Generative art. Swirling gradients with radial symmetry.


Generative art comparitive experiment, from web1 to web3.

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If you save a seed, the animation and final composition will be the same.

Click art for debug view
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Off-chain seed creators: (4/7)

  1. Untitled 001Nicole Aptekar
  2. Ethereal AcidNadieh Bremer
  3. The nursery of kindnessFederico Tobon – read: A list of contradictory justifications for the pursuit of weirdness
  4. RiprapRiley Jones
  5. ...
  6. ...
  7. ...

These links will remain as long as I keep my domain registration up. The iframe's URL will stay online as long as an IPFS user pins it.


This reply chain on Twitter can be the source of truth there. I also posted a link to an IG story, that's new. (2021 and IG finally learned <a href=.... 🙄)

Because these platforms limit the kinds of media that I can post, every screenshot or video that I post there has a much bigger filesize than the source art. The 12kb of HTML source contains every frame of every possible animation. A 2mb PNG posted on Twitter's server is 2000x the data, but (~infinitely) less infomation.


On-chain collection on fxhash. (18/256)

Limited edition "behind the scenes" version. (16/16, see all mints on one screen.)

Mint a random seed on fxhash (Tezos)

I'm going to talk about NFTs and web3 smart contracts without talking about them directly.

There's a site for creative code experiments. You can buy some currency, trade it for other currency, and then pay a service to write that you own a bookmark to a seed for a particular artwork. The seed will make the same art every time, which should be unique from the other versions. The artist can limit the number of seeds, and set the price. It seems like a normal edition size is 255, at ~$5 each.

The seed is the database ID of the transaction, that can't change, so if you don't like the seed that you get, it's too bad. There are "features" that come with different probability. This can make some variations more rare than others. 🎰

If I buy an artwork seed, I can later list it for sale. The artist can specify what percent they get of those secondary sales. (Is that a percent of profit over the original price? I'm not sure.)

That's the basic idea.

Things that I like about this

Things that are not so great

... the Ethereum Virtual Machine, humming heart of Web3, is a computer that charges you many dollars to execute a very small program very slowly. It does so in an environment with special properties, and in some cases, those properties are worth the expense. In others … it’s like running your website on a TRS-80 with a coin slot.

Robin Sloan's take

I did get that coin-slot vibe with Tezos as well. It's cheaper and more efficient than Eth, but doing basic stuff like confirming my Twitter involved signing a message, posting it, doing some contract, which had cost "0" but ended up about $2.50 with processing and storage fees. (Note: a day later, these verified profile links are not showing up, but I see the transaction in the wallet.) 🤔

On one hand, it's not ad-based. And I guess my profile confirmation lives in Tezos forever. On the other hand... it would seem more fun if I could trade work with everybody, and not have the contract/chain bleeding value with every swap. Post-scarcity not faux-scarcity? I wrote a blog post in 2012 about this called Friction-Free Post-Scarcity Creative Economies.

End of day 1

One question that Robin Sloan asks: would these tradeoffs be worth it, if there were not a bunch of money sloshing around? Would I spend $5 on a trading card of a favorite generative artist, without expecting a return on investment? Maybe.

But for now I'm having way more fun poking friends and asking them find and name cool seeds. web1 wins!

Ten days later

Still ambivalent about the web3 side, partially because my work didn't catch on. The invisible hand of the market said "don't quit your day job." (I really like my day job.)

I snuck in some updates to the generative code framed in this page. I wanted to make a drop-in replacement that would keep the sprit of the seeds already found, but enhance them a bit.

comments → twitter

mint on fxhash