My face will never be seen

By Federica Burelli

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In a world obsessed with fame, where the individual often takes the stage, there is a clandestine and unconventional collective known as Unidentified Minds. This mysterious and enigmatic group has been quietly weaving its creative tapestry in the shadows, away from the spotlight’s glare. We had the opportunity to chat with the mind behind this project about the origins of this intriguing and controversial venture.

“At no point will the exact locations be disclosed, nor will the names or personal information of individuals collaborating with Unidentified Minds be revealed to the outside world. My face will never be seen, keeping with valuing the group over the individual.” These were some of the current leader’s words when we asked them to provide more details about the project’s origin. But don’t worry; we still obtained some exciting information from our chat. Here’s what we are allowed to share with you.

“It all began in a town in the northern part of a peninsula, where Basque is spoken. We are people born around 1997 from broken yet humble and hardworking families. At 14, we started spending time together on the streets, forming a graffiti crew. We painted, listened to Cheb Ruben, smoked marijuana, and hustled to cover expenses and gather some funds for paint.” They were kids with a negative perspective on life, seeking the loving family they never had, without enthusiasm or hope. They delved into other worlds to escape from this one, giving rise to Unidentified Minds out of necessity, not whim.

The collective gathered in urban environments and attended concerts and rap battles, where they got to know graffiti artists, punks, old-school musicians, and other struggling artists. But in 2013, things started to change. “We started painting the first clothing items and releasing music on YouTube under anonymous names like ‘bajo cero estudios,’ among others. In the next three years, we released clothing, created music and videos, and held some concerts/parties as a collective under the Unidentified Minds name. During this period, we gained knowledge and skills in diverse areas, leading to increased projects and collaborations, bringing together more designers, musicians, and tailors.”

Despite the hard work the young creatives put into their project, in 2016, what was recognized as a collective started to dissolve, and from that moment, everything changed significantly. Still, the heart of their leader stayed the same. “What we usually describe as ‘contacts’ can also turn into amazing and meaningful ‘friendships’ when the understanding or ‘connection’ between individuals interested in creating and sharing is felt. Each person brings a skill to the table with the clarity and certainty that others will do the same.

The network of contacts comprises individuals knowledgeable in graphic design, marketing, various printing techniques, music engineering, production and audiovisual composition, animation, 3D modelling, jewellery…” Unidentified Minds’s leader kept proving how much he values his relationships by explaining how it’s easier to accomplish anything when you have talented and passionate people on board, mentioning how growing together is easier than growing individually. We gathered as much information as we could, but the origins of their intriguing logo remain a mystery. However, it will surely stay imprinted in our minds, as numerous stickers have emerged in the city.

“One day, a person in Maastricht City, Netherlands, saw a sticker and posted a photo on Instagram, mentioning the account and the location. At that moment, a domino effect occurred, and more people began posting photos of the stickers where they spotted them. That’s how I once jokingly called the ‘black plague’ began. The global spread of the stickers would resemble the propagation of a virus. In 2021, a batch of QR code stickers was made that led you to this video. Some people who found the stickers left the location in the video’s comments.”

But can independent artists who don’t have a human presence online and don’t show their faces at events make a living out of it while supporting their struggling community? “Unidentified Minds creates out of necessity, not pursuing economic profit as the primary goal, but one cannot live on thin air. Mose projects are undertaken for the simple act of creation, with the primary objective not being profit-oriented. However, we also organize events to fund other projects. A direct example would be the case of Public Pressure; what we could generate thanks to the audience that values what we do and collaborates by purchasing a music track has been spent on our project. In that scenario, we would invest the earnings in improving the musical equipment, such as speakers, sound cards, microphones, etc.

Everything we generate is dedicated to growth and enhancing the conditions that, in turn, will improve the outcomes.” We can safely say that Unidentified Minds does not seek to profit in the first instance and doesn’t conform to trends or any forced deal to make money. They want to maintain the essence of their creations so that they retain their “purity” and are not altered or modified by the pressure of becoming a product. Their focus is on preserving the artistic essence. We can’t wait to see what they will come up with next.” 

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