Which cartoon rocks are so dumb/cool, you ask?
Why, Ether Rocks of course! The most recent one sold for
555 ETH 888 ETH and the next lowest ask ( #27 #92) is 850 ETH as of this writing. This objectively absurd but subjectively entirely reasonable pricingi only serves to open the door for another NFT project that’s significantly more historically important, equally scarce (/100), and infinitely more intellectually satisfying (*cough* Mitch Chan’s IKB’s *cough*) and therefore ripe for a similar rip up and to the right,ii but that’s not the point of today’s article. Not that there’s a point so much as a lament! A lament, to paraphrase Tyler Cowen, of us living in a world where average is over. Y’see, there’s a reason why the image above is such a potent, viral meme. It cuts to the point, through the cruft and to the heart of the matter, the way only humour can. The point being that you don’t have to be a genius to be an, ahem, rock star.
I’m not going to pretend to propose solutions to all of the middle world’s woes on these humble pages, but I can share some other suggestions for righting nature’s wrongs from none other than South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Hint: it rhymes with Majisil.
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- Mimetic desire is desire. Monkey see, monkey do! ↩
- Of course, Sea Ham are also more highly valued by the market than Mitch’s LGGs, but that’s okay! Memes are admittedly very very valuable, arguably even moreso than intellectual rigour, but by what proportion? And how does this ratio evolve over time?
Mitchell Chan’s Digital Zone of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility (IKB) is a 2017 NFT project that would be mindblowing even if it was released today. It can be thought of as a digital homage to a famous conceptual artwork by Yves Klein. Homage is artistic tradition—Van Gogh’s beloved tributes to Hiroshige’s work were a way to honor and celebrate the connection he saw between Japanese art and Impressionism. Chan saw the striking connection between Yves Klein and NFTs and created IKB.
IKB draws on an exhibition by Yves Klein in 1958, in which patrons paid in pure gold to view empty spaces (Zones) that Yves imbued with the sensibility (but not the physical appearance) of the color blue. That an artist can “imbue” a space with their art was a radical concept in 1958, but here in 2021’s NFT Summer we are happy to let artists imbue even a digital space with value. Digital Zones understood and predicted this in 2017 and it took the rest of us four years to get it.
IKB was playing with this idea before ERC-721 even existed.IKB was playing with this idea before ERC-721 even existed.
IKB was playing with this idea before ERC-721 even existed.
In Klein’s 1958 exhibition, a collector who wished to purchase a Zone had to pay in solid gold. They were then issued a paper receipt to serve as proof of transaction. Klein also designed a ritual meant to empower the purchaser to obtain the true immaterial sense of the artwork, enabling the sensibility of the artwork to become part of the owner in a spiritual sense. During this ritual, the purchaser would burn this receipt and Klein would throw half the gold into the River Seine. There are three documented instances of this ritual being performed.
The 101 IKBs represent a fascinating extension of Klein’s ritual on-chain (including a smart contract function that will reproduce the effects of the ritual…) across 7 series, minted starting in 2017. There’s much more to this project than we can cover here–for instance, IKB’s contract is a very early instance of a bonding curve. But you can learn more about this fascinating series by reading the Blue Paper or watching this short video series.
The color of the each IKB wrapper (right) uniquely corresponds to a color on the horizon along the north coast of Prince Edward Island, three hours before civil twilight.The color of the each IKB wrapper (right) uniquely corresponds to a color on the horizon along the north coast of Prince Edward Island, three hours before civil twilight.
The color of the each IKB wrapper (right) uniquely corresponds to a color on the horizon along the north coast of Prince Edward Island, three hours before civil twilight.