Titled Floating World, the series will be previewed at Pace’s newly expanded arts complex in Seoul during the first edition of Frieze Seoul.
Pace Verso, the web3 hub of Pace Gallery, and Art Blocks, the leading platform for generative art, are pleased to detail the second NFT project from their multifaceted partnership encompassing NFT releases, exhibitions, and community programming. Through this collaboration, which was established earlier this year, Pace Verso and Art Blocks will present the first NFT project by the Tokyo and London-based artist duo A.A. Murakami. Titled Floating World, the NFT series, which serves as an ode to primordial life on Earth, will launch on September 14 at 7 a.m. PDT / 10 a.m. EDT / 11 p.m. KST and be available for purchase on artblocks.io.
The first component of a multidisciplinary project by A.A. Murakami, Floating World comprises 250 unique NFTs, each depicting one of three animated scenes chronicling the origins of life on Earth: a single microbial bubble that may split in two; clusters of self-organizing bubbles that represent the growth of multicellular life; and a single bubble situated on the horizon, signifying the formation of the Earth’s biosphere. Inspired by the Miller-Urey experiment of 1953, which simulated conditions of the early Earth to explore how life first formed in the primordial oceans through self-organizing bubbles, the Floating World NFTs possess tranquil, meditative, hypnotic qualities often associated with minimalist painting and the Light and Space movement. Bubbles have been an enduring source of inspiration for A.A. Murakami, whose seminal work New Spring (2017) is an interactive, multi-sensory installation that produces mist-filled blossoms.
The formal dynamism of Floating World, which explores the kinetic possibilities of semi-abstracted bubbles, belies the project’s technical complexity and its wide range of generative effects. Opacities and diffusions of color vary among the NFTs, as do the shapes and positions of the bubbles. Clear bubbles depicted against gradation backgrounds feature refractions of light and color. Some of the NFTs are stereoscopic, allowing viewers to have a three-dimensional experience and immersing them in a world of buoyant, ethereal bubbles.
A.A. Murakami will participate in AMA discussions on Pace Verso’s Discord on September 6 at 8 p.m. EDT and Art Blocks will host a 15-minute artist talk on Twitter Spaces directly before the release on September 14 at 9:45 a.m. EDT, marking the launch of the project. Pace Verso will preview Floating World at its recently expanded Seoul arts complex during the inaugural edition of Frieze Seoul in September. This special screen-based presentation will offer the opportunity to experience sample outputs before the project’s official release.
A.A. Murakami is known for creating immersive, sensorial installations as part of a long-standing exploration of natural phenomena and systems. With these concerns at the center of the duo’s practice, A.A. Murakami has pioneered the development of “ephemeral tech,” or technology that is experienced not through standard interfaces like screens, but through ethereal and shifting matter, facilitating fleeting but deeply meaningful in-person experiences. With the multifaceted Floating World series, the duo aims to further explore this concept through what it has termed the “mataverse,” a space between the physical and digital worlds. Through future Floating World projects, A.A. Murakami will investigate the possibilities of art that lives on the blockchain and engages all the viewers’ senses in immersive and tactile physical environments.
Floating World is realized by Art Blocks and Pace Verso in conjunction with Digital Practice, an artist-focused web3 creative agency that worked in close concert with A.A. Murakami on project conceptualization, art direction, and development. More information about the project can be found at artblocks.io.
The first NFT project to be released as part of the partnership between Pace Verso and Art Blocks was Petro National, a series of unique, generative works focusing on contemporary issues of oil consumption, by artist John Gerrard. Petro National NFTs feature the outlines of different countries and regions, which are represented as glistening patches of gasoline on the world ocean. Engaging the potential of temporal and spatial media online through game engine technology, Petro National examines the global impact of burning 100 million barrels of oil per day and the ways that energy consumption has become a signifier of political power, explicitly addressing the disparity in oil consumption between the global north and south.
A.A. Murakami is a Tokyo and London-based artist duo founded in 2011 by Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves. Their unique sensory installations are an ongoing series of works, which follows the tradition of artists emulating nature. In the same way ancient civilizations made structures to chart the passage of the sun or early cave paintings to depict the natural world, A.A. Murakami pursues an innate human desire to use art to connect with and revere the natural systems on which our existence depends. They pioneer in “ephemeral tech,” which explores this intrinsic driver of creation using technology to evoke both primordial origins and future worlds.
Notable projects include Infinity Blue (2018), a monumental breathing sculpture that pays homage to one of the world’s smallest but most important organisms, cyanobacteria; a permanent installation at the Eden Project in Cornwall; and New Spring (2017), a tree-like structure that emits scented mist bubbles. The artists’ work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; and M+, Hong Kong.
Art Blocks is in service of bringing the most compelling examples of contemporary generative art to life. Art Blocks unites artists, blockchain technology, and collectors in a destination dedicated to groundbreaking work and remarkable experiences.
Pace Verso is Pace Gallery’s hub for web3 projects, launched in 2021 under the leadership of Pace President and CEO Marc Glimcher. Pace Verso works closely with artists within and beyond the gallery’s program to incubate, develop, and realize their web3 projects, operating an NFT platform on the Ethereum blockchain at www.pacegallery.com/paceverso. In addition to releasing independent projects, Pace Verso frequently collaborates with leading web3 platforms to share artists’ work with wide audiences. In 2022, Pace Verso established a multifaceted partnership with Art Blocks, the leading generative art platform, encompassing boundary-pushing generative NFT releases by Pace’s artists as well as crypto-native artists, exhibitions, and community programming. In its first year, Pace Verso—which reflects the gallery’s longtime and ongoing support of innovative artists who have cultivated advanced studio practices engaged with boundary-pushing technologies—has presented NFT projects by Jeff Koons, Zhang Huan, Glenn Kaino, DRIFT, Lucas Samaras, and other artists. Pace Verso has also grown a robust following on its dedicated Discord server, directly engaging web3 communities through discussions with artists and leaders in the crypto space.
Digital Practice is an art-focused web3 agency, supporting artists and estates in expanding their oeuvres and preserving their legacies through the translation of authentic artistic practices to the blockchain. Their expertise is in smart contract development, creative coding, generative art, and incorporating digital art into an artist’s more traditional or physical practice. For more information, visit www.digitalpractice.art.
In light of the activity surrounding the upcoming Merge, Art Blocks and Pace Verso are moving the release of A.A. Murakami’s Floating World to another date and time, to be announced. More information coming soon.