Distributed Game Engine Fragcolor Makes Space for ‘Endless’ Creation with Artist Pau Roselló

The seemingly never-ending barrage of NFTs has many of us desensitized. But multimedia artist Pau Roselló’s newly launched series ‘Endless’, made possible by decentralised gaming engine Fragcolor, is a drop deserving all of our attention - if we are to keep an eye on the future past quick yield and bull runs. Unveiled today via Fragolor’s smart contract, the thousand NFT art pieces of Roselló’s ‘Endless’ hits the core of the symbiosis between art and technology.

To explain what Fragcolor does, we have to survey the current digital ecosystems. The pandemic unleashed a mass creative migration to online spaces, marking the advent of NFTs and generally a period of rapid changes. It tested our ability to adapt. Flexibility has proven to be key, and as such, it is essential that the digital worlds and languages we continue to build can accommodate for the unforeseen. Though it may be argued that NFTs and decentralised platforms put freedom and agency back in the hands of creatives, providing them with places to be seen and profit from, their architectures still represent limiting frameworks that artists have to function within, given they have limited control over the formation of these structures.

Test still from Endless by Pau Roselló

Fragcolor observed these changing landscapes and decided it wasn’t enough. Instead of just offering the podium for digital creatives, Fragcolor is building a platform that hinges on artists creating the tools and infrastructures needed for their creations. With a background in the gaming world, Fragcolor is on a mission to “build the engine for a distributed gaming ecosystem.” Fragcolor realised there is a theme in the problems and obstacles that decentralised systems can pose. As with NFT-platforms, decentralised games counter-productively end up being restricting. They rely on complex existing software, limited by the server’s capacity and a lack of interoperability, amongst other things. As a result, they don’t offer creators the same incentive to unleash their imagination.

Enter: Pau Roselló as a case-study for this coming out of the visual arts world. Roselló is a multimedia artist currently based in Santa Barbara, who has been working with computational art and generative graphics for all of his career. For artists like him, the storm of NFT-platforms has enabled a shift from working as a graphic designer or software developer, to focussing more on an artistic practice. Yet as Roselló points out, this does not mean that the online spaces for artistic creation always cater to the needs of artworks.

Test still from Endless by Pau Roselló

For ‘Endless’, Roselló used fragment shader software. Describing it in layman’s terms, Roselló explains that “shaders are like the most basic way of creating graphics on a computer. You just create a code that tells each pixel what colour it should be with just have few inputs for each pixel; its position, the time and what colour it should be.” Almost like a game of Connect Four, but with more colors and changing shades like a chameleon’s scales depending on the time of day.

Going further into his explanation “crypto has enabled us to directly share the shaders with people and they can have the full experience. I don’t have to think about creating a video loop or static image that looks good. I can just focus on creating a shader that’s going to run for, say, two years and look different each year - I can explore these endless opportunities.” The only problem: that not all NFT-platforms accommodate for all the technicalities needed for every type of generative art. Even with the advent of NFTs, Roselló still was without a place to showcase ‘Endless’. Enter: Fragcolor.

Where Fragcolor and Roselló coincide is in the drive to create the digital tools for absolute freedom in creative expression, in a way that makes the most of what new technologies can offer us. Roselló captures this perfectly: “I like creating the tools to create things that right now we cannot create. Right now you would not be able to write a poem in virtual reality, so what would that even look like?” It speaks to the very heart of why digital art is so exciting. It pushes aside boundaries posed by material constraints and sensory experience. So as such, like Fragcolor and Roselló illustrate, we should absolutely be aiming for the digital environments we build to be embedded with creative freedom.

Test still from Endless by Pau Roselló

Fragcolor has found in Roselló the perfect artist to call upon for this task of building out virtual worlds. Roselló is fascinated with the process behind visual creation. Although Roselló has entered the NFT space fairly recently, he was immediately recognized for his talent. @thefunnyguys, three brothers with a strong passion for collecting generative art, especially from upcoming artists, were among the artist's first collectors."Pau grabbed my attention with his Rythme 1 piece, and I was amazed at how he digitized the original artwork by Robert Delaunay. He really elevated the original! I love that he doesn't ignore but embodies art history"one of them shares.

Taking inspiration from all those who have used forms of science as a basis for creativity, Roselló looked to Swiss architect and artist Max Bill for his series ‘Endless’. Bill’s work ‘Fifteen variations on a theme’ shows the various ways of visualizing a specific pattern, Roselló took these and created the code to make a thousand endlessly morphing shapes. It’s an adaptation made possible solely by new technologies, begging the question whether Bill had done the same had he been born fifty years later.

Roselló’s deceitfully simple compositions represent a love for the act of carefully thought-through creative expression. It reveals the countless microscopically different ways one can go about making something, only to end up with the same result - hours of work concealed behind the finished product. Our digital environments aren’t necessarily much different. For Roselló, and many other artists to come, Fragcolor is here to facilitate as well as showcase the process behind digital creation. “The beauty is trying to create complex things with simple tools. If you’re going to make a sculpture with just a pencil you’re going to have to think a lot.”

Endless is released October 5th at 18:00 EST. You can learn more here: https://paurosello.net/endless/#/

Written by
Nina Lissone
Nina Lissone is the Junior Curator at Electric Artefacts. With a background in journalism and researching counter-culture in the digital arts, her main interests revolve around disembodied context and narrative-building in the Internet Age.

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