Echoes of collapsing metal ladders, construction and incessant noise flooded Flagler Street on a Monday night as set producers, art directors, audio engineers, assistants and staff prepared for one of Art Basel’s most anticipated multi-day events. Web 3 media giant ‘NFTnow’ & community building platform Mana Common took over 12 buildings and 2 city blocks in Downtown Miami to unite the NFT and Crypto community for a landmark function. ‘The Gateway: A Web3 Metropolis’ erupted a multitude of pop up galleries across 2 blocks to exhibit the current iteration of technological innovation that the world is experiencing and how it ties into art and culture. The event invited walks of all life ranging from experienced experts, art collectors, tech moguls, creators, media and curious visitors to cross pollinate. For 5 days, Flagler Street became a central hub for tech and art enthusiasts to connect with, inform and educate one another.
‘The Gateway’, powered by Moon Pay featured immersive interactions by 9DCC, Adam Bomb Squad, Art Blocks, Christie’s, Clone X, Faze Clan, Instagram, Metamask, Porsche, & WME Agency while boasting partnerships with Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Fenwick, Perrier, Rug Radio and The Historic Alfred Dupont Building. Coveted artists, tech aficionados and strangers to Web 3 stopped by throughout the week in crowds to appreciate the effort that NFTnow and Mana have invested into the inspiring function. Guests were free to stroll down the linear setup and explore various interactive immersions, each varying greatly from the last. From fashion to fine digital art, The Gateway offered everyone something of interest.
2022 introduced NFT technology to physical IRL items and this hybrid was most noted in Gmoney’s impressive 9DCC presentation. Futurist, disruptor & creative director Gmoney is the mastermind behind 9DCC, a crypto-native luxury house and lifestyle platform that reshapes the mold which states fashion and technology can not co-exist. Through innovative 1:1 generative garments that raise curiosity and demand, technology finally finds its place in the world of tangible luxury goods.
This fascinating immersion invited visitors to experience 9DCC’s first collaboration debuting for Art Basel Miami: ITERATION-01. This exclusive release shakes hands with generative-art pioneer Erick Calderon, aka ‘Snowfro'. Snowfro is the creator of Chromie Squiggle and founder of Art Blocks. This revolutionary experience brought together two of Web 3’s greatest artists for a hit piece. The product featured a luxury white t-shirt exclusively made for Art Basel Week and was only available through an IRL minting experience. Collectors took ownership of their 1 of 1 t-shirts on site. All 9dcc products are tied to an NFT that is generated during the mint and is specific to a garment. ITERATION-02, a virtual mint that is more available to the public, is now live on the 9DCC website.
Just next door, RTFKT together with Nike displayed ‘CRYPTOKICKS’, an IRL sneaker that features an auto-lacing upper that tightens on demand and even boasts customizable lights and wireless charging. The wearer will be able to connect their shoes to their mobile device and a built-in NFC chip will allow for NFT communication and digital authentication. RTFKT are the creators of Clone X, a highly coveted Avatar project in creative collaboration with Takashi Murakami. RTFKT displayed their Clone X avatars across detailed LED panels on supporting columns of the well-branded pop up store while guests were welcome to explore and ask questions about the product, technology and ideology behind the futuristic, exhibit-like showcase. The longer you stay at these immersions or even around the community, the easier it becomes to understand the direction this movement is taking art, fashion, music and various other industries.
In an interview with Edge Of NFT Podcast, Eathan Janney catches up with RTFKT community manager, Cas333 for a conversation on how they’ve built their empire around the culture and how his own creative upbringing came about.
“I used to send marketing ideas to Nike when I was a kid via email thinking they would use my commercial and bring me onto their marketing team – but here I am now, technically working with a Nike company.” - Cas333
“The theme again is.. those childhood dreams really can come true.” - Eathan Janney
One building over landed Festival go-ers at coveted digital artist, Erick ‘Snowfro’ Calderon’s beautiful minimalistic Art Blocks gallery. Art Blocks displayed digital work from its highly respected collections that often come with a high price tag. The relaxed atmosphere allowed for conversation around the ironic, colorful and pop culture inspired pieces. Erick bounced back and forth between his own gallery pop up shop and 9dcc’s IRL interactive experience. Snowfro had an impactful presence at Art Basel as the celebrated generative-artist further re-defined how fine-art intersects with digital.
Iconic streetwear brand The Hundreds displayed their latest fashion collection just a few steps over. The Hundreds launched the Adam Bomb Squad NFT project in August 2021 which sold out in 40 minutes and has since accrued 22,231 ETH in total sales volume. Each NFT resembles real artwork once featured on garments or advertisements over the last 19 years. The Hundreds was founded in 2003 by Bobby Kim and Ben Shenassafar and resembles classic 90’s street wear with cool Californian vibes. This implementation of NFT technology is rooted deep in art and subculture which will be two major catalysts for onboarding new community members into Web 3 ecosystems. It is not only inspiring, but refreshing to see streetwear masterminds participating in Web 3. The iconic The Hundreds logo is easily recognizable and most streetwear enthusiasts have a positive reaction upon hearing the signature name. ABS's display during Art Week in Miami showcased products that utilize their NFT integrations from which owners will receive royalties on sales. Adam Bomb Squad has blown us away in the past with their accomplishments so naturally they are under the spotlight for the future.
Porsche makes its Web 3 debut after announcing a 7,500 piece NFT collection for January. The collection will feature unique 911 models that will give you access to a new world of Porsche where the rewards are real and unique to you. Visitors entering Porsche’s pop up shop may have been fortunate enough to come across VEXX working on painting a Porsche 911 hood in real time. VEXX is an accomplished artist with 3M Youtube subscribers and 750K+ Instagram followers that has collaborated with Gucci, Porsche, Puma, Samsung, YouTube, RedBull and other culturally significant powerhouses. Collectors interested in minting an upcoming Porsche NFT signed up for a POAP airdrop on-site to get on the early-access whitelist. Porsche has long been a practitioner of keeping the spirit of motorsports alive through their performance and luxury vehicles, and of course the prestigious Porsche 911. It’s no surprise that Porsche became one of the first major car manufacturers to dive into the NFT industry. We have to applaud the automotive giant on their grand entrance into the Web 3 industry.
Inside The Historic Alfred Dupont Building, NFTnow hosted conversations with Web 3 masterminds like Gary Vaynerchuk, Farokh, Matt Medved, Keith A. Grossman, Spottie WiFi, Swansit and featured dozens of other disruptors and performers. One of the most popular attractions included a vault located on site where digital art hung brilliantly within its walls. A melting pot of enthralled bypassers filled the venue day and night, absorbing visual euphoria, information and making valuable connections. The atmosphere bled creative empowerment - a clear sign that The Gateway had fulfilled its mission of kicking off this new chapter. Ultimately, NFTnow X Mana Common’s The Gateway: A Web 3 Metropolis left us with inspiring thoughts and prominent visions of what a Web 3 future could look like.
Matt Medved met with Eathan Janney of Edge Of NFT to share some more insight on ‘The Gateway’.
“The Gateway is all about this realization, this understanding that the digital world and the physical world in the future are going to co-exist in creative harmony. This is a glimpse into that future and we purposely do it during Miami Art Weeki when there are people from the traditional art world, people from fashion, people from all elements and all walks of culture to come together and experience this. What I really want for The Gateway is for people to come in and leave as inspired as we are.” - Matt Medved, CEO of NFTnow
Web 3 festivals are a relatively new introduction to the public, however they will serve as a powerful accelerator for mainstream adoption of the technology. Decentralized assets like NFTs and Cryptocurrency go beyond their monetary value and can provide a lot of businesses and artists creative solutions to an abundance of outcomes that were once considered impossibilities. It is up to the masses to adopt the intricate tech and utilize it correctly but the community has a responsibility of sharing proper resources with the public to amplify the opportunities that Web 3 can bring. By integrating engaging activations, panels and experiences into IRL events, we can begin to see curiosity rise within larger populations due to exposure. The Gateway had more than just the essentials; the inaugural festival had a serious impact in the art scene and in our spirits.
About The Author:
Joshua Sauceda is a highly-active NJ/NYC based creative director with a focus on progressive photojournalism, documentary, art curation, cinematography, writing and filmmaking. Joshua's recent endeavors include community building, public relations and investing within the web3 space. By telling culturally important stories through media capture and a plethora of other creative solutions, Josh has a goal of empowering motivated creators and entrepreneurs.