Field ✲ 2008 – 2023

By Harm, published about a year ago

I'm turning 42 tomorrow (only one year to go before my age is a prime number again), and I thought it would be nice to celebrate by porting and releasing a software work that I once created in 2008, which never got much attention. Besides, I have COVID so I can't invite friends over. I feel OK though.

Initially, I wrote this piece called "Field" in Actionscript: the programming language of Macromedia Flash. At the time, so much more was possible in this language in terms of animation, video and sound compared to Javascript. Adobe bought Macromedia in 2005 and shut down Flash in 2020. Even though I think they made the right call, it's a loss that they withdrew the Flash player altogether. A rich heritage of interactive online net art became instantly inaccessible.

The 2023 version of my art piece lives entirely on the Ethereum blockchain. The code that generates those animated spinners is fully contained in the smart contract. Unlike the majority of NFTs, the artwork itself is not hosted on a web server or IPFS and has no external dependencies. As long as Ethereum exists, and our computers are able to display SVG, it should be fine.

There is something ironic about porting graphics from the intuitive language that Actionscript was to the rigid unforgiving smart contract language Solidity, which was developed to support (economic) transactions.

From this artwork, I have minted 6 unique tokens. The odd token numbers repeat one kind of spinner, each with a different rotation speed. The even numbers show a range of various spinners, small and large, with many or few spokes. 2 tokens have a dark background, 2 a classic grey background, and 2 a gradient background that responds to the appearance settings of your operating system.

Spinners are shown when UX designers want to make clear that you need to wait for something. I came to realise in particular now in my early 40s, that one cannot suspend being. The separation between productive time, and time supposedly "on hold" is entirely based on my own perception and interpretation. I am free.

The first time I put spinners in a two-dimensional grid, it struck me that they become something like flowers. Or wind turbines. We find ourselves in a large open field: a field without boundaries.

First tokens will be auctioned on Zora from midnight CET (6PM EST) when it turns 8th of February.

View token overview...

OpenSea | Smart contract source code

(by the way: you can touch the spinners with your cursor, it excites them)