With the help of her digital, alien-looking avatar, Grimes is moving forward with a social experiment that sees the pop artist untether her offline life from her digital persona.
Grimes “birthed” WarNymph this January with the launch of separate social media accounts on Twitter and Instagram. The digital avatar, which has been growing in front of fans from infancy into adulthood over the past few months, serves as another face for the Grimes brand. In theory, Grimes says WarNymph will be able to conduct photoshoots, interviews and more promotional activities that are already being consumed in the digital realm.
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“The avatar allows us to play to the strengths of digital existence rather than be a human trying to navigate a world that isn’t made for us,” Grimes told The Face in February. “For example, the digital body can age, die, respawn, change her face… There’s so much identity potential! My human self is much more limited. So there’s that simple, creative aspect.”
Today, WarNymph graces its second magazine cover on Buffalo Zine. Shot and styled by Ruby Gloom, the cover showcases yet another evolution of the digital avatar that resembles the real-life Grimes more closely than ever before.
WarNymph, who boasts an impressive 75,000 followers on Instagram, will die off to make room for a new and improved version. “She’ll start as a baby, age (she seems like she’s currently a teenager), die and come back better (as a new baby: Version 2),” Grimes told The Face. “We’ll eventually figure out how to graduate to moving images and face-tracking and stuff. A big part of her story is that she’s in the lab.”
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) January 22, 2020
Grimes also entertains the idea of WarNymph serving as a “techno-feminist” project. The singer, who announced she was pregnant with Elon Musk‘s child just weeks before the birth of WarNymph, says the avatar could help her and other career women juggle responsibilities on top of raising a family:
“Having a digital body allows me to keep working throughout the later stages of my pregnancy, and after I have my baby, so I can spend more time with them,” Grimes said. “It’s hard for me to do photoshoots and fit into clothes at the moment, but WarNymph is here in your magazine promoting my album for me, haha. So another one of its functions is like… techno-feminism or something. A lot of my friends aren’t having babies because they’re worried about their careers, and we wanted to find a way to overcome this issue.”
Grimes has already addressed criticisms that her WarNymph project reflects a sense of privileged, white feminism. The singer shot back at Jezebel in February after the publication implied that WarNymph was only made possible by her wealthy boyfriend Elon Musk:
“I have a head start on the trend because my team and I stay ahead of the curve and we worked hard to build this over the course of a year and I paid for it myself.”
Wtf? “Grimes, because she has an incredibly wealthy nerd boyfriend, has a headstart on the trend” I have a head start on the trend cuz my team and I stay ahead of the curve and we worked hard to build this over the course of a year and I paid for it myself. https://t.co/gi8o3iuPJd
— ꧁ ༒ Gℜiꪔ⃕es ༒꧂ ??? 小仙女 (@Grimezsz) February 21, 2020
The 11th issue of Buffalo Zine is available for pre-order now. Learn more here.