As the market for digital art continues to skyrocket and digital-first models of collecting and ownership gain traction, artists are beginning to experiment with the very nature of those transactions and the marks they can leave on the final products. Moving past the traditional painting of a canvas on commission or designing an installation or performance for a specific site, event, or cast of performers, some artists are creating art where the act of sale itself becomes a part of the creative process.
Many art aficionados might remember Banksy’s famous “prank” at Sotheby’s in 2018. The street art legend placed his “Girl With a Balloon” for sale at the London auction house, only for it to “self-destruct” into shredded strips in front of shocked onlookers. It was, of course, a joke on the international art world—and yet, the lucky buyer is now in possession of an undeniably unique work-cum-performance, deftly renamed “Love Is in the Bin.”
Brooklyn-based duo Danil Krivoruchko, also known by his nom de plume Myshli, and Michael Joo are inverting this move, in a way, with their new NFT project, Organic Growth: Crystal Reef (OG:CR).
Joo, known for his intricate works that combine performance, sculpture, and installation with incisive critiques of our modern economic and environmental realities, teamed up with Krivoruchko, a well-known trailblazer in digital art to create a series of fascinating algorithmic graphic works.
In and of itself, harnessing computational power to create artistic variety is nothing new, especially in the burgeoning NFT realm. Krivoruchko himself has created several such projects, most recent of which is “Ksoids,” a series of collectible computational characters in the vein of Cryptopunks and similar kitsch projects. OG:CR goes far deeper. The limited run of 10,301 Crystals “seeds.” Like physical crystals, these seeds will gradually transform into their fullest expression, their new owners will be able to see these graphical representations of geologic complexity grow before their eyes. Most importantly, though, is the way these crystals intersect with the collectors’ identities: their algorithms account for each user’s unique crypto wallet transaction history, introducing another layer of creation that is essentially separate from the artists themselves.
The sale got underway on 14 and 15 October and has already garnered massive success that has surpassed the expectations of even the artists themselves. All crystal seeds have been sold at a price of 0.10301 ETH each, resulting in total sales valued at circa 4 million dollars. The second round of transactions has already started on OpenSea, where collectors can resell the crystal seeds. Incidentally, OG:CR has reached a trending level and is currently ranked in the platform’s top 5 NFT art collections.
This fascinating new project, produced by NFT art platform Snark.art, promises to begin a new, thrilling chapter in digital art—one where buyers and collectors join in the artistic process themselves through their fearless participation in the future transformation of cultural production.