We’ve all had a special occasion or celebratory moment in life that we’ve captured on camera or film to keep and look back on. But what about the moments in our history that happen or exist online, digitally?
Just like how we commemorate physical moments on camera, NFT artist Eric Corriel has collected famous moments in the history of digital objects, such as the first YouTube video or the code NASA wrote to send astronauts to the moon, and painted their portraits using a unique visualization algorithm. Pieces from his new NFT collection – Enter the Machine 3.0 will be available to the first 20 buyers of the newly launched Meural Opus, the latest addition to our award-winning platform for showcasing blockchain-verified art and photography.
We sat down with Eric to learn more about his background and what to expect from his new “Enter the Machine 3.0: Portraits of Famous Files” Collection. Here’s what he had to say:
IN THIS ARTICLE
Artist Eric Corriel's Background
Tell us more about your background and your journey as an NFT creator/artist?
My artistic journey started in France, where I pursued a master’s degree in fine arts, after which I came back home to New York. For the first 10 years of my art career, my primary focus was projecting interactive and immersive video installations on buildings in the public realm that would interact with people as they passed by. In 2016, I was introduced to blockchain at a hackathon and began following the technology more closely. From there sprouted an interest in creating my own collection of NFT artwork.
Inspiration for "Enter The Machine 3.0: Portraits of Famous Files"
What was your inspiration behind the “Enter The Machine 3.0: Portraits of Famous Files” NFT Collection you’re creating for the Meural Opus launch?
I first launched “Enter the Machine 1.0” in 2016. As a longtime programmer, I’ve always been fascinated by the complexity of data and how it’s represented in a magical box we call our hard drives. While the series started as a collection of portraits of personal files, folders, and hard drives, now as I launch version 3.0, it’s expanding to digital files that have impacted large groups of people to the point of becoming culturally important.
That fact is, our lives are increasingly represented by digital data but if you asked someone on the street “what is a digital file?” most people would say “it’s 0’s and 1’s” or “it’s an icon on the desktop.” While the icons on your desktop may look the same, underneath the hood they contain vastly different structures of data – giving a reductive impression of what a file truly is. Icons, while useful, diminish our files to a bland, homogenous visual representation. However, if you’re trying to get to the heart of what data is, there’s a world of difference from one file to the next.
I wanted to show this intuitively to people, so I embarked on a journey of giving each digital file its own unique visual identity – treating each one like its own “special snowflake,” so to speak. The algorithm I designed takes any digital file as input and outputs a unique visual portrait that, ideally, does justice to the uniqueness of the original.
For my new collection, I’m designing 20 pieces of famous files specifically for Meural Opus. This collection is a tour of digital cultural history and represents files that have had a major impact on our culture through the years – like the first ebook ever uploaded, the code NASA wrote for the Apollo 11 mission to put men on the moon, or the first YouTube video.
How The Medium Informs the Process of Creation
Knowing that Meural is going to be the digital display medium for your NFT art, how does this inform your process for creating?
It’s critical to consider the display medium for NFT art, like Meural. Staring at the screen as much as one does when creating digital art, it’s easy to lull oneself into the idea that most people will see the finished work under the same conditions in which one has created it. That’s where having a Meural comes into play. Viewing this art in a digital frame like Meural takes the work “out of the lab,” which provides a crucially important, different viewing experience. I make sure when I’m creating my NFTs to test them out using Meural to see what it’s like to literally live with the work – and see if they generate any interest from guests!
Another part of the creation process is ensuring that the documentation of the piece is stored as an NFT token along with the original asset (like a sidecar). No matter who receives or purchases the piece, the tokenized documentation always goes with it. Each “Enter The Machine 3.0” piece will be accompanied with video documentation, so even if technology standards change and the code used to display the work today no longer works in the future, the owner can always reference the video documentation.
How Technology Has Changed Art
How has technology, like Meural that is purpose built for NFT art, changed the way you/ the world views digital art?
Simply put, Meural enables artists and collectors to have more quality aesthetic experiences with their digital collections. Having an external display that has a different aspect ratio and that’s purpose built for NFT display is also really important to be able to see the pieces in your home on a wall or easel. It makes for a unique aesthetic experience, especially when you create a playlist of art and images that either speak to you in a certain way, represent certain digital assets or highlight important moments in your life. It also gives you the ability to live with more than just one piece which is nice!
How NFTs Have Changed the Art World
How has the advent of NFTs changed the art world? What changes do you expect to see in the next few years?
NFT technology has done nothing but advance since its inception. Even with the current social and political headwinds facing blockchain technology and cryptocurrency transactions, the technology is still moving forward at breakneck speed. Traditionally, artists are used to having their work in galleries (if they’re lucky!) where the possibility of selling work was mostly limited to the connections of the gallerist and where, even if the work did sell, artists would typically not receive payment for months.
But with NFTs, the market is global, it’s open 24/7, and settlement is instantaneous (a feature yet to be appreciated by most artists in my opinion). NFTs also unlock the ability to create and consume art in new and different ways. The NFT market is open and permissionless so the opportunities are endless – which brings about its own issues, like the need for digital curators. In the next few years, I imagine more artists and consumers will better understand this market, and curators will play a huge role in making this happen.
Sneak Peek his Next Series
Can you give us a sneak peek of what might be next in your series?
The new frontier of portraiture is digital. In the past, portraits were only available to the aristocracy – it was a luxury only very few could afford. Today, portraits are available to just about everyone by snapping a photo on your phone. This democratization of portraiture over the last few centuries has significantly broadened the scope of who can have their portrait taken – but what’s the next frontier for portraiture? The next step in this evolution, in my opinion, is portraiture for digital entities – files, folders, information systems, and AIs.
For me, I’m interested in continuing to explore the territory of file portraiture for digital entities. I’d like to connect with people all over the world who are interested in having portraits made of their digital files. To this end, I’ll be creating a portrait studio for digital files, on blockchain, where anyone can come to explore this new territory with me.
Discover Meural Opus for NFTs
As NFT art continues to evolve, having a proper display has never been more important. The Meural Opus allows art lovers of all kinds to show off their digital collections.
To help inspire Eric’s latest work, NETGEAR is offering Meural fans the opportunity to vote on the top 10 moments in digital file history, while the first 20 customers who purchase Meural Opus will be gifted an exclusive NFT from his collection, each commemorating landmark moments. Voting is now underway here.
If you are interested in Meural Opus, visit the site: NETGEAR.com/Opus now and sign up to receive information as it gets closer to launch. Meural Opus will be available for $799.99 starting next month on NETGEAR.com/Opus.