The meta-universe field is growing, and games, irreplaceable tokens and contemporary performing arts all contribute to the creation of an interactive and immersive purely digital ecosystem. “Welcome to Lobster City in Lobster City” is a welcome notice for netizens when they enter Lobster City.
Lobsteropolis exists in the blockchain-based virtual world Decentraland. It is a digital city based on the Lobster Universe by British contemporary artist Philip Colbert. This ambitious project can be said to be more than just a glimpse of the emerging movement at the intersection of art and blockchain technology, more specifically, an open world space that allows people to interact with art in a computer-generated environment.
Colbert was born in Scotland, currently lives and works in London, and is an alumnus of the University of St Andrews. Before the idea of Lobster City was proposed in the meta-universe, Colbert was already a name in the pop art world, and former Vogue editor André Leon Talley appointed him as a legendary pop art figure Andy Warhol’s “Godson”.
Colbert’s works are immersed in the pop art spirit of “high art” and “vulgar culture”, and have won the famous auctioneer and curator Simon de Puri and the Iraqi businessman and contemporary art collector Charles Saatchi and other major figures in the art world praised. The Fashion and Style Bible iD Magazine once called him the “Pop Art Crown Prince”.
Non-fungible tokens (NFT) have become more and more popular recently. Even for those who are not familiar with the field of encryption and blockchain, NFT art can be said to be a ubiquitous term. Today, almost anyone can “cast” an artwork and sell it on NFT markets such as SuperRare.
Whenever blockchain becomes a topic of discussion, subversion of the past and present is still a major buzzword. Perhaps it is not surprising that new technologies have become the basis of innovative methods for gallery exhibitions.
Lobster City is where Colbert’s first all-digital art exhibition is held, exhibiting some of his popular works, such as the Lobster Fountain and Encrypted Restoration. As part of the NFT art auction hosted by de Pury, visitors will also receive some invisible works by Colbert.
One of these invisible NFTs is a mixed art and music performance called Lob-Ster De-Vo created in collaboration with the American New Wave band Devo. The decentralized themes of rock bands often rely heavily on multimedia expression, and multimedia expression may have become the main content of emerging contemporary art narratives in the 21st century.
In “Lobster City”, Colbert’s lobster image once again becomes the “artistic protagonist”, rendering seems to be an art exhibition and an expression of the artist’s world at the same time. “Through my art, I have been building my own art world. My lobster role is the key narrator. The digital space allows me to explore this narrative in a new way,” he said in a conversation with Cointelegraph magazine. Explained.
Colbert called this three-year digital city a “labour of love”:
“I have an amazing team who helped me write code and upload it to Decentraland, and the Vegas City team provided great help in programming. The digital aspect of my work is largely a labor of love-I This infrastructure has been established for some time.”
Pop art becomes digital
Lobsteropolis features Colbert’s work in several international museum exhibitions and exhibitions, including his famous 2020 Saatchi Gallery exhibition. However, the city is not just an art exhibition, but a digital interactive interactive open world space.
Even before the emergence of COVID-19, advancements in virtual reality and augmented reality have been pushing the boundaries of digital interaction. An immersive game environment already exists, where users can create avatars to experience and explore a huge digital environment that has a wealth of functions, from digital natives in the real world to more fantasy elements.
Visitors to Lobsteropolis can explore many options in the city. “One of the attractions is the Lobster Lounge: a concert venue where avatars can hold bands and an event space where avatars can hold talks,” Colbert said, adding:
“The entire Lobsteropolis City has strong gameplay, where the avatar can interact with other people and create a layer of fantasy.”
Colbert’s digital lobster park is located in Vegas in Decentraland, which of course is also home to the casino. “There is also a casino where the avatar gets lobster coins, they can play blackjack, play slot machines, and buy digital products in my supermarket,” Colbert said.
Colbert himself admitted that he was obsessed with the intersection of art and music. According to him, NFT Space is creating a platform for the collaborative integration of two art forms in a “revolutionary way”.
In addition to co-creating Lob-Ster De-Vo NFT works, the band will also perform live DJ performances at the Lobster Land Records store, which is adjacent to the Lobster Land Museum, an auction venue hosted by de Pury.
The Lob-Ster De-Vo created by Colbert and the band will be the core part of the first auction on June 30. According to the artist, Lob-Ster De-Vo NFT artwork explores the role of digital ideology in emerging markets in an era of virtual-oriented interpersonal interaction.
For Colbert, Lob-Ster De-Vo NFT is a test of the role played by art, because humans seem to be moving towards a more mature digital space. This work also pays tribute to Devo’s iconic hit single “Through being cool” in 1981-especially the theme of the three crosses.
Colbert recalled his early NFT experiments and how that experience led him to use Lobster City as a digital city: “The first NFT I made was called Cryptofixtion. I always wanted to make a lobster crucifixion sculpture, inspired by research. Dali’s paintings incorporate the idea of technology as a new religion.”
Modern philosophy is indeed full of contemplation about the entanglement of technology and religion, especially within the framework of these advancements, which may provide another transcendent experience.
“Due to our obsession with mobile phones as a way of consumer experience, the idea of making a cross with a screen seems very logical,” Colbert said, adding:
“Then I realized it would be better as a digital world: Some things are more infinite, pure and powerful in digital form. Since then, I have been following my own process.”
Immortality and perfection
This pursuit of “infinite, pure and powerful” possibilities inevitably brought Colbert into the digital world and inevitably led to NFT. “Forget Cubism. This is another level of artistic expression and experience. With the rise of NFT, the digital art movement is now a trend, and many ideas are possible.”
Colbert belongs to the camp of those who believe that new art forms emerge at the intersection of NFT and contemporary art. As more and more artists begin to interact with the blockchain-based meta-universe, new art movements may even emerge .
“Crosses and hybrids are very interesting-why are you trapped in a box when you can interact between the two? Digital is immortal in its perfection, and physical art can always be unreplicated by digital art. Way to copy.”
With NFT, artists can now add metadata-unique digital attributes to their works. This feature can bring additional originality and authenticity to digital art. According to Colbert, “There are always problems with authenticity. People are obsessed with authenticity, which is the core of our value system.”
Colbert’s thoughts on the immortality and perfection of digital art may also provide a lens that can be used to observe his artistic scrutiny of the concept of technology as a new religion. As a medium of philosophical comment, art may gain greater social cognitive value in the 21st century’s journey towards full digital permanence.
With the development of digital art, Colbert said that he expects NFT technology to play an important role, especially with the emergence of interactive metaverse environments. According to Colbert, working in the metaverse offers “the next wave of possibilities to change the way we look at digital art and the way we experience it.”
“From an artistic point of view, I was inspired by the overall concept. It provides a way to change the context. If you change the environment, the way you look at things will change, and then this way will change.”
Perhaps, it is often difficult to determine the turning point—the point at which a particular technological advancement occurs. This is true for the paradigm shift breakthroughs in the power revolution in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the birth of the mobile Internet era.
However, the meta-universe seems to have surpassed the meditation based on science fiction and may become the next iteration of the modern world.
If Colbert is right, and Metaverse uses NFT technology as the primer to change cognition and background, then the next iteration of the modern world may be about to emerge. One thing seems certain, that is, the meta universe is here, but only time will tell how long it will take to be fully realized.