xSublimatio is a digital drug experience
It is an interactive artistic experience that allows people to acquire digital molecules and create digital drugs on the blockchain using NFTs.
xSublimatio is a questioning of the aesthetic potential of web3, coding and artificial intelligence, in the era of mass digitalisation of all aspects of reality.
While the consumption of images and data on the Internet have now, more than ever, become an addiction stimulating the release of feel-good hormones, this project uses modern NFT technology to stage the representations of molecules (symbolising our tangible reality) through the prism of drugs and water.
Digital drugs market place:
Pierre Pauze’s xSublimatio is an art project that allows anyone to collect, trade and combine digital molecules into virtual drugs, all in NFT form. Collectors can purchase molecules, randomly selected from 64 different types generated by AI. To create their desired drug out of the 19 possible options, users need to get the right combination of ingredients by trading or buying extra molecules.
xSublimatio is at the crossroads of art, science and gaming. It is the next evolution of Pauze’s video artwork Please Love Party, which documents the behaviour of partygoers when a new synthetic drug is given to them. This time, instead of acting as observers, we participate in a virtual drugs market as collectors, cooks and art dealers.
is a digital artwork with individual visual features. Images of chemical structures break through wave patterns, framed by a square as if they were an illustration for a science journal. Muted colours are set against a black background, recalling early Internet command line art. When the molecules are combined to form a drug, the result is a new artwork: 2D molecule art turns into a 3D generative artwork.
Developed in collaboration with CNRS scientists, the project draws on both the latest technological developments as well as natural processes. Models of drugs and molecules are generated from data made available by the AI system AlphaFold, originally designed to predict protein structures from amino acids. Water is one of the generated molecules and is used up as an ingredient during the making of any drug. Initially plentiful, the supply of water decreases with time. Here, just like in the real world, the perception of water changes from an easily available common good to an increasingly valuable resource. Water’s transformational properties align with the project’s title: sublimatio comes from sublimation in Latin, meaning the change of state from solid to gaseous, whereas ‘X’ refers to the notion of transcending.
Both collectors & Art dealers
xSublimatio is a game which encourages the NFT art collector to take on additional roles of making drugs, trading molecules and strategizing in a fluctuating market. As molecules are combined into drugs, their individual NFTs disappear. This concept resembles a deflationary monetary system like Bitcoin or Ethereum, currencies which go up in value with time as opposed to traditional finance, where currencies drop in value as more money is created.
As more molecules are turned into drugs, the distribution of available molecules changes and the collector needs to plan carefully to gather the required ingredients. The molecules themselves derive their value in three ways: aesthetic, biological and economic. The beauty of the visual image, the biological properties of the drug ingredients and the scarcity or abundance of each molecule type all influence general collector behaviour. This means the collector may need to adapt their trading strategy, combining rational analysis with subjective art appreciation.
Water rarification: a biomimetic system
Indeed many water molecules are present in the game. So from a statistical point of view they are less rare. Nevertheless, each time a user cooks a drug, he has to burn (make a water molecule appear). So water disappears the more people make drugs, and water molecules will become more and more rare.
Where the drug becomes the art
With limited numbers of necessary molecules, changing market dynamics and unpredictable collector behaviour, xSublimatio gives power to the individual collector to shape the outcomes of the project, where the drug becomes the art.
We have carried out bibliographic studies in order to choose the most representative molecules of the drugs. We have chosen to represent these drugs by one of the proteins involved in its action. Whether it is for the initial molecules or the proteins representing the drugs, the choices were made on criteria of both scientific relevance and aesthetics.
Shapes & Representation
Using artificial intelligence supported by alphafold 2, the software used in the research lab allowed us to determine the shape of the molecules and drugs to match the current scientific representation. The designs of the textures and backgrounds were then augmented by random code, according to predefined aesthetic parameters.
What code/software is used to create the NFTS?
For the molecules,the entire algorithm is realized using a combination of Processing and GLSL. The first is an OOP language based on Java, used for creating the algorithm's "backbone", the latter a shading language here used for processing and image filtering.
After that, OpenZeppelin ERC721 and custom Solidity. Typescript bindings generated with typechain and testing with hardhat.
100 per cent generative
When it comes to generative art, the goal is to define and create an autonomous system capable of independently determining artwork's features without requiring the artist to undertake every decision, this is realized by introducing randomness into the algorithm recipe. In this project, we aim to create a mixture of data visualization (scientific representation) and artistic reinterpretation of chemical compounds in a generative/creative fashion.
Molecule and drug types and other artistic parameters are chosen pseudo-randomly by the smart contract during purchase/brew transactions. The code to generate the art will be provided for anyone to download (and it will also be hosted in a backend for convenience), and the checksum to this code will be immortalized in the smart contract. Anyone can run the token parameters through the art generation code to arrive at the same results.