The final piece of the GhostsProject Artwork roadmap, the 2D Animation Special Fragment, has been unveiled.
Aside from the audio, I made the animation entirely on my own.
Creating a 3-minute 33-second 2D animation by yourself in just a few months is an absurd and rash plan. The production period also ended up being much longer than I had expected. I'll explain the reasons for deciding to do it solo later on. For now, I'll talk about some other things first.
As you know, this is the end of the GhostsProject Roadmap, the Fragments story. Special Fragment’s opening scene is a direct continuation of Fragments' final cut, number 187. You don't need any prior knowledge of my work to enjoy it. But I did add some details that only those who have seen my previous work, especially Fragments, will be able to appreciate.
Fragments is about an unnamed man facing a disaster. It’s also a story about the “desire to become something else”. At the community's choice, "Evil" won. The protagonist could not escape the mushroom and instead fused with it into a strange form. All wallets participating in the ending vote within a set period were authorized to claim the Special Fragment. This led to 4933 wallets being issued the Special Fragment.
What if “Good” had won the community vote? Instead of fusing with the mushroom, the protagonist would have been able to control the mushroom. It would have been a completely different animation altogether. In the former narrative, the protagonist is thrown into a disastrous circumstance. With the latter, I imagined that he would grow to control the situation. I have an image of the Good-ending protagonist going for a stroll with the Mush-Dog on a leash. Of course, my hands will never draw that version of the story.
In other words, if 'Good' wins, the protagonist maintains his ego, and if 'Evil' wins, he doesn’t. This is at the core of Special Fragment. Such a structure makes sense if you picture happy and bad endings from a conventional point of view.
But what about from the viewpoint of our protagonist, MrMisang?
He's someone who constantly desires to become something else, but has consistently failed. He finally achieved that in the Evil version of the Special Fragment, by becoming Mr Mushsang. Then is the "Evil” ending actually a “Good” ending for him?
Every story from SuperRare - MLIR to KlipDrops-Crevasse is contained in the GhostsProject- Fragments comic, ending with the animation Special Fragment. In terms of the narrative order so far, Fragment#1 is the story’s starting point, while Special Fragment is the latest event. Regardless of which artwork you collected, the unfolding was designed in such a way that you would be able to reach the Special Fragment step by step, through the GhostsProject Whitelist.
Special Fragment is the conclusion of GhostsProject-Fragments. It’s also the ending of the entire body of MrMisang - Phase 1 artworks that have been going on for about two years.🎬
MrMisang - Phase 2 is still under construction, but I’m almost certain it’ll unfold around the concept of 'Theme Park'. I will reinterpret original illustrations that have already been produced, and I’d like to add props to enrich the layers. While I wish to use The Sandbox in Phase 2, it is still an unknown tool to me. I'd like to take the time to explore it. Characters from Phase 1, especially MR MUSHSANG, created as a result of the GhostsProject, will appear in and affect Phase 2.
In Phase 2, I’ll be zooming in on the individual images, rather than dealing with the overarching narrative. I want to blur the links between images and invite the audience’s imagination to fill in the gap. But, as I always emphasize, even I don't know the not-yet-drawn future.
As I've mentioned numerous times, I’ll be providing 12 to 24 small original reward artworks to the GhostsProject community. But I'm not sure whether they should be called “Official GhostsProject” something. Should we call them spin-offs? It’s also possible for all members of the community to add rewards on their own, not just me.
I'm thinking about doing mini-narratives of individual Ghosts that were not covered in Fragments. But I’m still mapping out the specifics. I'm going to take my time and start imagining.
With the exception of these Rewards works, I will not be adding any more artworks to the GhostsProject.
Choosing the content and number of artworks is up to me, but their distribution is entirely up to you, the community. Right now, distribution is based on Ghogame, but I think other methods are possible too. If you have another idea, please make a suggestion through a DAO proposal.
As I’ve touched upon earlier, aside from the audio, I made Special Fragment by myself, without an assistant. My reasons for going solo in the creation of a 3:33-long 2D animation are as follows:
I don't know much about the traditional art market, but this is what I observed in the NFT art scene. Almost all digital NFT artworks can be called a form of animation, with most of them being a 10-30 second loop animation. I'm not saying this is bad. All of my artworks, other than Special Fragment, follow this exact format, and I think most of my future works will do so as well. I suspect there are numerous reasons why non-loop animations, 1, 2, and 3 minutes long, are not published as often as NFTs.
First of all, production is not easy. Then there's also the issue of size limits enforced by platforms. OpenSea's upload capacity's quite tight, and Twitter videos need to be under 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Considering all this, even if you create a lengthy animation that's 3 minutes and 33 seconds long, it seems reasonable to divide it up and mint it in cuts. With Special Fragment, depending on how a cut is defined, there are roughly 85 to 90 scenes. Assuming each is looped, it's possible to create 85 to 90 individual NFTs. Exposing segmented videos for a long time is also much more advantageous from a marketing aspect.
I tried to explore other reasons why long animations are not really published as NFTs. The moment an animated work goes beyond a particular length or density, it's considered more an industrial product than a collectible artwork. At least, that's what I believe people think.
Take Walt Disney's legendary animation, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (hereinafter referred to as Snow White). If Snow White's original artwork is traded as an NFT, everyone in this scene will agree that it is valuable as a collectible artwork. In fact, it's been suggested that the cel artwork of the stepmother handing the poisonous apple to Snow White is worth 15,000 pounds. But if we're talking about the Snow White animation file itself being traded as an NFT, I think it'll be a bit different. (Of course, the story becomes even more complicated when you consider that the animator in charge of the cel artwork is neither the general director nor the original author of Snow White).
Since the original picture is just one of the ingredients that make up the entire animation, the final animation should indeed be worth much more than the original picture of the animator. But at the same time, the animation will not be accepted as an "artwork-as-a-collectible". In other words, the moment an animation piece goes above a particular scale, regardless of whether it's true, people no longer consider it an artist's work but an industrial product* with an unspecified creator. They regard it as a company's creation, not one that is 'truly' the author's own. (This is also true if you look at the purpose of founding a 'company'.)
It's hard to definitively draw a scale boundary, but at least with the current NFT art scene, I feel it's "an animation that is non-loop, and longer than a minute and a half". Per this logic, I think Special Fragment is a big** artwork that's hard to come by, at least within the NFT scene.
*I said "industrial product", for the lack of a better term. I trust that you'll recognize I'm not using it in a derogatory way. You can substitute it with terms such as "popular art" (?) or "commercial art" (?).
**Big in terms of the length and the amount of information, not superiority.
So, how should I go about making a solid claim that this big** piece of work is an artwork, just like other works by MrMisang, and not an industrial product* made by an outside studio or "MrMisang's Team"? The easiest and most intuitive way is simply to do everything by myself. In other words, don't use any structural elements of the animation industry, and make it the same way as all of the other MrMisang works.
I made Special Fragment with my own two hands, just like Modern Life is Rubbish, Crevasse, and Masked Workers. It's just a bit longer. You can think of it as a "very long version of Crevasse".
Of course, I'm familiar with the concept of "writer-as-a-director," which creates better work through collaboration, and that this should be used proactively for particular works of scale. Likely, I will not stick to the current one-person production system in the future. I also think that showing off the artist's asceticism(?) or craftsmanship(?) by announcing, "I did everything by myself!" can feel a little tacky or even outdated, especially in the world of modern art and collectibles. I'm still unsure if my effort was actually meaningful or if it will be well-accepted in the future. Regardless. That is what I did.
The "image field" is currently going through a vast development or challenge called AI. AI-based animation tools such as Stable Diffusion are becoming more and more powerful. It's an incredible tool that I'll definitely try using down the line. But I think as these tools develop, the idea of "something human-drawn" becomes scarce. If you take it to the extreme, I believe we're in the last era where you can convince the value of "drawn by a human (writer)." Of course, I want to actively cooperate with AI in the future and make better things. I expect AI not just to replace my labor but to be a tool that can expand the scope of my imagination.
Despite this contradiction, I'd like to reiterate that this artwork is built by the sheer accumulation of one man's labor. Because this is a value that will be rarer and rarer in the future, as it is in all areas of the world, and it's the right time to try to persuade that value.
Like all Ghost PFPs and Fragments, Special Fragment is CC0 (public domain). Regardless of ownership, anyone can use it for any purpose. You can even piece it up and recreate it. Meeting the CC0 conditions was far from easy, especially for Hwaji (Henceforth called Project GMGN Core Team), who was responsible for the sound work. All the sounds used in Special Fragment are either CC0-sourced or recorded by the Project GMGN Core Team. I'd like to thank Hwaji and Project GMGN for taking on such a difficult task.
Below are my current thoughts about CC0.
CC0 is meaningful when used as an ingredient. For example, I think it's meaningful that Ghost PFPs are CC0 because they can be used as an ingredient called characters. Likewise, it's meaningful that Fragments are CC0 because they can be used as an ingredient called a narrative.
I think Special Fragment is more akin to a complete dish than an ingredient. In that respect, I'm not sure if setting this animation as CC0 has significance. I don't even know if there is a similar case.
But the future is unknown, and I think it'll be best to keep the possibilities wide open. Please feel free to use it. If this work is used, recreated or mentioned in the future, I hope the community will keep the narrative that it was born from the GhostsProject.
A long time ago, I wrote a post claiming that GhostsProject was a PFP Art Project. I remember receiving a mixed bag of agreements and criticisms. Since the publication of Fragments, I have seen more and more people agree with me. Thank you.
Now that both Fragments and Special Fragment are released, let me repeat myself. If people ask, "What is NFT Art?" Please use Special Fragment as an example. Then show Fragments. And then show my other works tied in with Fragments. And then show Ghost PFPs. And then show the spectrum of community-derived works and activities.
This 3-minute-33-second-long artwork. It's obviously not the best short animation in the world.
If I were to rank it, it wouldn't be in the top 1,000 or even 10,000, let alone the top 100. The world of animation is deep and wide and has a long history. There are countless beautiful animations in the world to admire. While I tried my best to produce it, there are quite a few scenes that I'm not the proudest of.
The artist can affirm this because, despite our perceptions otherwise, the world of NFT art is still tiny in proportion to the entire art scene. And at least for now, some quantitative standards are operating within this small world.
Is it produced within the grammar of NFT?
(Or is it a mere transfer of something made outside to NFT?)
Is there a specific narrative?
Is the narrative connected to other works?
(Does it deal with a world larger than the work itself?)
How many frames were used?
How many angles were used?
Do specific characters interact with each other?
When measured against such standards, it's hard for me to come up with comparable NFT works, at least so far. Of course, as a "member of the public", I hope that in the future, more wonderful and challenging works will arise in the NFT art scene. It'll be better if they're made within the Ghost Project community.
I believe Ghosts-Fragments-Special Fragment are solid enough to serve as references when explaining NFT art to the public. How "great a work of art" they are will depend on the viewer. Some will think it's fantastic; some will think it's nothing to write home about. All opinions are valid. But everyone would agree that the formant of NFTs was an essential tool for creating MrMisang's Art Narrative.
I've arrived at the end of a 2-year journey in the NFT scene. One year doing other works, and one year doing the GhostsProject. Including the pre-NFT period, I have spent seven years constructing MrMisang's world. Please remember that all these images are tied as one world, and you have the license and freedom to expand this world in any way you see fit through the GhostsProject and all CC0 works within it.
To tell a story, I think, is to expand upon a lie in various ways that the virtual world exists somewhere out there. All Ghosts are hypothetical proof that MrMisang's world exists. They are also participants in brazen lies. You are Ghosts that, without a doubt, existed in these events. And at the same time, you are resurrected Ghosts possessed by and living as you outside your wallets. That is my lie about MrMisang's world, told through a method called the GhostsProject. I will continue to expand this virtual world in my way.
I'd like to thank OFF and WG for enabling me to successfully complete Ghosts→ Fragments→ Special Fragment, as well as the Project GMGN core team (Hwaji, Limbo Slice, ARCX) for taking on Special Fragment's sound work. Above all, thank you, GhostsProject community and the derivative community Ghost Bar, for patiently waiting for my work.
I will end my letter with a timeline of my works published as NFTs. It'll be straightforward to understand if you look through it with Fragments at the core. I'll regroup and return with MrMisang Phase 2.