W3CR Synthesis – Week 8

ForefrontW3CRAug 15, 2022

“I never thought that building in public as essential to my creative journey, but now I see it as a good sanity check. It helps me consider, you know, am I in touch with the world?” Nico shared during the final open studio. Despite the peek into the typically hermit-like artist life this medium offered, though, it was still difficult to initiate a more collaborative, democratic creative process on a wider scale. The future of collaboration in the new creator economy revolves as much around community governance as it does around strong ideas. “If I stood in the middle of Times Square and said ‘let’s create something,’ nothing would ever happen,” Nico said. “There has to be a vision that other people can understand and rally around, and a structure for people to contribute.” The lack of discipline on the part of individual creators, D3MO added, made it hard to collaborate together– he creates on his own most of the time because he can control his own situation that way. When a group of musicians jams together in jazz-like levels of euphoric harmony, Kabuki observed, “there has to be a common language, and each musician has to be able to listen selflessly to what is coming out of the collective.” As we look to the future of the residency, we’re thinking of ways we can alter its structure to incentivize playing in multiplayer mode with members of our community.

The final week of the web3 creator residency brought us completed generative NFT ready to be minted, a plan to launch a DAO for ecological stewardship, and an artist with a stronger sense of his own identity. It symbolized the end of a cycle and the birth of several new ones, both for the creators as artists and the residency itself as a way of driving the creator economy forward.

Nico: gaming as a medium for building our collective future

When considering her project’s future, Nico is looking beyond Agartha as a singular community. Agartha is but one iteration of an expansive concept. In her first studio session of the week, Nico dug into biomes– creating infinite parameters of a specific terrain. She’s building a biome generator in the game so the community is antifragile– that is, able to withstand battering in multiple environments. “We need to learn from environments and adapt to them… we don’t want to kill all the humans so nature can have fun.”

In her view, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a poor framework for understanding how to create human flourishing in such conditions. Agartha’s goal is to help create an emotionally generative lifestyle where communities take care of each other. The cult classic historical roleplay game Civilization is her inspiration for this: incidentally, the game format makes Civilization great for learning history. Agartha has a similar goal to build an alternative timeline of civilization through the lens of solarpunk, an art movement and genre of science fiction dedicated to techno-optimism: imagining a future where technology is used ethically to improve human flourishing instead of extraction (as depicted in many cyberpunk works).

Agartha is designed to be launched as a creative collective, not just a game. She plans to found it as a DAO with a financial structure similar to a worker co-op. As she explained in the pitch deck shared during the last session, our society is faced by the 3E’s for crises– economic, environmental, and existential. The only way forward is to create a regenerative culture that advocates for practical solutions. That culture itself is an important point of union for people to get on board with the vision. But in order to break through the apathy that clouds common thought today, a more immersive form of worldbuilding is needed. That’s why Agartha the game precedes Agartha the city on Nico’s roadmap. With the game getting close to completion and the project launching on Juicebox, a protocol for friend groups and communities to crowdfund projects, though, the bridge between the virtual and physical is getting closer to being crossed.

Kabuki: final touches

Kabuki’s two events this week put the final details on his generative project. He took us through his final mapping in cables, the process of testing ranges from geometry to object shapes that allow for randomization. “We’re dealing with quaternions here,” he said as he dove into the art of rotating objects with four points. His ultimate goal? Artistic longevity: “It's a massive accomplishment if we can create a piece that stands the test of time.” Each of the painstaking details of his collection– from the wavetable synth which combined three dedicated sound sources to create a dynamic pitch over time, to the noise textures overlapping to create a dynamic visual– is dedicated to that goal.

In summarizing the last four weeks of his residency, what stood out most is how his meditative creative process– characterized by an intense devotion to self-imposed guidelines, rules and detail– led to the successful completion of his collection, and an intensity which makes itself apparent in his final work. During the W3CR festival, he’ll mint his piece live, a moment of catharsis and release for artwork so painstakingly created.

D3MO: coming full circle

Cyclic Process and All in all were both explorations of how the cycles D3MO explored in his art helped him process patterns he needed to overcome in his own life. Connecting to Nico’s exploration of the topic, D3MO also devoted one of his studio events, cyclic processes, to exploring how each of the biomes of this universe are interconnected.

“There’s so much in our world that we don’t pay attention to,” he said when discussing the deep sea, one of the three biomes he’s completed for his collection so far. Looking for and respecting advanced mechanisms in patterns in nature is key to living harmoniously, but is something people have forgotten. Playing into these rhythms, there is a potent energy created by our relationships with each other that was respected by the ancients– such as in Egypt, where orgonite was created by couples meditating with each other– but also forgotten in modern life (even if remembered intuitively). But he’s hopeful tapping into that knowledge again can turn things around, and sees his artistic development as intertwined with this deeper knowing. He wants to not only complete projects such as his jewelry collection which help him complete the cycles of his past– in this case, reconnecting with his father, who was a jeweler– but also combine this ancient knowing with the technology of the future– in particular, studying physics so he can create movements he currently doesn’t know how to emulate.

D3MO is a self taught artist. To learn, he welcomes errors– his work is not perfect, but he doesn’t intend it to be. After all, nature itself is perfect in its raw, organic form. Through the residency experience, he shared that he was able to come out of his shell and acquire the confidence to build in public. “I learned to cope in my life with things that happen. It’s natural for things to end, and it's interesting how being raised by humans with fear, like death, ending cycles. We’ve been raised that way– at least for me– to have a fear of this, and to see ending things as a bad thing.” But he began to realize that things don’t end spiritually if you’re connected to the moment– the process of constant transformation takes us into new cycles, which take energy from previous ones and complete the cyclic process. He plans to transmute his residency experience into deeper connections and energy that increase his confidence as an artist.

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