“I've been approached many times to do an NFT and I've always said no until I met GODA,” says Anthony James. “We're doing this for art's sake and it's an extension of my studio practice.”
For the past quarter century the British-born, Los Angeles-based artist has been building a highly technical multimedia sculptural practice incorporating algorithmic lighting, two-way mirrors and metal forms mimicking sacred geometries: three-dimensional objects that give physical form to unity consciousness, the infinite and other secrets of the universe.
“I've been using LEDs in sculptures for over a decade and building computers in the studio to make and animate transmorphic colors patterns to evoke different emotions and engage different chakras, We've pushed the integration of digital systems as far as we can take them in the sculptural realm, but these NFTs allow us to create any color, construct any material, and place them in any location. There are no physical limitations, we're only limited by our imaginations.”
To create the works in this collaboration with the Gallery of Digital Assets, James and his studio are re-investigating the five sacred geometries known as the Platonic solids—the tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, icosahedron and dodecahedron—each of which embodies the respective elemental powers of fire, earth, wind, the water, and the void.
Rather than presenting his iconic Platonic Solid sculptural forms as static digital imagery, James has not only animated his NFTs—from gold framed icosahedrons electrified by white light and floating over fiery seascapes to steel framed cubes lit with gradient LEDS hovering against a crisp desertscape—he's also “gamified” them.
In the world of geometry, there exist five sacred forms known as the Platonic solids, each of which embodies the power of a different elemental force. These shapes are said to be the remnants of an ancient and long-forgotten civilization, imbued with the power of the elements themselves.
The first of these forms is the tetrahedron, a fiery shape with four equilateral faces that embodies the power of flame. It is said that this shape was created in the fiery depths of the earth, imbued with the power to incinerate anything in its path.
Next is the cube, a sturdy form with six square faces that represents the power of earth. This shape is said to have been hewn from the very bedrock of the earth, granting its wielder immense strength and stability.
The octahedron, a shape with eight triangular faces, embodies the power of wind. It is said that this form was created in the midst of a great storm, imbued with the power to move with incredible speed and agility.
The dodecahedron, a complex shape with twelve pentagonal faces, represents the power of aether. This shape is said to have been formed in the abyssal depths of the universe, imbued with the power to draw in and absorb all energy that comes its way.
Finally, there is the icosahedron, a shape with twenty triangular faces that embodies the power of water. This form is said to have been created in the deepest oceans, imbued with the power to flow and adapt to any situation.
Together, these Platonic solids form a powerful symbol of the elemental forces that shape our world. Those who can wield their power are said to possess incredible strength and the ability to manipulate the very fabric of reality itself. But beware, for the power of the Platonic solids can be a double-edged sword, and those who seek to harness it must be prepared to face the consequences of their actions.
While collectors can acquire each of the five platonic solid forms as Tier 1 NFTs, they can also choose to “burn” them—literally deleting the tokens from existence—to potentially acquire newer, rarer forms with additional animations that exist in more complicated and emotionally evocative environments. This burning of NFTs is a direct reference to James's monumental 2008 sculpture, ΚΘ (short for kalos thanatos, or “beautiful death”), which is comprised of the artist's Ferrari 355 Spider that he doused with gasoline and lit on fire in upstate New York only to encase its charred carcass in a garage-sized infinity box.
“Everyone has heard this story, but I took one beautiful object, an artwork in its own right, and destroyed it in order to create a different form of artwork. It could have been a huge failure, but now it's more beautiful,” says James. “Now say you got an icosahedron NFT spinning over water with a blue sky in the background and a tetrahedron with flames or the sun in the background, are you ballsy enough to burn them? To see what happens when you merge these two things together to make one new form for another. Making that transition, taking that chance, is the same as the Ferrari piece, though maybe less dangerous.”
The most adventurous collectors who burn all 5 Tier 1 tokens have an opportunity to create the rarest form in James's game: the Great Stellated Dodecahedron (aka Metatron's Cube).
“It's a shape I've been fascinated with my whole life. It's when you combine all of these five shapes together. It's a very complicated shape,” says James, adding, “Now with every game you get a winner, there are no stalemates in this project, so if you can create a Great Stellated Dodecahedron I want to do something special. It's a bit of skill, a bit of chance, and a bit of good instincts. I guess you have to take risks like we do in the studio. But someone will get lucky. That's just the nature of sport.”