Artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s Transcendent New NFT Undertaking Invitations You to Join With an ‘Oracle That Lives on the Blockchain’

“The artwork world right now,” in Cai Guo-Qiang’s estimation, “appears fairly conservative.”  

In between the intercultural battle on the world stage, and the development of expertise on the artistic entrance, the artwork and cultural fields, within the artist’s view, haven’t correctly mirrored the chaos of the modern situation. And notably not “at a time when the world is strongly questioning the authenticity of time, actively pioneering within the digital house, and infinitely increasing our imaginative and prescient within the cosmos.” 

For Cai, confronting these points requires calling on powers and realms past our grasp—what he phrases “the unseen world.”

“The extra confusion we face, the extra we have to leverage steering from the unseen world,” he informed Artnet Information. “Such energy transcends people, localities, and totally different cultures. At this second, it’s notably essential to proceed the dialogue with the unseen world with a humble and inquiring mindset.”

Later this month, Cai will unveil one such bridge to the unknown along with his fifth NFT venture, EET, or Change with Extraterrestrials, realized in partnership with Web3 collective Kanon. The artist payments it as “an oracle that lives on the blockchain,” the chat platform welcomes all method of questions from customers the identical approach a real-life fortune-teller may, and spits out solutions in two distinct types of tokens.

An EET Fortune. Picture courtesy of Kanon.

One in every of them, referred to as Gua, is a diagram randomly generated by EET primarily based on bodily inputs by customers who’re requested to faucet a button on a display screen as they look forward to the oracle’s solutions. The opposite is dubbed the EET Fortune, which serves as a “studying” containing a title and 6 verses. There are 64 base codecs of EET Fortunes, which might be elaborated into 4,096 mixtures, with random era guaranteeing that no two readings are alike.  

Based on Cai, an EET Fortune is primarily meant to offer “a symbolic cue or steering.” But when it proves notably opaque, an A.I. assistant that’s been educated on the textual content material of EET Fortunes is at hand to assist customers interpret its that means.  

Each Gua and EET Fortunes may also be minted and encoded as animated GIFs, making EET the primary NFT venture to generate and on-chain the picture format. The mint value is 0.065ETH (about $119), although collectors who already personal the artist’s NFTs may have entry to free mints. 

An EET Fortune. Picture courtesy of Kanon.

All the course of concerned in EET takes cues and mirrors the divination tradition that Cai grew up with in his native Quanzhou, in southeastern China. He referred to the Chinese language fortune-telling apply of kau chim, whereby a seeker at a temple shakes a tube of bamboo sticks, every inscribed with a numeral, till one randomly falls out. The quantity on that stick will then be matched with a written fortune, which might be additional clarified by a monk or a priest. 

EET, as Cai put it, “restores the behavioral and psychological technique of kau chim in temples, solely this time, all of it occurs on the blockchain and the digital world.” 

That is hardly Cai’s first try to achieve the unseen world. Nonetheless impenetrable, the unknown is threaded all through his apply—from his sequence “Initiatives for Extraterrestrials” (1989–), comprising some 30 works, together with his famed gunpowder drawings, that illustrate his fixation with the cosmos; to Sky Ladder (2015), his long-gestated explosion occasion to “join the Earth to the universe.” 

Cai Guo-Qiang, Crop Circles (2012). Picture: Wyatt Conlon, courtesy The Museum of Modern Artwork, Los Angeles.

Of late, the brand new technological frontier represents as a lot an unseen world for Cai. Whether or not he’s rendering his firework spectacles in V.R. or most lately, coaching an A.I. program on his physique of labor, the artist has sought to place his artwork in dialogue with expertise. “The long run,” he stated, “is heading towards the combination of the digital and the bodily.”

“It’s all simply beginning, and I’m not in a rush to leap to a conclusion or pose a price judgment, as a result of everyone seems to be exploring,” he stated concerning the new applied sciences. “However, no less than, because the previous Chinese language saying goes, ‘lose at dawn however acquire at sundown.’ Expertise and exploration on-line will result in modifications to my artwork within the bodily world.” 

Cai Guo-Qiang, Sky Ladder (2015). Picture: Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio.

NFTs and the blockchain have been particularly fascinating for Cai. Because the Kanon staff mirrored in a press release: “As we developed EET, the questions Cai would pose to us and the route he supplied made us understand that he understood the potential depth of the medium significantly better than even we did.”

Since 2021, Cai has launched into a gentle run of blockchain initiatives—starting with Transient Eternity, commissioned by Shanghai’s Rockbund Artwork Museum—which have grown in ambition, leaning more and more into the distinctive qualities and utility of NFTs.

Take Your Daytime Fireworks (2022), created in collaboration with NFT platform TRLab. The venture supplied 7,000 firework packet tokens that collectors may “set off” at a day and time of their selecting to disclose one in every of 90 artworks, which diverse in accordance with real-world environmental circumstances. Whereas doing so, collectors bought to expertise Cai’s course of, from the planning concerned to the nervousness and anticipation that he feels earlier than setting off his personal firework shows. It made for what the artist referred to as a “stay expertise.” 

This interactive and participatory side additionally powers EET, proper right down to the artistic course of that birthed it. The venture, Cai recalled, was hashed out in Zoom conferences between his studio and the Kanon staff, working throughout time zones and geographic divides. It offered to the artist a completely new approach of working, he stated, “realizing initiatives via on-line communication with a gaggle of buddies I’ve by no means met.” 

“What’s attention-grabbing is that we’re creating an interactive work that bridges the digital and the bodily worlds whereas our communication channel and artistic strategies, which defy the bodily boundaries and geographic distance between us, are in themselves a part of the work,” he continued. “This can be a new creative methodology led to by new social kinds.” 

However whilst Cai has embraced the shifts wrought by expertise on artwork, he continues to weigh these expanded prospects. Will NFTs ever come into their very own as artwork kinds? Would possibly his religion in new applied sciences be “too bold”—or “too minuscule”?  

Requested how he sees his blockchain works enlarging his apply, he puzzled if such digital developments, “together with the so-called ‘metaverse,’” may ever “resolve the issue of artwork? Identical with the issue of creativity.” 

However, as if pulling again, he added: “Creativity shouldn’t be changing oil paint with NFTs.” 

Comply with Artnet Information on Fb:

Wish to keep forward of the artwork world? Subscribe to our e-newsletter to get the breaking information, eye-opening interviews, and incisive crucial takes that drive the dialog ahead.


Leave a Reply

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop