Why unsigs? Why unsig art?

Unsig art is more than just pretty colours. It’s more important than a cartoon animal that makes a nice profile picture. Why is that?

This past weekend saw the CNFT Workshop: an international virtual gathering of people with an interest in the emerging CNFT space. Conceived of and organised by a member of the community (https://twitter.com/IbisNft), it demonstrated the high level of personal engagement many are feeling. This engagement seems far more significant than you would assume from simply pretty jpegs or collectibles or the dopamine rewards from successfully chasing some kind of rarity at mint.

For myself the part of greatest interest was a panel on unsigned_algorithms. The panel featured the artist/creator, the technical developer who managed the launch and distribution, and also some key figures within the unsig community. This included so-called “whale” holders (people who own significant numbers of unsigs), and derivative artists.

Listening to the various people speak it was clear that this is not some flash in the pan FOMO profit-chasing exercise. Many people are taking it very seriously as art. In doing so they are revealing the depths of complexity there are to explore within what can appear to be a simple colourful square with geometric properties.

Several interesting points were made in the panel, and I would not be able to do justice to the many impressive minds who made observations or proposed ideas. I would, however, like to expand a little on a couple of things I took away from the conversation and how I think it relates to unsig_dreams. I have no formal education in art theory, as will probably be immediately clear. Nevertheless I am interested in the theoretical aspect of what makes unsigs special and would add my small voice to that narrative.

Colour Study

For the unsigs creator (Alexander Watanabe), unsigned_algorithms can be considered as a single work of art. He describes that artwork as a colour study. Alexander began by asking the question of how can we explore how colours interact? He combined this concept with a set of data limitations relating to his desire to place the full information directly on the blockchain. From this conceptual base he coded an algorithmic set of intructions that produce the images. Taking the entirety of the output from that set of instructions (50 million possible combinations), he curated it down to 31,119.

The colour study is therefore complete. The 31,119 pieces each represent a building block which is a fragment to answer to the original question. Within each fragment is contained a version of the answer that is itself complete. In a (not really) similar way our individual DNA contains the building blocks to the complex structures which make up you and I.

Intention in art

Above I loosely describe my understanding of some of the intention behind the unsigned_algorithms project. I know Alexander considers intention in art to be extremely important. I would agree with this sentiment. For this reason I feel it sensible to try to clarify my own intention with unsig art and the unsig_dreams project.

unsig_dreams are dissimilar to unsigs

unsig_dreams is dissimilar to unsigs in a couple of key ways:
1) Firstly, it is technically far removed. Unsig_dreams do not push the technical characteristics of blockchain art. My output is stored via IPFS in exactly the same way as the majority of NFTs currently in existence do.
2) Secondly, I am not attempting to answer a large global question such as the colour study aspect of unsigs.

What then am I doing? What are unsig_dreams exactly?

To put it as simply as possible: if unsigned_algorithms are a global colour study, then unsig_dreams can be considered an emotional study through the lens of an individual.

Individual because each unsig_dream image is a discrete artwork crafted with my own specific intent.
Emotional because I believe all my creative output is an attempt to convey emotion.

I think of emotion as the lived experience portion of consciousness. All kinds of data is gathered and processed constantly by our brains. Emotion is the only language by which we experience that. Emotions are also layered and complex, but often presenting with seemingly simple geometries of happiness, joy, anger, love, grief etc.

Unsigs are the key

This is why I feel unsigs represent the perfect tool to unlock my emotional study. The complexity arising from a simple set of instructions directly parallels the rich inner emotional experience of being alive.

Dreams are the portal

My creativity is an attempt at communication. Through unsig art I wish to share my emotional truth rather than simply describe it. My project is my life, from start to end. The artwork will not be complete until I have taken my final breath. Perhaps the complete artwork is some attempt to describe life itself.

Unsig_dreams represent a curated fragment of that whole. Moments of creation, but also stones tossed in the lake of the world and continuing to create ripples. By interacting with my dreams or by owning them, you yourself become part of the art. Although unsig_dreams begins with me, it is not about me. It is about how it feels to exist and how it feels to interact with external forces.

Once a door has been opened…

Since starting unsig_dreams and making unsig art I have found, to my surprise, a creative unlocking. This has proved more profound and wider than I might have imagined. Like suddenly being given a voice, I am finding myself constantly imagining or creating new pieces. Sometimes these incorporate other aspects of my surroundings, or sometimes simply from scratch. For this awakening I am profoundly grateful to both Alexander Watanabe, and indeed all the people who make the unsig community what it is.

No doubt with time some or all of this may find it’s way into the unsig_dreams project. Whilst not strictly of unsigs, I believe the link remains clear and the connection is relevant.

That then was a rough description of the intent that sits behind unsig_dreams. I hope perhaps you find some aspect of it you can engage with. If the explanations are not of interest to you, but you have enjoyed some of my pieces on a purely aesthetic basis then that is fine too. I am grateful to you taking the time to allow my thoughts and my art into your own lived experience.

-Tim the Sleeper.

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