McLuhan was a galaxy brain who pioneered media theory in the 60s. There is a perhaps apocryphal story about when he submitted the manuscript for ‘Understanding Media’ to publishers—the most important book ever written on media. They turned it away. It was “too new” they said.
No wonder we’ve seen the most explosive community participation in the history of crypto. @dhof stripped NFTs down to their core innovation: 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕣𝕖𝕚𝕗𝕚𝕔𝕒𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟 𝕠𝕗 𝕔𝕠𝕟𝕔𝕖𝕡𝕥 𝕚𝕟 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕔𝕠𝕝𝕝𝕖𝕔𝕥𝕚𝕧𝕖 𝕔𝕠𝕟𝕤𝕔𝕚𝕠𝕦𝕤𝕟𝕖𝕤𝕤. LOOT are pure concept.
LOOT doesn’t try to replicate meatspace, it’s pure metaverse. These items will be wrought by artists for decades over and over but what makes them truly special is that they were the first. The first time we glimpsed what the metaverse, blockchain, and NFTs could become.
McLuhan also wrote that all media (media = medium = technology) are containers for other media. The book is a container of the written word which is a container of speech which is a container of shared concept. NFTs are containers.
By stripping the content of an artwork down completely to the bare concept, removing as much meaning from its physical form as possible, Duchamp initiated perhaps the largest creative expansion in the history of art, ever.
We can see now how incredibly well conceptual art has done at concretizing the zeitgeist. It’s staggering this has been possible without blockchain. The intersubjective space is just so diffuse, inchoate, and slippery—how the hell can it hold value without provable scarcity?
To close, a few words on scarcity. Are we headed to a metaverse as trite as rodeo drive? Do we really want artificial scarcity of cultural artifacts? Yes. Unequivocally yes. Should every town have an Eiffel tower? Every home the Mona Lisa? Access, yes. But provenance?
I used to feel that labels like ‘Versace’ were garbage. I was above that. But if we actually do step above (and not just judge other’s preferences) we can see that it’s not a label, it’s a story. And stories bind us together. And that is beautiful.
Sure, some bind us into negative shapes (wars; unethical fashion houses), but that doesn’t mean that the power of story is bad. Nor is the power of scarcity. It is, after all, blockchain’s essential service.
We will bring all of ourselves into the metaverse, good, bad, new, old. And stories will be important there, too. Like the story of having a crown made from LOOT. When I see yours, I’ll know we share something. That, or you’re just a rich douchebag. Both are fine.