The digital art collection brought to life by Blakelee and Jason Pieroni, Meta Betties, is blurring the lines between art and activism.
On Spetmeber 26th, their exhibit at The Canvas 3.0 Web3 gallery founded by Devin Gilmartin and Steff Vermeesch, will feature their collectibles on Whim displays along with live in person Betties. Jason and Blakelee are also encouraging guests to dress up as their own version of Betties for the event.
“It’s sexy, definitely, but it’s rooted in postmodern feminist ideology,” explains Blakelee, an artist, performer, and dancer who modeled Bettie, her project’s titular avatar, after herself. “It’s American fetish, so there’s hi-rise jean shorts, heels, the ‘40s pin-up aesthetic, but it’s more about the message.”
“We’re drawing attention and awareness to various civil conflicts and social injustices,” adds her partner, Jason. “Her physicality manifests in 16 different personas, which are directly connected to specific issues, like climate change, women’s reproductive rights, gun safety, queer rights, Web3 regulation, and so on. It’s really a social advocacy collection.”
On digital Whim canvas displays, Meta Betties encourages fans of all races, ages, and genders to envision a post-human, post-identitarian future while addressing the challenges of the intersectional body politic. Through immersive IRL events featuring human Bettie avatars like “Classic Bettie” and “Cyborg Bettie,” Blakelee and Jason guide users to boldly engage with the core issues they care about. It’s an experience that sparks immediate action and leaves a lasting impact.
At the event, attendees had the opportunity to witness living, breathing Betties engaging in a life-size chess game and vogueing within a giant bird cage. This powerful display challenged restrictive femme binaries and dualistic thinking, provoking thought and encouraging dialogue. Users also had the chance to engage in advocacy activities at different community “Act 2 Earn” platform stations, earning rewards like raffles and merch including Betties crop tops and hoodies.
Each digital art collectible, minted on Ethereum, serves as a unique piece of art while also encouraging ongoing community engagement and commentary. It’s a dynamic and interactive experience that blurs the lines between art and activism.
“We partnered with The Giving Block, an accessible fundraising portal for mission-based initiatives,” notes Jason. “We’ve embedded the crypto wallet addresses of non profits directly into the smart contracts for each Meta Bettie persona, so that a portion of each sale is donated to the causes connected to that specific Bettie. We feel like the market has moved away from hype-based PFP collectibles devoid of mission or purpose. In contrast, our collection serves as a satirical social commentary on cultural conflicts, and provides access to tools of advocacy for our holders and on behalf of our cause partners.”
One of the most exciting features of Meta Betties is its ability to take action based on your location. When you purchase a Meta Bettie, you gain access to a token-gated community platform that directly connects you with local senators and house representatives. This platform allows you to engage with the specific issue represented by your Bettie, sending pre-written advocacy statements or crafting your own messages to your representatives. It’s a powerful way to make your voice heard in Congress and have a direct impact on the decision-making process.
“We’re interested in people who are familiar with Web3 collections, but not the flippers,” says Jason, now looking to pull initiatives like his and Blakelee’s out of Web3’s “Trough of Disillusionment” as they call it. “It’s not about the hype anymore. We have a greater responsibility now. Give me a collection that has rad art, but a meaningful mission behind it.”
“With Bettie in Web3, we have an opportunity to see her physicality disappear,” says Blakelee, making space for users who appreciate virtual and digital spaces as a means to either lean into or fade out of their IRL bodies, however, they manifest or identify on Planet Earth. Both approaches are valid. “What does postmodern feminism look like if we see her form and then the form disappears? I can’t get out of my flesh. With Web3, we won’t need that after a while.”