H E T E R O S I S
A collection of dynamic NFT’s that combine genetic algorithms with blockchain technology to facilitate the hybridisation of mutable digital flowers.
Heterosis is an unprecedented flower hybridization experience in which participants can cultivate their own bespoke animated flower.
Collectors are invited to become breeders or collaborative artists creating increasingly exotic and elaborate blooms, either for their own pleasure or as means towards predicting future value and stimulating speculation.
In collaboration with Danil Krivoruchko, produced by Snark.art and El-Gabal on the OG.art platform.
Each token functions as a seed embedded with its own algorithm or genetic code. Flower hybridisation occurs when the genetic code of a collector’s flower is combined with the genes of another. From this union an updated hybrid blossoms, adopting attributes from both parent flowers. In addition to the visible characteristics of each parent flower the new blossom may also inherit invisible recessive genes or “hidden traits” which contribute to the flower’s rarity.
View the collection at:
This animation illustrates one aspect of the breeding mechanism. Flowers can also inherit properties such as: number of petals, length of petals, curvature, edge texture, rigidity, floppiness, bloom degree etc. New species of flowers can be unlocked through selective flower breeding.
All flowers will be visible in the Greenhouse zone, a recreation of London’s National Gallery as it may look if abandoned and overgrown with vegetation; a collection of Europe’s finest artworks supplanted with new digital manifestations of beauty.
The Greenhouse is an immersive, social and persistent digital environment where collectors can adopt an avatar, meet with others and chat while perusing all Heterosis flowers in their current iteration. A single flower can be selected and its properties and value ascertained in Open Sea Marketplace.
Heterosis compares ideas of beauty and posits questions regarding where it may be found. Is it in the triumph of natural selection to create self-sustaining organic blooms or in the ability of mankind to create exceptional paintings? And is the burgeoning digital realm a potential usurper of the anachronistic tradition of oil on canvas?
Each flower has a unique title generated by AI, using ‘The Library of Babel’ a short story by Jorge Luis Borges as a lexicon to draw words from. The story about a practically infinite library preempts artificial intelligence and evokes analogies with genetic code.
In 17th century Holland a rare tulip bulb could be worth more than a painting of that same tulip. After all, that bulb could produce offsets that could be given away to friends or sold to speculators, something that can’t be said of a painting. Flowers are prehistoric, the work of either a divine creator or a product of highly rarefied natural selection. Considering the painstaking effort involved in the breeding of flowers, do they qualify as an art form?
This was understandably a debate that occupied the minds of breeders and speculators in the 17th century. In addition to their status, another burning question surrounded which flowers qualified as being the most beautiful? When does beauty become commonplace, with the desire for novelty demanding rarer and more distinguished manifestations?
Witnessing the NFT boom brings Tulip Mania and these questions to the fore. How to create desirable, novel emblems of compelling beauty that also attract speculative interest? The answer appears to mirror that of 17th century Holland; beauty is desirable until it is commonplace, then interest shifts to more rarefied images which usher in new standards.
“Here in this country people value most the flamed, winged, speckled, jagged, shredded, and the most variegated count for most, and the ones that are the most valued, are not the most beautiful or the nicest, but the ones which are the rarest to find; or which belong to one master, who can keep them in high price or worth.”
1618, Joost van Ravelingen, botanist and poet, about the tulip fashion in Holland.
The main thrust of this project is to create an artwork in a space that exists in a way not possible in any other context. The underlying online network facilitates the congregation of participants necessary to bring it to fruition.
This echoes the circulation of knowledge in 17th Century Holland where information and expertise in the areas of natural Science, art and commerce formed a crucial network in social and intellectual organisation. Tulip Mania provided a microcosm of this ‘community of information’. The National Gallery in London was a pioneer of social networking, providing a hub from which citizens could gather and share intelligence. Similarly it transpires that plants have been communicating unremittingly through underground fungi networks, conveying warnings of impending insects swarms for example. The centralised “Greenhouse” zone in Heterosis is a tentative step towards the impending transition into a world of total immersion inside the digital realm. Additionally, the National Gallery collection belongs to a culture of cross-pollination; certain paintings are the unmistakable ancestors of earlier work, whilst others bear more discreet traits of bygone paintings.
Heterosis ‘The increase in growth, size, fecundity, function, yield, or other characters in hybrids over those of their parents’.