Digital technology is not only changing the way art is created but the way it is enjoyed. While blockchain technology makes it possible to immutably mint and secure ownership of digitally native art, it also allows art to become an immersive, interactive, endlessly collaborative experience between creators and collectors. This paradigm shift is exemplified by the growing popularity of dynamic NFTs, which emphasize the value of randomness and the relationship between physical and digital artifacts.
Such a multimedia, multidimensional ecosystem requires hybrid spaces to explore the intersection of physical and digital art. This is the concept behind Strata, a new kind of gallery fostering innovative synergies between art, artists and audiences. Strata’s first NFT experience, Whole Picture, integrated Chainlink VRF (Verifiable Random Function) to generate dynamic NFTs from the work of acclaimed artist Héctor Falcón.
Falcón, whose work has been displayed at paramount galleries and events such as Volta, Frieze and Art Basel, is esteemed for his eclectic, dynamic series Constructive Modular Extraction, where holes carved into each complex painting become creative portals as the canvases are intuitively layered and rearranged.
Falcón, who gives no instructions to galleries about how to display his work, has said that the best way to arrange his paintings is “whatever someone does.” This way, spectators are invited to participate in the artistic process, which theoretically never stops. Falcón’s openness is, according to Strata co-founders Jasper Degens and Barak Chamo, what makes him the ideal co-collaborator in the NFT space.
“We immediately fell in love with the work and knew there would be a dynamite way to translate Héctor’s layered canvas approach to the blockchain space,” said Degens and Chamo. “After iterating and workshopping many ideas, we created a proposal of dynamic artworks that owners would co-create during an event. Héctor loved the concept and we collectively refined it a bit more and Whole Picture was born.”
The Whole Picture experience allows participants to generate personalized, multi-layered NFTs by uniquely stacking Falcón’s canvases. Each NFT consists of four canvases of varying rarity that are unveiled one by one and can be shuffled up to five times during an on-chain art event. Chainlink VRF’s secure, auditable random number generator ensures canvas generation is completely random. Degens and Chamo agree that randomness is an essential part of artistic creation.
“Dynamic art engages the audience completely differently than static works. Interaction gives control to the user, and immerses them as an active participant and often as a co-creator. Randomness creates spontaneity and the intrigue and suspense of unexpected and unknowable outcomes. Combining and playing with these two dynamic properties leads to impactful experiences. This is only achieved when a system is built as promised – truly random and interactive – otherwise you betray the trust and cheat the user. Therefore, services like Chainlink VRF help establish this trust and create honest experiences that yield one-of-a-kind artworks.”
Whole Picture is the first project of Strata’s long-term vision to support artists and engage audiences through exciting new intersections of digital and physical art. Whereas Whole Picture combines tangible canvases to create unique digital NFTs, Strata’s next project – a digitally-native 3D artwork that will yield physical artifacts through audience participation – is taking the opposite approach.
As life and art imitate one another, Strata’s projects consider how our physical and digital identities coexist in today’s world. Degens and Chamo said the goal is to disprove the idea that physical and digital art “need to be at odds with each other” and showcase an ongoing, mutually beneficial relationship instead.
“We’re experimenting with hybrid spaces for exhibition, interactive experiences that connect physical and virtual audiences, generative artworks that are driven by real-world data (a perfect artistic use for Chainlink’s oracles) and more,” they said.
“It’s such an exciting space that we can’t stop coming up with new ideas.”