_______ _                                    _  _   
        |__   __(_)                                  | || |  
           | |   _ _ __ ___   ___ _______  _ __   ___| || |_ 
           | |  | | '_ ` _ \ / _ \_  / _ \| '_ \ / _ \__   _|
           | |  | | | | | | |  __// / (_) | | | |  __/  | |  
           |_|  |_|_| |_| |_|\___/___\___/|_| |_|\___|  |_|  


We've built a generative on-chain NFT which changes rendered svg constantly according to block frequency.

This is Timezone #4 of Temporal Secessionism, an ongoing investigation into alternative temporal infrastructures.

The verified contract can be found at 0x832a2a8f1F1397A63Bf4209c0a3d637ACC50FcB6, and is an edition of 32. Please mint them only if you like them.

Opensea Collection

An Introduction to Temporal Secessionism

Temporal Secessionism started two years ago as a self-initiated project by Nascent. Who or what is Nascent, anyway? We describe Nascent as:

An EXIT TECH production studio investigating alternative infrastructures. Delving into the nature of games, economics, and consensus systems, we create theory-based computational experiments and tools to prototype technological secessionism and spark discussion about the base layers of current stacks.

Originally founded as a laboratory for infrastructural and economic experiments, we developed a stronger theoretical focus for the last two years.The entanglement of capitalist modes of production, time measurements, and consensus systems is for us an ongoing research field, beginning with the question of how to formulate a generative and affective position towards decentralized ledgers as new forms of temporality, and/or new temporal regimes. According to (post-)Kantian epistemology, time arises within (and is constituted by) the boundaries of a subject's cognitive apparatus. As we increasingly rely on time systems based - either conceptually or mechanically - on different technological strata, we must also realize that these systems make explicit the fact that time - far from being a single objective metric of reality - is a socio-technological construct: a way of forming consensus regarding our accepted version(s) of reality and the ordering of events in it. If the process of creating time systems (and the mechanisms by which we count them) is always bound to social or technological processes (themselves stemming from our base cognitive apparatus), many questions arise: how do different time systems reliant on metrics outside of the dominant one arise?

What mechanisms are already in place to create different modes of time calculation and management? On a broader scale, how do these temporalities co-exist and affect each other? Examination of existing metrics reveals various systems already at work at the core of technical infrastructure today: differing consensus-finding mechanisms as differing mechanical temporalities, all running parallel to each other. As we have written elsewhere:

The development of timekeeping practices from sundials through to mechanical and digital clocks, alongside the ever-increasing precision of digital clock-time, can be mapped to progressive instantiations of globalised capitalism's control mechanisms in a manner that is both fairly non-controversial and the subject of extensive historical analysis and research. As such, this will not be our focus here. The development and instantiation of blockchains and DLTs - the focus of our efforts in this brief text - appear to have upending the power distribution of the post-Y2K digital, globalised time cyberspace: time, instead of being passed down a tree of hierarchies unilaterally from centralized timekeepers to other digital machines in a network of temporal command-and-control, is now produced as the outcome of equally permissioned network nodes participating in a series of games in order to agree on a shared history, referred to as consensus.

Consensus-time thus appears as a sidestep from the veneer of capitalism's 'smooth progression'; perhaps the beginning of a novel regime of techno-mediated temporality defined not only by a change in power distribution, but also in its machinic self-contained-ness, as well as its ability to forgo the need for a single globalised standard to function, instead arising as networked instances of mutually-independent, decentralised time systems.

In the last two years we have created a series of temporal secessions in collaboration wirh Amy Ireland via objects resembling digital clocks. The mechanics of these objects stem from explorations of the confluence of computer science, mysticism, and decentralised technology. They were placed in the 7th Athens Biennale and the ISKRA DELTA: The 34th Ljubljana Biennale Of Graphic Arts, and functioned as catalysts for a different experience of the passage of time.

The resulting sculptures - Timezones 1, 2, and 3 - displayed a webapp streaming data from various data sources including a simulated Paxos Algorithm, Mined Blocks and Transactions in the Bitcoin Network, and the fluctuating frequencies of a simulated quartz crystal. They also tried to map existing temporal infrastructure onto a familiar scheme of time counting - the surface and hands of a clock face.

Timezone #4

Asked by Plaza Protocol to develop a fourth iteration, we focused on an on-chain artwork, reducing the dependence on sculptural elements, interfaces and self hosted infrastructure. The ability to generate image files - i.e. SVGs and Bitmaps - in the smart contract itself is crucial to us. Since the advent of the NFT standard, artists are now experimenting with Solidity (the programming language of EVM) as a creative coding language. The digital materiality of the medium is really being considered; smart contracts - being turing machines - can not only generate and execute other formal languages but also generate any file formats natively. With Timezone #4 we wanted to generate artwork which is always changing its metadata and animation without relying on an external data source: a self-contained, immanent visualisation of time in a global network of computation only bound to its own temporal infrastructure. Temporal secessionism in its purest form.

Looking at what the EVM can intrinsically recognize leads to Opcode 0x42 and 0x43 - the current timestamp of the last block and the current block number. With saving the deployment block and timestamp of every NFT it becomes pretty easy to calculate the average time per block. In this sense the contract always predicts what the blocktime is to the scale of a second. Whilst this will sometimes deviate somewhat from the actual blocktime, it will still give an understanding of the changing temporality of chain rythmes. In other words, the contract calculates the average blocktime from each token's time of minting, and translates this into a svg animation, thus giving the user of Timezone#4 an intuitive understanding of a pulse – a morphing motion. Every single NFT has an individual minting block. Because of this, every pulse is different in the beginning but through accumulation the blocks merge together in an endless process, one that will literally take forever. Every request to view the metadata might also change the animation (in practice, especially right after the token is minted).

The visual attributes of the contracts are generated completely on-chain through the individual token ID, and the blockhash which is used for each token's individual color scheme. There are 32 of these tokens, 7 of them have been distributed to people who have contributed to the project over the last several months. We first presented the project in a talk at Projekt Atol on 22.11.2021 in coorperation with 0xSalon and SUM Journal. Special thanks to: Tjasa Pogacar, Amy Ireland, Penny Rafferty, Wassim Alsindi, Anna Greenspan, Kei Kreutler, Johannes Wilke and everyone who contributed :)