Christie's is launching an auction featuring Source [On NFTs], its first on-chain generative art collection, which was created by Robert Alice. This event also marks the US launch of On NFTs, a volume edited by Alice and published by Taschen. The 400 unique works by Alice included in Source [On NFTs] are derived from the generative art that serves as the endpapers for this book, which is the first major art historical study to deal with the significance of NFTs. The publication aims to reference the importance of blockchain as an artistic medium and a new form of publishing.

Alice trained the natural language processing (NLP) algorithm on a broad range of subjects and texts – from Walter Benjamin to Seth Siegelaub’s Artist’s Reserved Rights Transfer And Sale Agreement – in an effort to extract the semantic keywords or “soul of the texts”, as the artist expressed it. In Source [On NFTs], the artist aimed to poetically extract the pre-history of NFTs from the source material and reveal the cultural ecology behind their origin, creating pieces which are visually impressive that walk the thin line between legibility and illegibility, order and chaos. Histories that are separated by time and space are integrated in a seemingly haphazard manner, as the combined texts slowly melt away into entrancing designs, with colors spanning the whole RGB spectrum across a digital canvas.

The Taschen publication On NFTs is an ambitious project that aims to encompass the entire NFT ecosystem – from digital avatars to algorithmic art – in a set of 10 academic essays that connect this disruptive decentralized digital medium to its art historical context. Profiles of 101 key digital artists are included in the publication, which is available in three different editions: Hard Code, Collector's Edition, and as a limited Art Edition.

The upcoming auction will also introduce several novelties into the bidding process. It will be hosted on a bespoke platform that Christie's designed specifically for digital art. The auction will only accept payments in crypto and will proceed as a "Dutch auction," in which the bidding price of the works will begin high and slowly descend until all 400 of them have been sold. Once each work has been auctioned off it will be minted directly to the blockchain using NLP. More information on the upcoming Christie's auction and the Taschen publication can be found at their respective sites here and here.

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