A Rubric for Collecting “Networked Sets” of NFT Art

Also are you following Mona Mints anon?

In this week's FLOCK TALK, we explore the notion of Networked NFTs - collections of hundreds of pieces all sold at the same time from the same artist with the same thematics. Are "1/1/x" more valuable than "1/1's"?

1. This week's AI Video: Fun Times At AI High

In the immortal words of Jeff Spicoli, "All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine." Join us on a journey to AI High, where we plug in, turn on, and tune out to 7 groovy AI videos. Created by Nuclear Samurai, Ethereal Girl, Pixlosopher, Alice Gordon, Original Plan, Chikai and Carlos Norgaard. So Let's Party dudes!

2. FLOCK TALK THIS FRIDAY.

Join Jonas and generative Artist Harvey Rayner as they discuss Harvey's latest mint chatFUKR. 9am PT on X:

3. What's a chatFUKR you say?!

Flamingo TV's newest team member Mona Mints explains what a chatFUKR is:

4. Essay: A Rubric for Collecting Networked Sets of Digital Art

In early 2021, Aaron Wright, a founding member of FlamingoDAO tweeted about the concept of “Networked NFT sets”.  

Aaron believed that projects that draw an audience of like-minded, financially aligned collectors have the best chance of sustaining long term value in the NFT ecosystem.  This thesis has permeated much of the Flamingo collecting strategy for the past 3+ years.

In today’s essay, I want to share how I think about evaluating networked sets and provide you with my rubric for collecting in today’s challenging market.

For this rubric, I am only considering a small group of high end NFT art collections that have at least 500 pieces. There are hundreds of sets you can consider, but here are the collections I evaluated.

  1. CryptoPunks:

    • One of the earliest and most iconic NFT projects on Ethereum. Consisting of 10,000 unique collectible characters with proof of ownership stored on the Ethereum blockchain, they have become a cultural symbol within the crypto community.

  2. Autoglyphs:

    • Created by Larva Labs, the same team behind CryptoPunks. Autoglyphs are unique generative artworks permanently stored on the Ethereum blockchain. They are not only digital art but also a novel approach to creating and storing art onchain.

  3. Chromie Squiggles:

    • Designed by Snowfro, the creator of the Art Blocks platform. Chromie Squiggles are dynamic, generative lines of art characterized by vibrant colors and flowing shapes, each algorithmically generated.

  4. Fidenzas:

    • Also housed on the Art Blocks platform, created by Tyler Hobbs. Fidenzas are known for their abstract compositions, complex color palettes, and organic forms, each piece uniquely generated by an algorithm.

  5. The Currency:

    • A collection by Damien Hirst which blurs the lines between physical and digital art. Each piece corresponds to a physical artwork, with owners having the choice to keep the NFT or trade it for the physical version, exploring themes of value and permanence. The collection made the unusual choice of minting on the Palm blockchain.

  6. Life in West America:

    • A post-photography NFT project by Roope Rainisto that explores the American landscape through AI-generated art. Drawing from traditional color photography, the collection offers a unique visual language combining AI artifice with photographic elements. Each piece is generated using custom AI models, resulting in a pioneering blend of reality and generative art. The collection was minted on Braindrops.

  7. alignDRAW:

    • The alignDRAW project by Elman Mansimov is a pioneering text-to-image art initiative from 2015, known for being the first of its kind. It includes 2,709 images generated from 36 text prompts, categorized into 'Paper Prompts' and 'Process Prompts'. Each image is minted as an NFT and available in print editions, with an emphasis on fully on-chain storage for longevity and authenticity. The pieces were not categorized as "art" by Mansimov when created in 2015, and were recently (Feb 2024) minted by Fellowship.

I've also selected 6 categories to score these collections against. Here are my categories:

Is It Art? Evaluate the artistic merit of the collection. Consider factors such as aesthetic appeal, emotional impact, originality, and how well the collection fulfills artistic intents such as expression or provocation.

Is it Onchain? Analyze whether the artwork and its associated metadata are stored entirely on the blockchain, ensuring permanence and tamper-proof provenance, or if they rely on external servers which might be less secure.

Do I Respect the Artist? Reflect on your personal respect for the artist's skill, integrity, and contribution to the field. Consider their reputation, previous work, and how they engage with their community.

Do I Respect the Platform It Was Minted On? Evaluate the platform’s credibility, security features, user experience, and its history in handling NFTs. Consider also the platform's community engagement and the transparency of its operations.

Is it Lindy? Assess the longevity and enduring appeal of the NFT set. The Lindy Effect suggests that the future life expectancy of some non-perishable things, like technology or ideas, is proportional to their current age. Ergo the longer an NFT collection has existed, the more it is expected to remain relevant and valuable over time.

Is the Work Relevant? Consider the significance of the NFT in the context of art history or technological innovation. Does it represent a milestone in digital art or blockchain technology? Is it recognized by critics, historians, or curators as pioneering or influential?

By scoring each of these categories, you provide a multi-dimensional view of each Networked NFT art set, which can help guide potential buyers, collectors, and enthusiasts in understanding the value and significance of these digital assets. For each collection, I've scored them on a 10 point scale, with 10 being highest. Here’s how I evaluate each:

Ranking the totals for my rubric:

  1. Autoglyphs (53 points)

  2. CryptoPunks (50 points)

  3. Fidenza (45 points)

  4. Chromie Squiggles (44 points)

  5. The Currency (36 points)

  6. Life In West America (33 points)

  7. alignDRAW (29 points)

I encourage you to consider these collections as you expand your interest in NFT Art. Also please develop your own rubrics and share with the community. I'd love to learn how others think about these collections.

Further Readings

Artblocks announces a reorganization of how they manage artist mints called Studio. The first two artists to participate are Melissa Wiederrecht and Aaron Penne.

Pioneering programmable artist and Teraforms creator 113 posted a nice introduction to the Terraforms project. Its a project that Flamingo and NEON have both gone deep on. I'm scheming an essay about this project in the not too distant future.

Gondi added two AI "connected sets" to their lending platform this week: alignDRAW and the AUNTIEVERSE. Great progress for AI art and Fellowship in particular!

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