Part 3: Superchief Gallery NFT and Their Future in the Clouds
By Rebecca Rose
Rebecca: To recap from our previous article in the series, we discussed the overhead a traditional gallery has to consider when showing NFTs, onboarding artists and collectors into the space, advancements in digital canvases and displays a gallery can use to exhibit works, and some of the hurdles, lessons, growths, and triumphs along the way. We’re once again joined by none other than Superchief Gallery’s Ed Zipco! We’re excited to talk with Ed for this NFTS.WTF interview series about traditional art galleries entering the NFT sphere and a slew of additional crypto art topics. To pick up where we left off, a lot of the fear and volatility comes with crypto and the uncertainty where the space, markets, and industry will lead. Still, there’s also a concern with the permanence, or as some would argue, the impermanence of NFTs like what we saw in late June, early July with Hic et Nunc. Many of the earlier works minted on Hic et Nunc before their V2 contract upgrade; the works are there but can’t be bought, sold, or traded until the artist swaps those NFTs to the new contract.
Rebecca: Yeah, if I remember correctly, in June or July, they found an exploit in the original contract where certain coders were able to take an early Hic et Nunc work from WTF DAO member XCOPYART and either reproduce it under the same wallet address as XCopy or make it look like it came from XCopy when it was, in fact, a fake, so they had to rewrite the contract which caused all NFTs minted before that date to not have the ability to be bought or sold until swapped to the new agreement. They’re still visible on the site, but they’re not tradable, which can be troublesome for certain artists’ provenance who minted their genesis pieces there. But it raises many questions about the impermanence of NFTs relying on different platforms if some of them are fundamentally changed or become defunct. Events like that could only highlight the impermanence, that uncertainty, that worry, that fear traditional art collectors entering the crypto space might have asking questions like how long will this last? Will there need to be a digital migration at some point? With most digital and time-based media, the work usually has to be updated to retain its accessibility.
Ed: What the solution is because you’re so correct with the provenance issue of their genesis- unless the artist just rebrands it as their reissue, but that’s a little bit of a problem. I think there’s a history of this crazy shit happening, especially with crypto, so yeah, it’s the wild west. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Hic et Nunc, and it only looked positive, so I feel sorry for them that they’ve gone through that nightmare. But, these are the growing pains that each one of these communities is going through. It’s not anything that they should be chastised for beyond this being the name of the game when starting stuff out, and the amount of things that TopShot and Nifty Gateway has had issues with, I think from an emotional standpoint, it’s a moment where people can cut them some slack. I think it’s an opportunity for them to find out what their community and artist base wants them to do, is my advice. And the ability to change from the ground up and not from the top down on how to rectify and figure it out.
Rebecca: My husband is a Hic et Nunc artist. He was one of the early adopters with low objkt numbers, and he falls into that group of artists that can’t trade anymore because of the new version unless he swaps it to the new contract. But it’s interesting to consider NFTs minted on platforms that might encounter difficulties or, at worst, go defunct in the future and what that means to the permanence or impermanence of NFTs in general.
Ed: We have to trust that the people who are made aware of these things inside the industry are deadly serious dealing with this shit, and those are the people who shouldn’t be pretending that it isn’t there. The general audience that knows five words of crypto talk and doesn’t follow anything but reads the headlines and makes all of their emotional religious decisions about that headline, I’d worry. That’s the thing to be careful about.
Rebecca: So my next question is, what about the metaverse? How do you partner Superchief the physical gallery IRL with the metaverse?
Ed: We’re excited; we’ve been having excellent conversations with Decentraland. We’re really happy about it. They’re giving us some land to set up Superchief Gallery NFT in the metaverse. We are presently working with them on a really exciting project with the NY artist Dustin Yellin. We’re working on this project; he’s going to be the first and central artist for our sculpture garden, so we are dedicating our sculpture garden to him and his project for the foreseeable future. We may be given more land to have a second sculpture garden, but this one is really all about Dustin’s project. His boat is a giant oil tanker turned on its side and straight into the earth, and we’re bringing that to the metaverse.
Rebecca: So was he able to create a volumetric capture or a 3d sculpt of it?
Ed: We got the plan approved, so we’re literally working with them and their dev team now to create this unique structure. I’ll give you some news; we’ll leak it with you. It’s the tallest structure in Decentrland, and they’re actually going to break all the rules for us. It’ll start by touching the actual fog, the cloud level, and it starts at the peak, which is the highest you can be in DCL. And we’re doing a level two or an upgrade where we’ll be able to bring you into the cloud level. Where you can see in the clouds and be present in the clouds, the second upgrade is we’ll have a way to show above the cloud level, to unveil something extra special above the clouds. We’re very excited about it. We’re getting some very prominent land to do it in. The goal is it’s all based around environmental impact, and this is to create a location built to host environmental discussions. We’re unique in our relationships in the NFT world, where we work with the other marketplaces and platforms. We are not a standalone silo; we are like an island with bridges, so we curate for MakersPlace, we curate directly with Opensea, and just signed our contracts to do the same thing with SuperRare. And getting tapped into Foundation to complete the set. What we do is we curate for them as a featured drop or a featured release of the week like SuperRare, and we do an exhibition in person at the gallery to give their community an opportunity to connect with our community in the real world. It’ll be monthly with each group so they can beat that drum all throughout the year and bring their community together. And we’re able to do it each weekend with a different partner to continue to bring all those communities together into a bigger IRL NFT community.
Rebecca: That is groundbreaking, literally- you’re in the clouds! So would the cloud level be open to anyone, or would it be a proof of attendance protocol where you need verification to connect and gain admittance up there?
Ed: We’re doing special events where you need special protocols, but the goal is to allow the most amount of people up there to engage. Because this is about environmental education, and the art itself is about the death of oil and the new world that we’re building. So this opportunity is like Superchief Gallery NFT working with Dustin to create an agnostic location for different peers in the industry to come and talk. So people from SuperRare, MakersPlace, and Opensea can come and talk about the environmental initiatives they want to be pushing forward. And the opportunities that make this a location to continue that conversation.
Rebecca: That’s fantastic.
Ed: I’m so glad you asked; I guess we’ll leak the news to you!
Rebecca: Thank you for sharing! That is huge. Because Decentraland has height restrictions and CryptoVoxels has height restrictions. Wow. Where people are fighting for parcels of land, you own the clouds. You own the sky.
Ed: That’s the idea. It’s a very exciting opportunity to take that shot and make it about something positive. Make it about something that’s a very real situation for the whole industry, and this is a place where we can have groundbreaking talks, the conversations that lead to more. So that’s what we’re doing with the opportunity. We’re very, very fortunate. We’ve been working on this for over ten years. Building these communities, building these relationships and to take ten years to be in the right place at the right time, it’s something we’re just taking really seriously. So we’re working on it for 16 hours every single day. It’s all very exciting, and it’s awesome, and it keeps us invigorated, but it is that moment. This is zero zero; what can you imagine you’d like to do? That’s the idea.
Rebecca: Thank you so much, Ed, for that profound initiative and for taking the time to discuss the past, present, and future of Superchief Gallery with NFTsWTF. We’re so grateful for the dedication and time you and your team put towards building the NFT space. This interview with you has been an honour!
Photos courtesy of Superchief Gallery NFT’s in-house photographer, Neesmith Onzeur
Superchief Gallery NYC is a pioneer in the NFT gallery sphere and is located at 56 East 11th Street in NYC. They have worked with digital artists for six years and recently committed to the digital art frontier by opening the world’s first physical NFT gallery in NYC in March. Please visit www.superchiefgallerynft.com