NFT stands for non-fungible token. NFTs are unique units of data stored on blockchains, and they can be associated with digital files like photos and videos. While digital files are easily reproducible, NFTs are impossible to recreate, and thus they can serve as verified proof of ownership. One implication of this is that digital artists can sell the ownership of their artworks, and this has led to the creation of a massive marketplace for NFTs of digital art. One collection of NFTs, called “Edifice”, caught my eye because of both its beautiful designs and interesting method of creation.
“Edifice” pieces are generated with code. Algorithms randomize certain aspects of each piece, like their symmetry and color. Thus, each piece in “Edifice” is a unique creation that not even the artist, Ben Kovach, could’ve predicted. However, they do have common patterns and stylistic choices. “Edifice” is a series of 976 artworks, each representing “massive, deteriorating structures built on strange terrain”. They are meant to explore the concept of buildings being constructed and then eroded away.
A demonstrative example of an artwork in the “Edifice” collection is “Edifice #590”. It is a piece with a number of large cells and blue colors, one of my personal favorites. It was minted on November 8th, 2021, and then was sold twice, to eventually land in the hands of BuzzYatyear. The price was 3.5 ethereum– around $15,000 US dollars. And it was named “Salty Rockefeller” by BuzzYatyear. “Edifice #590” was partially chosen because I think BuzzYatyear is a typical buyer of these artworks. From his twitter, we know that he is a cryptocurrency investor and collector of NFTs. Many other pieces in the “Edifice” collection have similar buyers. It is possible that most of them see it as an investment, as evidenced by “Edifice #590” having two previous buyers and sellers. While “Edifice” artworks are beautiful, I believe they have not yet reached the general public and typical art buyers because of their high price and the obscurity of NFTs.
The artist behind the “Edifice” collection, Ben Kovach, lives in Virginia with his family and works at Mercury, a bank for startups. In 2017, he began creating generative artwork. And then with the rise of NFTs, he teamed up with Art Blocks to produce “Edifice”. Just as physical artworks have curators, digital ones now have them too. Art Blocks is a company that curates programmable generative content and mints them on the Ethereum Blockchain. Besides “Edifice”, they have a number of projects like “Fragments of an Infinite Field” by Monica Rizzoli.
Ben Kovach created a stunning collection of generative artworks in “Edifice”. It is a good example of how digital art may be made and distributed in the future, with curators like Art Blocks to manage the art and NFTs to serve as proof of ownership. However, at the moment, many buyers of the “Edifice” collection are cryptocurrency enthusiasts and view the purchase as a sort of investment. I can only hope that one day I will own a piece of the “Edifice” collection myself.