Damn Sam, that wasn’t a microdose

  • Culture

We are extremely proud to add another masterpiece of art in the digital age to the 1OF1 collection. As the Monument Game was unfolding, we were captivated by the fact that it was not one, but three distinct works: a key chapter in a breathtaking series of digital paintings with ever-expanding lore, a thought provoking game, and a masterfully orchestrated community building ritual.

Sam Spratt’s central park metaphoric scene is a blockbuster of digital painting. At 30,000 px width, it could easily be shown on a 35 foot wide screen and still look crisp. Luci, the subject of The Monument Game, is a reappearing character in Sam’s work as he charts a story across multiple chapters. The Ape is a popular metaphor with many crypto enthusiasts. However, this Ape is presented in an entirely different light. Luci is a meditation on our origins and refelects on the primal and the sublime forces that drive us forward at key moments in life. It’s about birth and death, the choices we make and the challenges we face as we walk the path of life’s ever-changing landscape. Given 1OF1’s close ties to MAPS, the fact that the ideas of Luci originated in a corresponding healing experience and Sam has contributed so much to the MAPS movement through Luci, this monumental work has even more sentimental importance to 1OF1.

There is deep value in creative strategies that engage the blockchain in more interesting ways than just minting a token. The Monument Game is not just a painting, it’s a canvas for the community’s ideas. Sam intertwined the painting, the Council of Luci, and the Player edition into a grand ceremony, guiding all the participants toward a deep meditation on the relationship between the ritual of observation and the rituals observed in the Monument Game. This “communal digital varnish” as he calls it, is forever enshrined on-chain, which makes the Monument Game a truly networked piece of art that lives off the interplay of a multitude of people, ideas, and tokens.

Networks of course are what crypto is about. The best human networks become communities, and while the term has been inflated into oblivion by many crypto projects, Sam has ever so thoughtfully expanded his community with the Monument Game to the highest standards. He did this by creating a space for discourse, rather than a discord for gm’s. Much like the surface area Beeple creates by posting (but not minting!) each of his Everydays, Sam has created a literal surface area for interaction without resorting to the dead weight of speculation. In his game participation trumps winning it. Browsing through over 250 observations will leave you inspired to think of your own. The Monument Game definitely inspired a series of great artists, including Sasha Stiles, Cath Simard, Dave Krugman and the grandmaster Beeple.

Jeff Koons once remarked that the average viewing duration of a masterpiece painting is less than 20 seconds. Through the observations alone, Sam’s Monument Game viewing stats are surely an x-fold of that. Sam created a painting that by virtue of its structure has been elevated to a continuous process. Taking it all in during the auction last week, observing the social process around the Monument Game, we couldn’t help but be reminded of a passage in John Berger’s seminal Ways of Seeing: “By refusing to enter a conspiracy, one remains innocent of that conspiracy. But to remain innocent may also be to remain ignorant.” The Monument Game feels like the best kind of conspiracy. One where enthusiasts band together, carefully consider the observed, and then together plot a way forward. Art and process, exactly up 1OF1’s alley.