T:>Works has launched T:>NFT, a dedicated digital platform for non-fungible tokens (NFT) created by artists commissioned and presented by T:>Works. The first NFT collection to be minted is #Metazomia NFTs, generated by award-winning artist Brian Gothong Tan as the second commission of his T:>Works Artistic Atelier season.
With the release of these 30 unique 1/1 #Metazomia NFTs, T:>Works becomes the first performing arts company in Singapore to create and mint an NFT collection. All 30 artworks will be available for silent auction from 8th till 18th November 2022. Each piece will begin at a reserve price between $2500-$3800. Following the silent auction, the pieces will be minted in December using the Polygon blockchain.
While Ethereum is the more popular blockchain, T:>works made the decision to go with Polygon out of ethical reasons, taking the environmental impact of minting very seriously. Polygon’s Green Manifesto and its declaration of making the chain climate responsible became a deciding factor, where T:>works hopes to promote sustainability. However, this does not mean current or future NFTs will not be minted on the Ethereum blockchain, especially with the announcement in late September of its adoption of a new network, responding to the issue of environmental concerns.
The establishment of T:>NFT and the release of #Metazomia NFT collection marks T:>Works’ continuing exploration and experimentation across the physical-digital-hybrid worlds. In the last two years, T:>Works has embraced the challenges and experimented committedly with the digital. It generated several key digital initiatives beginning from scratch.
These include the transformation of Festival of Women, N.O.W. into a fully digital festival, the creation of successful hybrid productions such as The Swimming Pool Library, Tan’s first commission under the Atelier, How To Break A Window and project SALOME, the purely digital enterprises such as Curating No-Thing of the Curator’s Academy, PerForm webinar lecture series and the collaborations with Berlin’s Maxim Gorki Theatre on the Digital Young Curators Academy in 2021. The most recent endeavour is T:>Digital, a subscription-based site with access to T:>Works digital lectures and specifically edited hybrid productions.
These initiatives are testaments to the company’s enduring engagement with digitality. Locating itself within the NFT world is an extension of T:>Works bold digital presence and furthers T:>Works pioneering of thought leadership in the arts.
“By initiating T:>NFT, we continue to invest deeply into the digitalisation of T:>Works. We tripped into it during the pandemic,” says T:>Works Artistic Director, Ong Keng Sen. “We quickly decided to generate only new work with this digital advent, rather than digging into our archive of former productions. After all, the digital is the trajectory of some contemporary artists today, and the first language of many young audiences. Most of us are already experiencing on a daily basis the digital world with our smart phones. Brian’s creations are ripe and accessible for the digital world. Curious audiences who are fascinated can continue to take this plunge with us.”
Tan first conceived of the idea for #Metazomia when he encountered James C. Scott’s 2009 epic Zomia hypothesis, after an anthropological and historical study on the large massif at elevations above 300 meters stretching from the Central Highlands of Vietnam to North-eastern India. By this time, he was already fascinated by the writings and ideas of Satoshi Nakamoto and the ideals of bitcoin creation. In both, Tan saw parallels with his own interest in considering alternative ways of living, relating and governing.
“The margins and the peripherals have always been central to my creation. If we could build a different world, what would that be?” says Brian Gothong Tan. “How would we wish to imagine the air we breathe, the atmosphere we imbibe and the possibilities away from the present boundaries we have? Where can that alternative be? For me, art is one space where the imagination is free to create, and in spite of its limitations and perhaps because of it, we dare to push further and search for the alternative.”
Resisting the clichés of utopian-dystopian binary of imagined futures, Tan’s #Metazomia re-imagines what alternate worlds may be. He spins off illustrative genres such as cypherpunk, solarpunk and desertpunk. He harnesses history, literature, popular culture, film and digitality to playfully critique and comment on reality and the desires for alternatives. In doing so, Tan creates a non-state reality that reflexively looks back at proposals of better, imagined futures, free from centralised governments, in a bid to move away from the failures of such institutions.
Initiatives such as T:>NFT allow T:>Works and the artists it collaborates with to experiment with diverse mediums and forms not limited to the physical presence. The 30 NFTs are part of the larger collection of still and moving images drawn from the on-site #Metazomia production that will be staged at 72-13. The production will premiere on Sat, 31 December 2022 and ring in the new year of 2023. It will then be available for public viewing from 2nd to 20th January 2023.
Crafted in collaboration with artists such as theatremaker Kaylene Tan, Metazomia transforms 72-13 into a visual performance and hybrid installation where the audience is invited into this world as actors. From the point of entry to when they leave, audience decides their experience. There are interactive circles from which they activate the digital images to experience independently, or they could work collectively with other audience members to trigger the entire suite of images as a total experience. Bringing together ideas of cypherpunk, and marrying that with the language of chat room speech, and Brian’s own training in animation, film and theatre, Metazomia thus produces an interactive cinematic experience, a new art genre for a future world.
Metazomia NFT has been launched on T:>NFT with a silent auction from 8th to 18th November 2022. Find out more about #Metazomia and the featured NFTs here
Metazomia will hold a Gala Opening Fundraiser & New Year Countdown Party at 72-13, from 31st Dec 2022, 11pm till 1st Jan 2023, 1am, with tickets at S$200 (includes an open edition signed #Metazomia print, plus champagne and light bites).
Otherwise, it will also run from 2nd January to 20th January 2023, 2pm-10pm (2 Jan, Fri till Sun), and 5pm-10pm (Tue till Thu) (Closed on 9 & 16 Jan). Tickets available here
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