Zach Verdin is an artist interested in revealing and reshaping the forces that drive culture in America. Using digital materiality he attempts to connect to the humanity within cultural phenomena through the production of networks, media, online cultural spaces, and alternative marketplaces. Leveraging the knowledge and perspective gained from years of building online tools and communities in a culture that values growth and profit above all other metrics, he seeks to overwrite the market driven dogma that he has seen define the organizational priorities of both for-profit companies and non-profit organizations.
Currently his studio work centers on de-industrialization: its people, its places, and the flow of information, ideas, products, and politics that are created as a result of the shifting of power towards knowledge based economies. His studio practice with Alicia Serrani, 3RD, is building commercially viable artifacts that are inspired by investigations into the exploitative nature of oligopolistic corporations, areas of dissonance and convergence in the culture wars, and a belief that studying our history and paying attention to the wisdom and knowledge of overlooked persons and communities in our present can yield solutions for our future far beyond the potential of any new technology.
In addition to 3RD, he is the Head of Strategic Programs at the Knowledge Futures Group, an initiative originally out of MIT that is building public digital infrastructure to increase capacity for collective understanding. Prior to 3RD and the KFG, his work focused on the impact of information warfare—on society, geopolitical groups, countries, Fortune 100 companies, and Presidential campaigns. He has supported rural civil society groups in their efforts to counter propaganda and disinformation, authored a report that identified coordinated attempts to divide the black community in the US for the current Vice-President, and co-authored a report exposing an extensive network of Twitter accounts that were coordinating to influence the conversation about voter fraud leading up to the 2018 midterm elections. He has worked both domestically and internationally on matters of propaganda and disinformation, and was part of a coalition of technologists and nonpartisan political operatives who volunteered to protect the Special Counsel investigation of former President Trump.
He was also a cofounder of NewHive, which was a multimedia publishing platform and community for internet art that at its peak was used by over 11 million people around the world. He is most proud of the artists NewHive supported during that time, and the role the company played in championing internet-based art at a time when it was still marginalized by the institutional art world.
His work has been featured in the New York Times, Bloomberg, Buzzfeed, Fast Company, The Verge, Rolling Stone, and a QAnon drop from Q accusing him of being part of the Silicon Valley Illuminati.