What does your crypto wallet say about you? Artist Ian Cheng Creates a Series of Algorithm-Based NFT Portraits
In August, American artist Ian Cheng will explore the depths of metaverse psychology, combining generative art with blockchain technology for a new series of NFT portraits. “3FACE,” as Cheng calls the project, is based on an algorithm that generates abstract portraits of a buyer’s online personality using data from their public cryptocurrency wallet.
Cheng produced “3FACE” in collaboration with Christopher Y. Lew, former curator of the Whitney and MoMA PS1, now artistic director of the NFT Outland platform, which will host the new works. The new company raised $5 million in seed capital last month.
No illustrative images have yet been released, but Cheng has offered a concept sketch. Three layers of consciousness will create each unique digital portrait using an artist’s design personality model based on three core forces: Posture, Nurture and Nature.
Each of these elements is further refined into four characterizations – Nature, for example, features Idealist, Abstractor, Artisan, and Guardian categories – determined by a user’s crypto spending data.
“The transaction history of each wallet is publicly available on the Ethereum blockchain thanks to the blockchain’s intrinsic design,” Cheng said. “We look at factors such as willingness to spend on gas [cryptocurrency transaction fees]balancing volatility, interaction with decentralized exchanges, hold/sell patterns, NFT diversity index, and token holdings.
Posture is the most superficial facet of the portrait. It’s immediate, changeable, and determined in Cheng’s project by degrees of change over time. Two perpendicular axes delineate the classifications into which each customer falls: happy, growing, resentful or monstrous.
“A ‘resentful’ personality posture may show a sour expression,” the statement read. “A ‘monstrous’ personality posture may show an energetic form that has expanded chaotically to overwhelm the entire composition.”
“3FACE is about looking at a person’s personality from an energy perspective – how a person deploys their psychic energy, whether they let it go wild, inhibit it, or find a balance,” Cheng said. The artist uses “procedural generative computer processes to compose, distort and integrate hand-drawn elements”. Each layer will intertwine into the unique tangle of each abstract portrait.
“Stylistically,” Cheng continued, “I try to wield my drawing style and computational transformation toolset in a way where you can’t tell where the hand stops and the creative coding begins. , and you just feel the specific energy that goes through the psychological parts of a person.
Each portrait can be updated with a modified behavior, like a real mood ring. “Maybe some 3FACE holders will like to play with our personality model by transferring the NFT to different wallets or changing their wallet behavior, in order to discover more of the latent space of the model and the generator of works of art,” Cheng mused.
Cheng views NFTs as digital objects that people collect to communicate unspoken truths. “We already use these non-verbal aesthetic means to distill our identity and make it readable to others we want to attract or repel,” Cheng said. “It’s not just a part of human nature, it’s an essential step in the psychic development of a person, especially young people for whom cultural objects are a scaffolding to articulate.”
He compares the3FACE” portraits to an astrological sign or a Meyers-Briggs personality type. “It’s a way of relating to others based on psychological compatibility, rather than lower-resolution signifiers like taste, appearance, or status.”
Lew brought Cheng on board for his first exclusive project with Outland. “I’ve known Ian for a decade now and have followed his work since he started exhibiting in New York,” he said. “When I started at Outland, he was one of the first artists I contacted because I had a feeling he would have a completely different perspective on NFTs than what’s been done up until now. now.”
The project draws on Cheng’s interest in the agency of viewing, a practice the artist describes as “Worlding” and new technologies such as artificial intelligence. “Especially as we enter a new era, understanding yourself and integrating more parts of yourself is a big factor in your ability to navigate the changing tides,” Cheng said.
“3FACE aims to be a fun portal to make you think about your personality. Or rather the sub-personalities that together make you up,” the artist added. “Which parts are immutable? Which parts can you rewrite?”
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