(still an article in progress - will be complete by the time the show opens at Unit London on Wednesday August 9th, 2023)
(ecologías is my contribution to the show "Unbound - Ecology in the Age of Machines" at Unit London, August 2023, consisting of 3 long form projects released on the Tezos Blockchain and 2 1/1 unbound generators released on the Ethereum blockchain, which are linked to the Tezos pieces).
ecologías is a work that reflects about the need for diversity and balance in any system. We know ecology as the relationship between species and their environment, a concept that is of paramount importance to our survival both as species and as individual beings. As humans, we have approached the subject from what we originally know: what we could call "natural" species in a "natural" environment. Not surprisingly: our current habitat faces serious challenges due to the loss of the balance that we inhabited for thousands of years. Yet it seems that large parts of our human society have trouble understanding their impact on the system they form part of. The emergence of new synthetic species gives the question some new meaning and new angles. As we witness the development of all sorts of artificial entities that will develop in ways we can't possibly understand (owing to how their version of a consciousness will take shape, probably related to their configurations and the allowances that these bring about - I wrote about these topics in this article and this other article some time ago), it becomes necessary to understand which are the new ecologies and how do we reassess our role within them. These artificial entities will bring, therefore, unseen semantics to the term diversity, as their modes of "intelligence" might be modes we can't understand - but we will have to find ways to establish relationships with them.
Sometimes it's useful to adopt a metaphor to reflect on a given topic. This work, ecologías, explores the theme of ecologies through different angles. It creates an ecology of pieces: there are 3 different projects that share some elements released on the fxhash platform on Tezos (two of them of a large edition size, one of them much shorter), and there are 2 pieces minted under my own contract on Ethereum (both being unique pieces). The Ethereum pieces read data from the Tezos pieces and react accordingly, establishing a metaphor for a cross-blockchain ecology. The pieces read data from an API on the environment and climate, establishing an ecology with other entities on the digital plane of existence. Finally, the two Ethereum pieces employ different techniques: one of them is a pure code-based generative system, unbound (that is, it is the generator itself, not a single or collection of outputs); the other employs AI / stable diffusion using 4 models trained by the artist: one of them, a study of human nude where the artist photographed himself; two of them trained on artist's previous projects - Contrapuntos released on FxHash and Entretiempos released as part of ArtBlocks Curated; and a third one trained on the shared element present in all the generators created for ecologías. Using AI techniques to transform the human body into a mixture of human and generative is yet another metaphor for a new stage in the ecology that we have studied so far. Artificial species are already sharing our time and space, and their presence will probably be more notable into the future. Despite their digital origin, artificial intelligences are bound to the same exact considerations about nature, ecosystems, animal habitats, natural resources etc., since they still rely on the conditions that this planet has to offer to thrive. Thus, they too will need to understand the importance of diversity and balance.
The two Ethereum pieces include one signed physical piece, and will allow the collectors to order signed physicals for up to 3 more outputs of each.
Diversity and balance are the key elements that this piece wants to reflect upon. A diversity of techniques, a diversity of blockchains, a diversity of price points, edition sizes. A diversity of media. Diversity cannot occur without balance. We are undergoing a loss of balance in global temperatures, in biodiversity, in social justice. We see time and again irate voices that ultimately create the fractures of balance that our lives are so much threatened by. In this piece, if the communication between blockchains is broken (an API that disappears, no internet connection, etc.), the pieces will become unstable. If the connection to the environment data is broken, the pieces will become unstable. There is no possible liveable world without the interactions that make it up. It took a long time for the random processes of nature to create the equilibriums that we enjoy today. We should do our part in preserving them and in creating the new balances that our times require.