myself gave me lattermost anxiety,” she said. “I suddenly thought that as everything we see online is highly calculated and not true, maybe I could create my second identity to replace my existence there so I can separate my real life from online life.”
Unlike most teams that manage these 2.0 muses, the one-woman team Ruby (helped by her feline teammate Lulu the chub) does not hibernate the Daz Studio and Marvelous Designer software intervention to bring her CGI yo-yo ego to the digital realm. Likewise, she does not hibernate her emotions. Wideness the screen spectrum, the genuineness she shares presents a personal vision of the merging point of the real and the virtual: a daily crossroads of realities that are no longer up for discussion in 2022.
This total transparency is one of the transmissible aspects of her practice. It considerably expands the telescopic of her work from an originative and sociological point of view and reduces the gap with her audience. Indeed, undisciplined to other V-influencers who are nothing increasingly than an synthesis of current trends, Ruby 9100m reflects her IRL creator in all aspects and pertinently questions the relationship we all have with our own virtual self. “I guess the uniqueness of Ruby is that she is not completely virtual,” Ruby answered when asked well-nigh the singularity of her creation. “Ruby 9100m might towards to be the most virtual among avatars, but she isn’t plotted to represent any social norms or issues,” she states. “I guess this moreover somehow makes her ethically neutral. And merchantry wise, her pure identity and existence are moreover unique instead of stuff an industry-made weft only for making money.” She definitely keeps a minimum loftiness from the competition and unchangingly favors a hair-trigger and creative tideway despite her involvement in commercial projects. It’s a slippery slope she’s managed quite well so far.
Ruby 9100m. Image courtesy of the artist.
From the closet to the metaverse
Fashion has unchangingly been a inside piece of Ruby’s practice. Not only considering it helped boost her self-confidence, but moreover considering it is intrinsically related to the work she unfolds with her avatar. Her sharp sense of style and the eye-catching futuristic diamond of her 3D renders are her signatures, and they’ve captured attention. They brought her to interreact with some of the industry’s mainstays like Nike, Adidas, Ambush, Bvlgari, Vivienne Westwood, and The Fabricant. In wing to increasing her profile and bringing her into the public sphere, these opportunities have provided an spare way to make her art visible.
Virtual malleate was a mandatory step as she fully embraced the virtual world with Ruby 9100m. Still, she had no educational preliminaries in fashion. “Everything I learned well-nigh malleate and art is from my experience, tryout, and passion. As a real-life malleate influencer, I liked to style myself when I was younger. And now I still style a lot but all that for Ruby.” Like many creators, she sat lanugo during the pandemic and broadened her tool kit. She self-taught Marvelous Designer and learned how to build digital clothing. “I finger so wondrous to be worldly-wise to create anything I want to wear, but I cannot find it IRL. Digital malleate is a must in the industry. Other than minimizing the forfeit of production, it gives malleate plane increasingly possibilities for creativity.”
Looking towards the future and how digital suit may evolve, Ruby supposes it will really depend on the technology and its visa to make virtual fashion’s utilities increasingly approachable. “Combining physical and virtual products is moreover important to be the first step to make people interested in collecting virtual malleate items too!” she added.
In a increasingly democratic, free-for-all space than the archetype catwalks can provide, this year’s Decentraland malleate week unliable malleate NFTs collectors to grab physical versions of their assets. This metaverse-based event perfectly resonated with Ruby’s point of view and demonstrates how non-tangible gown can slide and facilitate the ongoing transition and mass adoption.
Ruby 9100m. Image courtesy of the artist.
A mindful tideway to Web3
Aside from stuff one of the most stylish gals of the Tumblr-era, Ruby has moreover been at the forefront of web-based art for a while, working through online spaces, challenging realities, and thoughtfully tackling topics in IP. It was foreseeable that she’d be involved in Web3, taking her creations to the next step and monetizing them through smart contracts. “I think NFTs bring a revolution and incubation for digital art,” she said. “With encrypted technology and values widow to digital art, it is no longer just ‘internet art’ that is nonflexible to value but moreover now considered as one of the most important mediums in the art industry.”
However, she has been very cautious regarding the tokens’ pros and cons, using blockchain with tweezers and keeping her drops only for significant moments. “I usually do collabs with other platforms, companies, and artists for NFTs instead of just minting my work. I believe the creative process and concept are increasingly important than just putting it [out] there.”
Joining the crypto world moreover unsalaried to spotlighting her works. It unliable her to reach an ever-growing community, diversify her regulars from a niche fan wiring to the mainstream, and provide a largest understanding of her practice. “One interesting fact is that NFTs bring Ruby increasingly male audiences, while surpassing most of my regulars and followers were women and genderless people,” she noted.
Although she has not been tightly involved in any Web3-powered metaverses yet, and still has a long way to go and so much to learn well-nigh this visculent ecosystem, she is eager to explore its creative potential and add some new layers to her work. “It would be wondrous to create a virtual and unshut space for Ruby with the world she could live in, with everyone’s effort to participate. As I didn’t purposely set any physical space for her to be in, it would be inspiring to see that in the future.”
Next steps: Playing with AI and Algorithms
Regarding how she envisions the coming months (and years) for her other half, she is thirsty for new ways to express herself and push the boudaries of megacosm and storytelling, whether using tech tools or not. “My ultimate goal is to make her an AI prototype,“ She said surpassing concluding. “It would be uncanny to see the algorithm while Ruby comes to life and to communicate with a person who is supposed to be me, but maybe not! Apart from this, I have been working on transitioning Ruby’s current appearances into fine art. Stay tuned!”
Benoit is a French project coordinator, digital content strategist, writer, and curator based in Tokyo. He has been digging into web culture and digital art since the early aughts and sharpened his knowledge with an intensive wonk journey, including a Master's stratum in research in digital media at Sorbonne University in Paris. He has collaborated with companies, studios, and media such as MUTEK, VICE, i-D, Society for Arts and Technology, Club Media, and The Creators Project (VICE & Intel), to name a few. Through curatorial projects, research, and writing, he likes exploring issues such as networked culture, social media practices, and media archeology. He moreover enjoys talking well-nigh NFTs and ramen.
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