C O L L A B !
As (kinder)Garden, Monuments first renders, we witness the growth of a peaceful and inviting garden. Foliage and flowers steadily grow before our eyes, just as cubes, triangles, and spheres stack within the space. We observe natural growth rendering on a computer to define a space—a juxtaposition of organic and digital that’s beautiful to behold.
Zancan’s signature garden scenes provide a peaceful refuge from life as we know it, inviting us to spend some calming moments in the grass. And the grass he creates isn’t transient: it will always be there for us to appreciate. Even when stuck inside because of work, the pandemic, or anything else, we can always access the feeling of being immersed in nature because of his work.
The three hundred and nine Iterations of (kinder)Garden, Monuments meld Zancan’s natural grass.js code with Yazid’s building blocks and playful colors to create an innocent, youthful space where we can all take refuge. While the structures in Zancan’s Garden, Monoliths convey the process of aging to eternity, the small towers here suggest ever-repeating cycles of youth.
Within the leaves and flowers of Zancan’s garden, we find strong and sharp cubes, spheres, and prisms stacked within every scene. These vertical stacks of shapes remind us of the buildings in Yazid’s Hashed Cites, now masterfully reimagined into three dimensions and bursting through the serene natural garden to say a very-human “Hello!”
These shapes immediately evoke children’s building blocks, bringing a vibrant sense of contemporary human joy to the timeless and peaceful gardens. The structures remind us of a space in which we can almost hear the laughter of children nearby—a playfield of happiness that serves as reflection of childhood memories.
From piece to piece, additional foreground and background lines form the base of the garden, the sky in the background, or celestial objects. These additional layers provides spatial context for the foreground and solidify each piece as its own abstract vignette of reality.
With (kinder)Garden, Monuments, Zancan and Yazid use the power of their code to build a collaborative space where children can play and we can feel their energy. And while this garden is ostensibly a playground for children, its beauty and openness also serves as a warm welcome into the garden of generative art on fxhash and Tezos.
Indeed, Zancan and Yazid’s project has grown to represent the entire garden of fxhash as a platform and protocol. (kinder)Garden, Monuments is a pure manifestation of the best that fxhash, generative art, and Tezos have to offer—and it may well be ushering in the next phase of visual art as we know it.
After all, fxhash is the unregulated garden for publishing and minting generative art projects, and has been left to grow—practically unpruned and uncurated—for over a year. In that time, artists have released over 20,000 projects – and many have risen to critical acclaim, cultural significance, and financial value.
(kinder)Garden, Monuments is one of the most significant work to embody all aspects of fxhash as a platform, marketplace, and community. It was the first formal collaboration released on the opening morning of fxhash 1.0, which the platform launched after a long hiatus following its beta period. During that month-long pause of new mints, collectors, artists, and the community at large went back and collected existing beta projects and discovered previously unminted iterations.
fxhash’s emerging community of collectors grew much stronger during that hiatus, as individuals educated each other about hidden gems among the approximately 10,000 different releases available at that time. They also strengthened their relationships with artists, especially via Twitter and Discord. To this day, the intense and involved community of like-minded and passionate collectors remains one of the strongest distinguishing features of fxhash.
Leading up to the launch of fxhash 1.0, collectors eagerly anticipated the potential for a new collaboration between Yazid and Zancan, as they were two of the most acclaimed artists of the fxhash beta period. Finally, on the morning of the launch of fxhash 1.0, the platform’s founder ciphrd made a warm announcement welcoming all to the new fxhash. Discord voice chats were buzzing.
That morning, my neighbor and collecting friend @surferdrew came over so we could mint together at 4:00 a.m. Though we already knew each other outside of generative art nfts through our local elementary school that our kids attended, we had realized through the tight Twitter community of collectors that we were actually both collecting on fxhash—while only living fifty yards apart in the offline world. I will always remember how this project connected people, not only across the world but also across my very own street. That is the potential of fxhash: to serve as a garden for all to communicate, cooperate, help each other in building collections, and ultimately all flourish together.
(kinder)Garden, Monuments was the first project on fxhash to allow collaboration on the smart contract level. This innovation meant that multiple artists could release a work together, then share revenue and royalty proceeds in perpetuity. Suddenly, two fathers half a world apart—a nature-based artist in Bordeaux and a line-based artist in Brunei—could connect not only artistically, but also financially. This connection was emblematic of a profound cultural shift towards paying proceeds to the artists automatically and for generations, because of smart contract and blockchain technology.
The project had other implications as well, as it was one of the first fxhash projects to also feature physical art. Since the outputs are in SVG format, the two artists offer the code to collectors to plot or print on their own, and also offer a “print shop” where collectors can connect their wallets and order signed prints and plots (signed and numbered) from Zancan. Prints are a remarkable way for people to share their collections in real life, and they connect the fxhash digital world to the traditional world of tangible art.
The code in (kinder)Garden, Monuments also allows for the pieces to be “plotted”—that is, manually drawn by a pen controlled by a mechanical arm commanded by a computer. Plotting takes this project to yet another level, as watching the plotter at work is mesmerizing, and the linework outputs have a special organic quality to them.
(kinder)Garden, Monuments also featured its own moment of performance art. Around the time of release, Zancan and Yazid announced they would make physical plots available to ten lucky collectors determined at a later date.
Then, on an otherwise quiet Sunday morning on fxhash, Zancan enabled a mint of ten tokens under a secret account, and enabled a mint known as “draw.” Some savvy collectors realized the artist’s new secret identity and rushed to mint a copy at a significant premium. Each collector then received a simple token with only a certain number of circles on it. It turned out that these ten “draw” mints were a drawing; the mints were random numbers that corresponded to the iteration number of each winning (kinder)Garden, Monuments that would be entitled to collect their special plotted prize. The minters of draw essentially paid for—and held—a lottery ticket on behalf of someone else who was entitled to the prize. Some minters of the lottery tickets were disappointed and were even lightly teased in the fxhash discord, and an incredible meme video was created that would forever commemorate the moment.
But unbeknownst to anyone besides the artists, there was still another surprise embedded in the draw tickets’ code. The initial simple image was actually coded to change at a later date, and ultimately revealed itself as an additional output of (kinder)Garden, Monuments! These even-more-rare 1/1/10 pieces entitled the holders of the previously mocked draw tokens to a physical plot of their now-beautiful new miniature (kinder)Garden, Monuments outputs as well.
The performance art aspect was astonishing. Suddenly, the raffle tickets had changed from seemingly useless numbers to a rare and meaningful (kinder)Garden, Monuments piece. In Zancan’s own words, his experiment, “question[ed] the value attached to an NFT, which fluctuates depending on the signature, the artistic intent, the speculation of utility, the pure visual appreciation or the social experience itself.”
The plan, process, frenzy, and result became yet another staple of Zancan and fxhash lore, as documented in this Twitter thread by zancan.
These gardens in which we marvel and the monuments within them are a testament to a new age of art, and are something to behold. Yet Zancan and Yazid also casually reel us back into reality, showing us that and the end of the day, we should remember the children and playful approach that was the original inspiration for the platform and project. As they put it, “this project is dedicated to kids, those who were once children, to the dreamers and builders who still enjoy playing with cubes.”
In (kinder)Garden, Monuments, Yazid and Zancan came together to create a garden that ended up symbolizing so much more—both for a single platform and for the entire generative art movement. Given all this piece symbolizes, it demands repeat viewings and is now rightly recognized as one of the best embodiments of the the creativity, collaboration, community, and culture of fxhash to-date.