May 2024   

“there are two strains of *nft art* emerging - one is an extension of postinternet as the production of unique images using the legder as means of distribution. The other strain is creating experiments with the material (code) and structure of the chain itself. Image vs Process” - @brachlandberlin

Constant grew from a few ideas; one was a return to the topic of symmetry, explored in Token Hash among others, and the idea for a new mechanic of using wallet address as seeds for a generative artwork.

My first explorations stemmed from Natural Static, mirroring random pixels to reveal the  inherent lack of randomness in their distribution.

These tests were interesting at scale, but one thing I wanted to bring to Constant from my previous online work was an understanding of context. Most viewers will see the work as a thumbnail; where density does not translate well.  

I reduced the grid of pixels to a line traced through random points, drawing a line through the set, and then imperfectly mirrored these points to create asymmetry. I was reminded of my choreographic work, how working with two dancers becomes so much more relationally charged than working with more.

I also explored pixel-like forms, with some Harm van den Dorpel-esque imperfect symmetry studies, but these felt like territory I had explored before, with Proof of Work and Natural Static.

Working with rectangles and rotation, a clear  relational dynamic became visible; who takes more space, who is leaning on who, where is the connection? I also liked how the rotation broke the cartesian grid  of so much generative work, and how its simplicity resisted the tendency to complexity in digital art.

Throughout my practice, the visual content of a work has not been my primary interest. What excites me more is the creation of a protocol that enables connection, or shapes experience.

One of my first works, Shadowing, is a good example of this. The system captures the movements of people under a streetlamp, and plays them back with a delay. The visual of silhouettes is in service of the recognition of oneself and others, and the greatest joy I received from the project was not creating the visual language of it but was in watching people play under the lamp.

My favourite works from the NFT canon are not those that make pretty pictures with code; they are those that use the affordances of the blockchain to create propositions with pleasing tension; Stevie P’s Money Making Opportunity, or Rhea Myers Proof of Existence come to mind.

In a recent inteview in Outland, Myers stated that the point of her work is to raise the negative; claiming that a hash on the blockchain is proof of existence immediately raises objections.

“The objections are the point. That’s the point of the artwork—this doesn’t work. Let’s think about why not.“  Outland, 2024

Constant works in a similar way - wallet addresses are not equivalent to their owners complex and rich personalities, and blockchain transactions are not equivalent to real connection. 

But in creating a work that shifts each time it changes changes hands echoes the fragility of our real rich relationships, and reminds us that behind each blockchain address is you and me.

Constant opens May 29 at 1pm EST on