Social Contracts: the first drop by JPG.EXE

From our new NFT studio JPG.EXE, this artwork examines social graphs, future NFTs acquisitions and an examination of blockchain data through art.

We are delighted to announce the debut of JPG’s new NFT studio offerings, JPG.EXE, dedicated to helping artists realize projects that take advantage of the fundamentally networked and digital nature of works on the blockchain.

Ever since we began conceptualizing JPG, and particularly following the launch of SALT co-created by Figure31, 0xMons, and JPG, we've been eager to devote a portion of our business to establishing a lab-like environment for conceiving and producing the artwork that investigates and challenges our conceptions of digital and blockchain-based art.

JPG.EXE integrates seamlessly into the JPG product offering, joining Exhibitions and Canons, as another way by which JPG can meaningfully contribute to and help shape the NFT ecosystem.

We’re extremely excited to share our first upcoming drop through JPG.EXE: Social Contracts from renowned artist Burak Arikan, whose data-based and network analysis practice has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art New York, Venice Architecture Biennale, São Paulo Biennial, Istanbul Biennial, Berlin Biennial, Transmediale, Ars Electronica, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art, and many others worldwide.

Social Contracts is a series of living artworks that trace their collectors’ collections and their shared connections to other collectors, using the collector graph to project future acquisitions. Each piece in the series evolves and adapts with every transfer and change of ownership. Employing the blockchain transaction record, data meshes, and network diagrams, these interactive pieces unveil the intricate social patterns that exist within the realm of NFT art collecting.

In Social Contracts, the act of collecting becomes an integral part of the work itself. Unique wallet activity is interwoven with ENS names and marketplace data to offer insight into the relationships between collectors through their shared collections. Based on these collection graphs and predictive algorithms, Social Contracts influences collectors by forecasting their next NFT acquisitions, adding a layer of intrigue and anticipation to the process of art collecting.

Social Contracts for hxrts.eth
Social Contracts for hxrts.eth
Social Contracts for trente.eth
Social Contracts for trente.eth

When minting a Social Contracts NFT, collectors are not merely purchasing a static work of art, but an interactive and explorable WebGL graph drawing and updating from on-chain data, and they actively contribute to its history and evolution. The work traces its collectors’ contracts, shared connections to artists and other collectors, as well as potential future acquisitions. As the artwork is transferred or sold, each new collector's data is merged, shaping the work's form and provenance. This evolution is recorded through a custom smart contract that extends ERC721 non-fungible token standard. Hence, the artwork’s data is reproducible based on the verifiable history of co-ownership stored on-chain.

Echoing Burak Arikan’s previous body of work, Social Contracts highlights the inherent power structures within networks. In this case, the artist emphasizes how blockchains inherently create their own social graphs by fostering new relationships through transactions as individuals (and bots) engage with the protocols established by smart contracts. These non-privacy preserving blockchains increase the traceability and predictability of our social, economic, and political activities. While personal data feeds into the large machine learning models owned and controlled by resourced corporations and states, Social Contracts transitions the viewer’s perspective, zooming out from the intensely monitored streets to a bird’s eye view of the network. This allows observers to witness the recursive regeneration of on-chain social data as the collectors of this piece continue their activity. By calling attention to the performativity of collecting, the work presents new economic and aesthetic feedback loops that challenge the traditional patterns of NFT art collecting.

Social Contracts: Collection Graph Model
Social Contracts: Collection Graph Model

Through Social Contracts, collectors are invited to partake in an ever-evolving, socially-driven artwork that challenges our understanding of privacy, interconnectedness, and the essence of art collecting in the blockchain era.

NFTs, as networked, adaptable, and digital objects, possess the potential to be not only works of art but also vehicles for tracking provenance history, serving as financial instruments, verifying the authenticity of goods, and fulfilling numerous other functions. At JPG, we are captivated by the versatility of these digital assets, and with Social Contracts, a crypto-social and dynamic NFT, we are pushing the envelope by developing an artwork that simultaneously explores the intricate open-access web of people and objects that surround us.

Drop format: Open edition, available for 120 hours – All NFTs are unique, generated for the minting account. Each NFT is updated periodically and evolves with each transfer of ownership.

Price: 0.05 ETH / max 10 per wallet

Social Contracts is minting on April 19th, 2023, at 1pm ET. The mint will run for 120 hours.

About Burak: Burak Arikan is an artist, technologist, and social entrepreneur based in New York, with a Master's Degree from MIT Media Lab. He delves into societal concerns and transforms his findings into abstract mechanisms that produce network maps, algorithmic interfaces, lead to performances, and generate predictions, helping to expose and facilitate discussion around inherent power dynamics. Arikan's software, prints, installations, and performances have been showcased at esteemed institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art New York, Venice Architecture Biennale, São Paulo Biennial, Istanbul Biennial, Berlin Biennial, Transmediale, Ars Electronica, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art, and many other worldwide. Arikan is the founder of Graph Commons, a collaborative platform for mapping, analyzing, and publishing data-networks.

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