Just as ancient civilizations built structures and made cave paintings to depict earthly life and connect to the natural world that sustained them, A.A. Murakami pursues this innate human desire to revere the natural systems on which our existence depends.
Inspired by the Egyptian sun deity named Ra, their latest project “The Passage of Ra” is a hybrid NFT and immersive installation that juxtaposes the nature of a fleeting moment with the permanence of the blockchain. As the first god of Egyptian mythology, Ra is believed to traverse the sky daily in a solar barque, or sun boat, and pass through the realms of the underworld at night in order to reappear in the east every morning.
Slated to make its debut later this week at NFT Paris 2023, this installation is the first of a series of immersive NFTs that bring to life what the artist duo has coined the “Mataverse.” Different from a metaverse, which is a virtual world, a Mataverse is a multi-sensory physical environment that also exists on the blockchain. The installation simultaneously fires rounds of fog rings and their digital twins toward a generative seascape displayed on screens.
During a conversation last year, A.A. Murakami’s Alexander Groves explained to Artazine the notion behind the term “mataverse”.
“[The mataverse] is this space we’re making that combines IRL installations — which you experienced with all your senses — and the blockchain. We're obsessed with materials, and we find it quite magical that things can be in shifting states of matter — like a bubble is a mixture of liquid and gas. “Mataverse” is about both physical matter and states of matter, and it’s a space that's suspended between the physical and the virtual.”
The project involves a multi-stage drop with different opportunities to collect utilities for holding or redeem tokens. The artists’ first open edition (OE) NFT, ‘The Eye of Ra,’ will be available for purchase from February 23 to 26, and those lucky enough to secure an OE will stand a chance to win a limited edition ‘The Passage of Ra’ NFT, each worth US$10,000. Furthermore, ‘The Passage of Ra’ immersive installation, to be showcased at NFT Paris, will be captured as a generative art video that will be sold in segments on MakersPlace in March.
A.A. Murakami is best known for their “ephemeral tech” installations that employ the use of technology to recreate immersive, organic experiences. Their practice points to the duo’s deep obsession with materiality, which stems from their hybrid background in architecture and art. “You get an emotional response to materials that you can't always explain, " says Groves. “When you experience scent, it connects your brain in a way that bypasses language and thought, and takes you straight to a memory or a feeling. So I think that's something we shouldn't lose because [of technology].”
Last December, they made their first foray into NFTs in collaboration with Pace Verso and Art Blocks with “Floating World Genesis,” a collection of 250 unique animated NFTs that pays homage to primordial life on Earth.