We are aware that this is both an incomplete response (in that it does not offer a definitive solution) and risks brushing off the bigger issue with reassuring lip service.
But we believe that purposeful commitment and transparency is better than silence. We have been working on a deep survey of the space and the wider impacts of technology, from data storage to machine learning and the associated carbon costs. A detailed assessment of exactly what our footprint looks like and a contextualisation of the wider space will be published this month.
Along with the assessment illust will be discussing these issues with climate scientists, UNEP, members of the Protected Planet initiative and .
Artists, musicians and figures within the crypto community. They will join these discussions to provide an expanded debate around both the NFT space and the Anthropocene.
The result will be a series of longform blog posts, data visualisations and community exploration of what is and what isn’t and hopefully what should be.. Many of the upcoming projects/collaborations will all attempt to investigate what the role of the creator might look like and how technology can be an agent of amelioration as well as annihilation in our current position. At least two of the artists we are working with have pledged a large portion of any sale to these causes (on top of the existing illust pledge)
What we are doing right now.
Commitments, actions and practices already in place. This is an always expanding working set of rules we hope to improve as we develop.
- Committing 1% of all profit to selected NGO’s and charities actively attempting to find solutions/help us survive.
- Illust already uses our own side chain pre-processor to handle bidding and the auction mechanics, limiting the processing other platforms require. We are actively investigating other consensus models and expanding its functionality.
This side side chain is being expanded and will act as a bridge across emerging chain ecosystems. Our Smart contract structure have been set up with this in mind.
We will be using carbon offsetting to ensure our footprint is as minimal as possible. We are aware that this is the traditional ‘out’ large tech uses to make users feel better but on investigation we decided it was better than doing nothing.
We are actively testing and experimenting with various L2 scaling options, the debate of stake vs work notwithstanding it is in our remit to find better ways to operate.
Each exhibition and curated auction will have a portion of the smart contract available to contribute further to the organisations helping this field
- We will limit the on chain activity as much as possible, rejecting open editions and large runs. Not only because it is ecologically unsound but it is artistically shallow and ultimately greedy.
- A less ‘tangible’ aspect is that all of Illust’s NFT’s are AR and able to be displayed on the map for everyone to see and interact with. We see this as the difference between a private collector locking up masterpieces and a museum allowing free access to everyone. While that doesn’t have an exact metric in terms of green use emissions it is the difference between many people enjoying and seeing and one person hoarding.
- Illust is motivated by the very real potential of Smart Contracts, combined with Geolocation, Augmented reality and the generative power of data.. we believe it has the possibility to produce an entirely new medium, one that takes music, art and narrative into new spaces and new modalities. WIth this in mind we select all of our collaborations, exhibitions and platform partners as those who will take that further, not simply enforce old orders and cash in on fleeting trends.
- It is the invention of new modes that ultimately creates change and eventual paradigm shift we need to progress.
The Purpose of Illust Has Always Been –
To give creators and artists a direct and immutable ownership of what they produce and provide transparent and continuous revenue streams from the primary sale through the secondary markets (translating into income, provenance and we hope, a ‘space’ outside of the clamour of attention, stylistic emulation and lowest common denominator thinking that so often burns out our brightest) + See David O Reilly
To begin the colonisation of the persistent digital layer we already find ourselves living in. We believe that the best first foundlings of any paradigm are always the artists, new thinkers and culture creators. In part this is to safeguard the creators against the inevitable aggressive take-overs of giant carless conglomerates (FANG). The landgrab is occurring even before most of us saw land. And an artist armed with the immutable features of blockchain technology will be a much harder thing to simply copy/absorb, than on that is not. As most brands and ‘innovative’ tech companies are won’t to do. Conversely Allowing artists to create upon this layer offers paths to ways of being in them that simple market economics mostly ignore. Perhaps we are creating fossils, but recall how much the ideas of the world and our place in it where shaken when we discovered this the first time.
Beside these more ineffable aims we are working on internal technical developments we believe are fundamental to an open ‘meta verse’ – amongst them are a chain based standard for 3D meshes (the lingua franca of these realities), an open platform agnostic system for populating the AR layer, a way to display, navigate and curate this digital place in actual geo-phyiscical space. And to do so in a way that is open to everybody and not restricted by legacy systems.
Why state what sounds like wordy intro to a corporate prospectus in a statement on the environment? Because all of these goals are predicated on the existence and the continued development of the human project and this ‘space’ we hope to reclaim- this ‘space’ is where we live, the pale blue dot, our spaceship earth hurtling through the vacuum outside. And despite the cosy warmth of hero archetypes enlisting space slaves and Serbian savants to save us. We are at precipice. We were at a precipice before the Paris Climate accord, Greta Thunberg, the civil war caused draught in Syria. Before the spikes in human to animal virus’s and the paucity of hope when it comes to antibiotic discovery. Before wan images of polar bears drifting into iceless seas, and plastic bags lapping against beaches of dead turtles, we have been here for longer than we care to acknowledge. We were already dancing at the edge of the volcano, back when Silent Springs sold millions, and small rainbow hued boats tilted at whale hunting windmills.. It is not rescue, or a miracle technological breakthrough that will save us, it is not even billionaire category mistakes that will ferry us off this dying planet that will help. And as hard as it is to swallow, it is not the choices we make as consumers or conscious individuals. Rather it is the collective pursuit, open minded acknowledgement of new ways of creating, the new tools they produce and how they come to shape both us and the paradigm.