“I Am Pushing The Boundaries Of Art and Tech”, Jay Rosen On Bridging Art And Technologyby@penworth
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“I Am Pushing The Boundaries Of Art and Tech”, Jay Rosen On Bridging Art And Technology

by Olayimika Oyebanji December 8th, 2022
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Jay Rosen is founder of Mirror Vision, the founder of the Mirror Vision. He was honoured at the 2021 Art Basel Miami Week for designing the blueprint floor plans for the largest NFT gallery of the year. As a developer, Jay has a shining reputation. He was hired by the O & P Edge to build a database and web application for tracking amputee athletes competing in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics and in 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympic events. He is inspired by Italian Futurism, Dada, Cubism, Neo-Impressionism, Modern Architecture and Modern Architecture.

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The Gainesville-based American artist and software developer is the founder of Mirror Vision NFT Gallery, a five-story glass building(70,29) located in Decentraland’s Crypto Valley.

Jay Rosen has a visible footprint in the worlds of art and technology. In 2021, he was commissioned to design two NFT galleries for the DCentral Miami NFT Conference and was honored at the 2021 Art Basel Miami Week for designing the blueprint floor plans for the largest NFT gallery of the year.

As a developer, Jay has a shining reputation. He was hired by the O & P Edge to build a database and web application for tracking amputee athletes competing in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics and in the 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympics Events.

Read on to learn more about why he believes in the future of art merged with emerging technology in this recent interview with Olayimika Oyebanji.

  1. You were interviewed in 2021 by Bloomberg and Vice at the Miami Art Basel Week. I am genuinely disposed to believe that your ideas piqued their interest in a great way. How do you feel sharing the stage with other builders in web 3 space?

    The key to metaverse success and mass adoption is to collaborate with other web3 builders - not just compete with patents and market domination like web2 companies. If we are to build an interoperable digital ecosystem for everyone, we need to do it together. Since getting into blockchain in 2020, I have been involved with the live conferences and met many of the developers and innovators in the space.

    I am perpetually an emerging artist, the unknown trendsetter - never selling my own artwork or NFTs - but somehow I am Director for art, metaverse and video game projects. Sharing the stage with millionaires and degenerates feels ridiculous since we are all clowns in this endless circus of life.

  2. The intersection between art and technology represents a shift and a milestone in the evolution of art itself. If you were to switch places with someone from a hundred years ago, how would you react to technological disruption taking place today?

    Many of my personal heroes lived a hundred years ago at the turn of the century. I’m very inspired by Italian Futurism, Dada, Cubism, Neo-Impressionism, Modern Architecture and individuals such as Umberto Boccioni, Picasso, Dali, Frank Lloyd Wright, the Wright Brothers, Thomas Eddison, Albert Einstein  - whom all dared to build their impossible dream machines. The Futurists were wild for technology and innovation - many of them died prematurely because their fascination for technology led them to blindly charge into war.

    I probably too would be on that first tank or wooden airplane charging headfirst into a brand new world as I did with building crypto mining servers, going all-in very fast. I feel like some crypto and NFT communities draw parallels to Italian Futurism - rejecting traditional art for pixel PFPs, memecoins, and pushing way for utopian decentralized tech.

    If I had the mindset of a 20th-century American seeing the world of 2022, I would be amazed by the illuminated streets, automobiles, and electric newspapers. I imagine it would be baffling to grasp the concept of globalization through wires, and that there are man-made science labs flying through the solar system taking pictures of the cosmos - let alone the helicopter drone and rovers on Mars.

  3. Let’s talk about Mirror Visionwear. I’m personally thrilled by the fact that it doesn’t require too much effort to understand that it is art merged with technology in one piece of a kaleidoscopic device. What makes it really unique?

    Mirror Visionwear has been my ongoing experiment with light, optics, mirrors, and playing with the invisible laws of nature for the past 10 years. It literally is cutting-edge wearable tech - glass fashion, luxury virtual reality. I began creating wearable ocular apparatuses as a low-tech satire to the Oculus Rift and Google Glasses in 2012.

    The geometric mirrored masks allowed the wearer to see the omnipresent vision - can see ghostly images of their environment superimposed into a natural immersive hologram - a surprisingly twisted 360 vision of the world. To outsiders, the Mirror vision wear appeared as an obscure fashion accessory, reflecting the ever-changing environment on top of the wearer's face in a very flashy eye-catching display.

    When Google Cardboard was announced, I made several prototypes of a mirrored or glass virtual reality headset. This modification allows the VR device to be visible to others, inviting others to see the virtual world projected on the wearer’s face.

    Mirror vision wear has played a low profile in the Anonymous community, being a way to mask identity, and the mirrors make it difficult for computer vision and surveillance to track the subject properly. In retrospect, the semi-transparent mirrored material I have been working with is perfect for Augmented Reality and holograms, as the silvered material allows for projected pixel reflection, both physical and digital - testing the limits of art and tech.

  4. As someone who believes in the vast potential of the metaverse and web 3, how do you define your contributions to it?

With backgrounds as a software developer, cryptominer, and concept artist - I challenge myself and my peers to think of innovative solutions to change the world and our lives through the metaverse. Beyond the MirrorVisionwear art project, I have been quietly involved with several web3 projects including ED3N, Public ArtChain, NFT Hotel, Underworld Technology, and DCentral Conference.

ED3N is developed by Interplay Entertainment Corp. and the creative team behind the recently-announced Earthworm Jim animated series. I am the co-creator and Metaverse Architect for this web3 game. ED3N is intended as a game where players can create life and trade genetic stocks. It is being built with a Grow-to-Earn gameplay that involves terraforming various exo-planets with alien vegetation and colorful bugs.

The project centers around NFT-linked Cans of Dirt hosted on the Ethereum blockchain. Eventually, our goal is to release a companion coin to incentivize trades between players. Similar to Nintendo’s Pokémon or Bandai Namco’s Tamagotchi, ED3N players care for and influence the evolution of their creatures. The game combines machine learning AI with an integrated genetics engine, Pixar-level aesthetics, and larger-than-life simulations of physics.

As for DCentral Conference & NFTs , it was the first DCentral event in Miami 2021. My friend and producer of the event Rob Kowalski asked for help in designing the floor plans for the NFT galleries. This was a fun exercise in using Maya to envision what a gallery would look like with just TVs and LED wall panels. In exchange they allowed me to display my own artwork on the TVs. This month-long scramble to create a nice 3D animated NFT resulted in me transforming my 36 GPU ethereum mining rigs into a render farm to quickly produce the highly reflective 3D scenes. The Prototypes NFT series was on display at the event and led to me being discovered by Interplay.

Public ArtChain is a collaboration with Monochronicle Network, the “AirBNB for public art” connecting a network of 4,000+ professional international artists with property owners and government agencies to create public murals, sculptures, and large-scale artworks. Public ArtChain will add a web3 component to the software stack in an attempt to standardize the Call-to-Artists process via smart contracts, making the contractual payments between artists and institutions more streamlined and easier for international settlements. This also adds transparency and DAO governance to how an art proposal is voted to win a competition.

By having the Call-to-Arts on chain, every aspect of the artwork from idea to creation to unveiling is historically captured in the NFT metadata, serving as a digital twin to real-world art. Digitizing public artworks also allows for artists or institutions to unlock equity or fractionalize shares if used in DeFi protocols, and makes the artwork portable in that they can display their artwork in the metaverse. We are hoping that Public ArtChain can pave the way toward allowing government agencies to possess cryptocurrency and NFTs.

NFT Hotel is a physical structure such as a 12 ft cube of transparent LED walls and projections to create volumetric 3D displays of digital content such as NFTs. NFT Hotel design was first used in a proposal for Sankofa, a public artwork of a digital bird in Gainesville, FL and a similar design is again being proposed to Jacksonville Jaguars Stadium for a digital Jaguar.

Underworld Technology is my impossible vision to build a community larger than Meta, by creating a global network of all cemeteries, reanimating our ancestors through AI and AR using public records.  I conceptualize an app that you bring to a graveyard to help find a specific site and essentially “see dead people” as they walk round their graves, waiting to tell the visitor their story. Surprisingly, cemetery cartography is not fully digitized or searchable online even though the gravesites are capable of being geo-located and coordinated permanently. Not only do I want to have conversations with our past ancestors, but to simulate what it would be like to chat with our future ancestors - to bring everyone together in the Underworld metaverse.

  1. Why are tech giants in a rat race to invest in the metaverse project and dominate the conversation? Do you treat it as a web 3 thing?

    They are investing or building metaverse projects because it is seen as the next phase of the internet.

  1. As a business owner in Decentraland’s crypto valley? Was it a strategic business decision to share the same business district with Binance, Polygon, and the famous tower?

    I first started investing in Decentraland in mid-October 2021, just 2 weeks before Facebook became Meta. I became fascinated with the concept of creating my own architecture and showcasing my 3D artworks in an NFT gallery. I originally was interested in setting up shop in the Fashion District or the Arts/Museum District, but it just felt cluttered and not cohesive. I looked at Crypto Valley as a possible future Silicone Valley of the metaverse, and was lucky to get a plot of land 2 squares away from Binance.

    At the time, there was a large empty reserved lot next to mine for a few months, but one day I logged into the game in  February, and saw the gigantic Tower as my true neighbor. It is an honor to be positioned next to the star destination on the map as that is the HQ for Metaverse Architects Group, the talented team behind most of the metaverse architecture projects. Tower hosts several metaverse fashion events so it does bring traffic.

    For the longest time I was showcasing my own NFTs in my gallery, but now currently running a curated show for West Coast NFT. These are the creative folks behind Doodles - the 10th largest NFT project.

  2. What advice would you give to someone who is exploring web 3 as a starter?

    Research and invest slowly into a project such as dollar cost averaging and never give anyone your seed phrase. A large portion of crypto projects and advertisements are literally scams that target newcomers. The technology and ideas of web3 are revolutionary, but who knows when the revolution will come where people actually use cryptocurrency for daily purchases or interact with smart contracts in daily routines.

    There are plenty of great resources online to learn about web3 - and plenty to avoid! I suggest newcomers to check out Youtube channels such as Coin Bureau who give a good unbiased overview of many projects and good weekly news updates. Avoid influencer channels who seem to be talking highly of crypto projects or only talk about price speculation (without technical analysis) - they are often paid to talk about the crypto project even if it is a pump and dump. Newcomers should look up crypto Media Kit, this is a saved screenshot on Reddit and Twitter which exposes how much these Youtube channels profit from talking about coins.

  3. What does your creative process look like ?

    I am old school and carry around a sketchbook for when the ideas strike. I draw my ideas very quickly and write notes, none of my drawings look finished. My degree in Drawing was more for concept design and ideation so I always enjoy working on brand-new projects and facing the unknown. I tend to go from sketches to making prototype 3D models in Maya and Blender software.

    If the concept art gets approved by a client, I will work on a more detailed version or begin crafting a sculpture with EVA foam, clay, or 3D printing.  I’m not the best craftsman, so I do hire others to professionally craft or fabricate my designs.  For software development, I spend a lot of time creating diagrams in Draw.Io of how the program will work to try and visualize all the ways it could be played. I use most of the Adobe CC apps and lately have been using Canva to quickly create mockups.

  1. What inspired you to establish Mirror Visionwear and how challenging was it to get it off the ground?

    Mirror Visionwear was inspired by my academic research on the emerging genre of light installation art. In college, I was fascinated by the architectural works of Olafur Eliasson and James Turrell, how they use light to induce a phenomenological effect within the viewer. Light is physical and yet illusionary, and captivated my imagination for the different ways to explore its unique properties. Mirrors are typically used in scientific experiments to control light, and so I started using mirrors in my art practice.

    My first Light installations involved using a channel or series of mirrors to create a“Portal” effect in different buildings, to see through the walls like X-ray vision. It was breaking an architectural boundary using optics. I then started creating polyhedron sculptures with mirrors and became obsessed with the Octahedron back in 2012 (this happens to now be the Ethereum logo). I envisioned a fractal of floating mirrored octahedrons in an infinite space and built small 1ft infinity cube boxes of glass to create the visual effect. I realized I needed a semi-transparent mirror on one side to create the illusion of infinity and still be able see inside the infinity mirror box - but when I created a cube of all semi-transparent mirrors is when Mirror Visionwear was discovered.

    The 1st cube was created by accident. I decided to put the glass cube over my head and walk around and saw the world through a whole new kaliedoscopic experience - I was able to see things behind me overlapping with my peripheral and  frontal vision. It was an interesting art performance and scientific experiment at the same time.

    Over time I developed more fashion styles inspired by the Platonic Solids and Virtual Reality headsets. It inspired me to make 3D models on the computer, and the style fit in with the vaporwave aesthetic movement of the 2016. Mirror Visionwear was adopted by the synth-pop band TIME,and they toured with the masks in 150 shows throughout America and Canada. For their 2nd tour they requested a mirror stage built for them, and that is how the Mirror Vision Geodesic Dome was created - a collapsible 12ft modular dome composed of cardboard triangles that could be pieced together into different formations depending on the venue size.

    Mirror Visonwear has been featured in short films Sight Seers, Loading Circle, and the MTV music video Automatic by Lovari. In 2021, I brought Mirror Visionwear to the DCentral Confence in Miami, and subsequently invaded the attention of the media such as Bloomberg, Vice, and entered livestreams of BitBoy Crypto and Altcoin Daily. In 2022, the same thing happened again, wearing the new Mirror Visionwear AR headset in front row as a controversial moment happened during the Blockchain Awards ceremony.

    10. Is the metaverse here to stay?

    The metaverse has always existed, we are just creating more doors and pathways that lead into it. Some doors may close over time, but the metaverse will still be alive and doing its own thing. I believe mass adoption of metaverse will happen by having a killer app or utility such as low-cost Augmented Reality. My personal favorite metaverses are VRChat and Decentraland because these can be played without having to pay, and anyone can play them on older computers as well.

    My Mirror Visionwear AR headsets are an open-source 3D printed design made with inexpensive parts such as PLA filament and raspberry pi. Ideally, the price of the headset will be $20, using your own smartphone as the display and computer. Unlike the Google Cardboard design, the AR design allows for visible passthrough and serves as an overlay to the world in front of us.

    All these tech companies working on AR or VR are targeting high tech for a high price. I believe that lowering the cost of entry via DIY 3D printing will allow more people to enjoy and explore the metaverse from an augmented/mixed reality perspective.  By using the device they already own and are invested in will be easy to pick up and play with new worlds from the novel perspective of 50/50 digital physical.