Editor’s Note – That’s So Meta

A Collision of the Past and Present

I was recently reminded of something my mother would often say: “Keep up or get left behind.” Truer words were never spoken, especially relating to the intersection of the “old” versus the “new” in the emerging digital world we are all being thrust into. Facebook and others have even placed a stake in the future with the metaverse continuum they are building to prepare for the “new world.” Bitcoins, cryptographic assets, NFTs (non-fungible tokens), digital blockchains, and other cryptocurrencies are embedded in our everyday colloquium. It appears as if this evolution happened overnight for many of us, but it’s been brewing behind the scenes for years thanks to digital pioneers who forecasted that the new world would exist virtually almost as much as it does physically. I will even dare to say some believe the digital universe could overtake the physical one as we know it. This paradigm shift makes the most futuristic Star Trek episode seem benign in its outlandish musings of what life could look like in a place where no man has gone before.

The informational and technological highways and byways swirl around us like a cyclone. Meanwhile, the ways things have been are still here but seem to fade minute by minute. The past and present coexist to some degree, but we are clearly saying goodbye to things of yore while embracing what’s next. As they say, time marches on, whether you like it or not.

In Addie Strickland’s thoughtful cover feature, “Techno-Art Is Here: A Combustible Fusion,” she provides insight into the emerging digital world from the perspective of artists and photographers. Our cover is a creation of Brooklyn-based multimedia artist and illustrator Charles Bentley, who has captured a global audience online. His work often features high-fashion models intertwined with explosions of flowers, branches, exotic animals, and wildlife scenes, creating a riveting hybrid of the natural and digital spheres.

Bentley’s cover image is called Caroline, for the pictured muse and model Caroline Lossberg (@carolinelossberg on Instagram). His predominant subject matter is fashion-inspired featuring haute couture and luxury brands. One of his first digital pieces, part of his Chanel No. 5 series, was featured on our “Au revoir!” page in July 2019, where he merged the famous perfume bottle with a tiger and exotic flora. The talented artist’s entrée into the global art scene has since evolved rapidly. This issue’s feature explores how he is deeply rooted in the interaction of art and its viewer through technology, particularly NFTs, and how he seeks to harness that connection to create unique experiences for his audience.

Even with all the virtual life blossoming around us, we still exist at a crossroads of digital and physical. I am so happy about one example of real life happening: a recent company trip to NYC to see our August cover gentleman, Harry Styles, perform for a packed house at Madison Square Garden as part of his Love On Tour. While we participated in a very old-fashioned gathering—a live concert where “likes” were replaced by wild screams of ecstasy from ardent fans (mostly women under thirty)—I could not overlook how social media fosters a strong connection between entertainers and their audiences daily. Still, there’s no comparing that to seeing Harry in the flesh doing what he does best—making so many people feel loved and comfortable in their own skin. He performs on stage effortlessly, with showmanship akin to megastars past, but he does so much more; he nurtures and loves everyone who has the pleasure of being part of Harry’s House, as his latest album is titled. Kindness needs to be felt, and human connection is still at the heart of humanity. It was a breath of fresh air to experience that firsthand and see that the next generation believes it, too.

To Love and Life!

VIE Magazine Editor In Chief, Lisa Marie Burwell Signature

—Lisa Marie


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