nft

Async Art, NFTs and the Programmable Media Movement

async art mobile
Connie Digital

Greater utility gives NFTs greater value.

In previous articles, I discussed a couple of NFT use cases, namely the ability to display NFTs within virtual worlds, and the ability to use NFTs as access passes for exclusive content. In this post, I’d like to further explore NFT utility in the form of programmable artwork.

Programmable art is a new, experimental art movement that first broke onto the scene in February 2020 with the debut of the first rare, programmable art platform - Async Art. Leveraging the power of Ethereum-based smart contracts, Async Art empowers creatives to create new types of artworks that can evolve over time, and react to its token owners.

async art 0000 First Supper April 10 2021
First Supper

To display the capabilities of this new technology, Async Art launched with the first-ever programmable artwork—a collaborative piece that features the work of 13 different artists, aptly titled First Supper. The artists involved include: Shortcut, Josie Bellini, Sparrow, MLIBTY, Vans Design, Alotta Money, Twisted Vacancy, Coldie, Hackatao, XCOPY, Matt Kane, Rutger van der Tas, and myself, Connie Digital.

How Programmable Art Works

Understanding how programmable art works requires understanding how the artwork is composed. On the Async Art platform, each piece consists of a Master composite and Layer images. Both the Master and the Layers are individual NFTs. The Master is the single edition (1 of 1) composition of the dynamic work of art. Layers are all the visual elements that make up that Master. As an example, First Supper is the Master artwork which consists of 22 Layers (individual parts created by the artists involved).

Layers have unique abilities that are determined by the artist at creation. Some of these abilities include: changes in state, scale, color, rotation, opacity, and more. Owners of Layer NFTs have exclusive control over these abilities and can make Layer changes to alter the visual look of the Master. This means when a collector purchases a Layer NFT they have the opportunity to directly influence the artists' work.

Greater utility gives NFTs greater value.

Artists are excited about the possibilities of programmable tools because they allow for the creation of extremely dynamic works. In fact, some artists have experimented with creating autonomous artworks that change based on various sources of information. One such example is time-based NFT artworks that change based on day and night cycles. Another example involves conditional rules for Layers that change based on bitcoin price fluctuations, or special annual events like birthdays.

Milestones and Programmable Music

async art 0002 Async TV Display
Async

In October 2020, Async Art collaborated with the world’s leading auction house Christie’s to auction-off Robert Alice’s programmable NFT - Block 21. This marked the first time in history that an NFT was sold by any major auction house, fetching a price of $131,250. Since then, Async Art has gone on to release a browser Tab Extension to showcase artworks, an Apple TV app for displaying works on larger screens, and the team also secured a $2M+ round of funding.

With new funding secured, the next focus for the platform appears to be onboarding more creators—including musicians. In the same way smart contracts and programmability have forever changed art, these tools also have the ability to forever change music. And my bet is that it will.

Programmable music will work similarly to programmable art with each piece being composed of a single Master Track NFT and multiple Stem NFTs. Stem NFTs are effectively the same as Layer NFTs. They have the ability to alter what the Master Track both looks and sounds like.

async art 0001 Async Music Master and Stems
Async / Connie Digital

This is because the Master Track cover art is also an Async artwork. Activating different Stems means the cover art will change according to the artists’ programmed design. Stem NFTs also give their owners the power to determine which variant of that Stem is being played in the Master Track (the current live song).

Imagine vocal Stems with up to 9 different lyric variants that collectors can mix and match against 9 different beat variants. Each possible combination of the Stems adds a richer meaning to the full track, while at the same time providing a fun experience of ‘unlocking’ different versions of the song.

With programmable music, fans can now become active participants in the listening experience. They can interact with the sound and the musician in ways that were not possible before. They effectively have the power to decide which version of the Master Track the world hears.

Greater utility gives NFTs greater value.


Async Music will launch in late April with a diverse spectrum of musical genres, including works from Verdigris Ensemble, HMLTD, Connie Digital and Mighty33, and one yet to be announced artist. You can get all the launch details by following Async on Twitter.

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Liked
Thumbs Down
Disliked