• Benoit Palop

Step Into Materia, LaTurbo's Latest Blockchain-Located Project

Time flies when you never log off. I still can't believe it's been almost a decade since I have reached out to the OG avatar artist LaTurbo Avedon for the first time. Since then, I have been eagerly checking out each of their Metaverse explorations, and we have been chatting regularly.

From the classic Club Rothko Save 01, to their tribute to the defunct Bitcoin company Mt. Gox and many more game-based artworks, the social render has unfolded an intensive artistic practice that has deeply questioned identity and authorship through virtual realms. Over the years, the bridges they created between the different URL spaces they have been working through allowed them to anticipate and foresee art and social issues related to the field. Ahead of the current mainstream trends and evolving at the same pace of tech innovations, software, and game updates, they have been a leading voice within the Metaverse way before its gentrification.

On a personal note, not only did LaTurbo's creations strengthen my interest in net-based creative practices and online playgrounds, but they also taught me to better feel and experience the Metaverse rather than passively wandering around. It was the perfect add-on to the Master thesis I wrote in the late 2000s when studying at the Sorbonne.

With their most recent project, Materia, they bring to the NFT space a mystical blockchain-linked series that takes shape and expands from collectors' involvement. Digital artifacts will be minted depending on 'special events behavior,' added to the community-generated collections before joining the zodiac system and being ready to collect.

I recently reached out to them and got more in-depth insights about this new project.


Hi LaTurBo 〜 Can you tell me a bit about the genesis of Materia?

I've existed in the overlaps between different game worlds and social media platforms for many years. As an avatar, I often rely on external systems to communicate with others. With this new project, I can start from the void, my private environment at the end of the Metaverse -something adjacent, what I would prefer to call exo.

This project, existing between various videos, stills, playable environments, and collectible items, allows me to weave in and out of my game world to share a more profound history and experience with my work.

Materia (Socket Event 01), 2022 - image courtesy the artist

Your work has always been all about the Metaverse. What does Materia add to the whole narrative you've been developing for a decade?

I've long suggested that my works exist within the same system -my saved data as a continuous narrative performance. This new project allows me to bring viewers closer to my lore and participate in ways that will permanently shape it.

Regarding the participative/community side of the project, it's not the first time you open up the creative process of one of your artworks (e.g., Sunset). Can you explain the best way we can contribute that time more precisely? (font, socket event, etc...) What do you want people to do to unlock all the possibilities this project offers?

A particularly unique experience occurs in the first playthrough of a simulation. I wanted the Materia system to mimic this unfamiliar nature, users to begin without insight into these objects' purposes. Pieces of Materia are singular, but I hope that they can be shared between like-minded users.

Socket Events are the first available interactions that Materia holders can have with the system. A no reserve 24-hour socket auction will be triggered on the Ethereum blockchain at a disclosed date when an SE is discovered. The keeper of this designated SE token will have permission to use their Materia in that particular socket (should they possess at least one in their wallet). Once a socket is used, it cannot be used again. The effects of the event remain in the permanence of the greater system.

Materia is not just a participatory project; it operates on a level of generative mythos that can be followed and explored as it develops over time. I hope that viewers begin to have alignments and shared interests through particular pieces of Materia, and create external dynamic lore through them.

What is your creative process once you get contributive actions from the collectors? How do you create the next series of artworks from collectors' interactions?

Once a Socket Event is complete, I will develop the next level of the Materia System according to its results. After this first event completes, one of the twelve houses of the Celestial Zodiac will be applied to the system. Subsequent works that I create will fall within defined parameters stemming from the results of this decision.

Materia (Font I Arrival), 2022

Why did you choose Materia as the title?

The project is titled Materia in reference to its smallest parts, unique virtual artifacts that I've created as influential variables. In many 3D working environments (like Unreal Engine or Cinema4D), surfaces and textures are applied to simulated scenes through spherical resources called materials. There is an undeniable sense of mysticism around their display, otherwise magical renderers of visual information. Materia echoes a similar period of enchantment from 16th Century studies of alchemy - the interwoven aspirations of developing sciences and metaphysical contemplation.

I've long thought of these little orbs in my workspace as precious things, endless reservoirs of gold, stone, and any other surface to be imaged. This time, I have created a system that will lend these variables to other users and allow them to apply these properties to many different parts of my upcoming works.

What does working through the blockchain add to this project, and does it exist exclusively within the blockchain?

While there is a lot to love and celebrate about copying and reproducing files, I often want to create things that call for careful handling and stewardship. Especially when giving virtual objects the permissions to change my work, it creates a much more personal experience when the public can observe the creation and movement of these objects on the ledger.

My art and subsequent events will remain accessible without participating in blockchain, but I enjoy that these objects remain entwined with the format from this period.

How would you like this project to evolve?

The ongoing developmental format is intended to create a tangible history shaped and remembered by users who interact with it. This long-term lore allows other users to share this particular experience with virtual memory through their Materia.

What's next for you? Any other projects to be uploaded soon?

I have several solo exhibitions in development at the moment that I can't wait to share soon, but I would like to keep this hidden for now.

Thanks for your time LaTurbo 〜 Can't wait to see what you will render this year.

Learn more about the whole project here → https://www.materia.ooo/

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