Phytocene : The first-ever vegetal NFT sold at Phillips London
The Phillips auction sale New Now in London on the 13 July 2021 presented a collective artwork The ‘Phytocene’ NFT, a « non fungible token », sold for £10 000, created by the musician Agoria, the Oscar-winning sound designer Nicolas Becker and the biophysicist Nicolas Desprat, produced and curated by the artist residency 91.530 Le Marais. The immersive artwork is the first-ever nature-based NFT displaying visually and musically the life of a plant, through a bioscience research on the activity and crypto language of a living organism : the hemp plant collected from the soil of Le Domaine du Marais.
The medium of NFTs was embraced by numerous artists and is now accepted in the art world with exceptional sales exceeding expectations. Digital art is now evolving at a never-before-seen speed, through technological changes and the popping up new market of NFTs – authentication of a digital property on the blockchain – .
In The ‘Phytocene’, the germination of a plant doesn’t have a beginning but exists in the continuity of nature’s intricate scheme. From the microscopic scale into the virtual video and soundscape, the artists converted the real time data of the ever growing plant – from seeding to harvest – in its natural environment and relieved it on the blockchain sphere as a logograph. They started filming after the sprouting of the millésimé hemp plant seed, by collecting the bacterial microcosm. The ecosphere is composed of local bacterial communities formed by multiple families, creating a teeming society showing the vitality of nature’s life. The artists revealed the final result in a 7min video selected with scientific criteria out of thousand hours of filming.
The sound environment acts as a common thread of the piece as well as a visual narration for the expression of the long crescendo reaching a climax, echoing the meeting of accumulated creative energies. The artistic and scientific synergy in The ‘Phytocene’ provided thus an interesting reflection on the regenerative process of the organic environnement in its loop and the coding used in the NFTs’ programming language.
Following on the musical innovative project mixed with the natural organic language, Agoria, Nicolas Desprat and Nicolas Becker had set up HempFM, a radio generated by data extracted from the hemp field with probes, allowing the listener to connect directly with the breathing of the plant through its life journey.
By Léa Hippolyte
Photos Credit: Courtesy Château Le Marais and the artists