Proof of Work

A series of tokens linked to precise measures of abstract artistic effort.

Associated with each token is a video and an image; each graphic pixel in the image corresponds to one keypress, and the video documents the process of production.

Each token is a unique 1/1, and is minted through a custom contract with a fixed limit of 50 tokens. The first edition, Binary Random, sold out May 20. Three initial explorations released on OpenSea in March 2020 are also sold out.

Blue Duration is the second edition in the project. Time elapsed between keypresses modulates brightness of colour, with the aim being the production of an image of solid colour. The series was produced daily and ended when one image could not be completed in one day.

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Contract: 0x44b34f318aaec7d71e81400acf659d18aa75e7a7

1x1 Blue Duration

Proof of Work 1x1 Blue Duration
Token ID: 10
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0m 16s 1280x800 mp4 view

2x2 Blue Duration

Proof of Work 2x2 Blue Duration
Token ID: 11
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0m 20s 1280x800 mp4 view

4x4 Blue Duration

Proof of Work 4x4 Blue Duration
Token ID: 12
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0m 32s 1280x800 mp4 view

8x8 Blue Duration

Proof of Work 8x8 Blue Duration
Token ID: 13
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1m 05s 1280x800 mp4 view

16x16 Blue Duration

Proof of Work 16x16 Blue Duration
Token ID: 14
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4m 07s 1280x800 mp4 view

32x32 Blue Duration

Proof of Work 32x32 Blue Duration
Token ID: 15
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15m 01s 1280x800 mp4 view

64x64 Blue Duration

Proof of Work 64x64 Blue Duration
Token ID: 16
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56m 12s 1280x800 mp4 view

128x128 Blue Duration

Proof of Work 128x128 Blue Duration
Token ID: 17
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4h 24m 1280x800 mp4 view sample

Blue Duration Process

Time between keypresses dictates the intensity of the colour; darker = faster, lighter = slower. The artist aims to fill the canvas with even colour, but as the scale of the task expands this becomes increasingly difficult.

The varying shades of blue that appear in the image attest to the manual process of production; dark pixels signal a slipped finger, bright blue ones moments where the artist is lost in thought. The production process is a sort of mental challenge, a meditation, and a moment to reflect on the nature of artwork created through the computer.

1x1 Binary Random

Proof of Work 1x1 Binary Random
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0m 11s 1280x800 mp4 view

2x2 Binary Random

Proof of Work 2x2 Binary Random
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0m 11s 1280x800 mp4 view

4x4 Binary Random

Proof of Work 4x4 Binary Random
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0m 6s 1280x800 mp4 view

8x8 Binary Random

Proof of Work 8x8 Binary Random
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0m 14s 1280x800 mp4 view

16x16 Binary Random

Proof of Work 16x16 Binary Random
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0m 46s 1280x800 mp4 view

32x32 Binary Random

Proof of Work 32x32 Binary Random
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2m 18s 1280x800 mp4 view

64x64 Binary Random

Proof of Work 64x64 Binary Random
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8m 53s 1280x800 mp4 view

128x128 Binary Random

Proof of Work 128x128 Binary Random
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37m 52s 1280x800 mp4 view

256x256 Binary Random

Proof of Work 256x256 Binary Random
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2hr 52m 12s 1280x800 mp4 view (section)

512x512 Binary Random

Proof of Work 512x512 Binary Random
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10hr 43m 16s 1280x800 mp4 view(section)

Binary Random Process

Images are generated in a custom software, which receives keypresses and fills in the colour of a graphic pixel. The generation process is recorded, and video of the process is included with each token.

The artist attempts to enter values randomly while generating the image. True randomness is difficult even for computers to produce, and coupled with the visual feedback, patterns and structures appear in the image that attest to the manual process of creation.

Series Info

Proof of Work a series of explorations mapping physical effort to digital image. Tokens are minted on a custom contract under token name Proof of Work, with a hard-coded limit of 50 tokens.

The series references the durational work of artists such as Tehching Hsieh and the anti-retinal work of Marcel Duchamp. Expanding on these ideas, the series results in works that visually attest to the precise amount of work required in their production.

The series continues the artist's exploration of software guiding physical gesture. In the artist guides performers to gesture and move via smartphone-based graphical instructions. In A Heart From Space, participants draw shapes with their GPS positions, using a shared interface to arrange themselves in a field.

In Proof of Work, the scale is reduced to keypresses, but the principle remains; the software defines a gesture which the human must provide; one graphic pixel, one keypress. Each set of images in the series starts with a 1x1 pixel canvas, and doubles each day until one image cannot be completed in one day.

In Binary Random, the artist aims to produce random values, which is a task even computers struggle to achieve accurately. The artist inevitably fails at producing true randomness, patterns appearing in the image which attest to the manual process of creation.

In Blue Duration, time elapsed between keypresses maps to intensity of colour. The artist aims to produce images of solid colour, but this challenge is also be beyond the reach of the human, small variations in timing becoming visible in shades of blue.

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Jonathan Chomko is an artist working with and against technology. His works examine the seam between the physical and digital worlds, exploring how digital forces act upon the physical world, and how physical phenomena are modulated as they enter the digital realm.

Public works have been presented in Bristol, London, Tokyo, Austin and Paris, working in collaboration with city councils and festivals. Installation works have been shown at the Sydney Opera House, the Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, the London Design Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Works have been commissioned by institutions such as the UK Space Agency and Historic Royal Palaces, and have been supported by the Conseil des Arts de Montreal and the Canada Council for the Arts.

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