Xu Bing: The Metaverse is the test ground for the growth of Dishu, and it is an excellent soil for Dishu to evolve and mature.

Participate in Xu Bing’s Metaverse language experiment through MetaWords NFT.

Xu Bing: The Metaverse is the test ground for the growth of Dishu, and it is an excellent soil for Dishu to evolve and mature.

Artist Xu Bing © Xu Bing Studio

A few days ago, news came out of the digital collection circle: The Book from the Ground by artist Xu Bing has been cast into NFT and will be auctioned on the Lion NFT platform. After many twists and turns, we contacted Xu Bing, who was busy with two exhibitions in Beijing. However, Xu Bing doesn’t seem to care about NFT auctions. In the exclusive interview, what he talked about the most was a kind of “new excitement” – for Xu Bing, the important thing is that the work “Book from the Ground”, which has been accumulated for 18 years, has opened up the possibility of rapid growth again this year.And NFT is just a copper ring that knocks on the door of this possibility.

“The Book of Earth NFT, or MetaWords as we call it more accurately, is not a finished work, it is constantly growing. Everyone who buys a MetaWords NFT not only owns a character collection, but participates in a Metaverse. language experiment.”

In the Meta era, the opportunity for the book to upgrade the meta language

We noticed that the MetaWords project started much earlier than Facebook’s name change. In this regard, Xu Bing said with a smile: “It’s probably just a coincidence that they are both MetaWords.” However, “Book from the Ground”, the basis of MetaWords, is indeed Xu Bing’s art project since 2003.

At that time, Xu Bing summed it up as a period of “living between regions”. Xu Bing, who frequently travels between her New York studio and various curatorial locations around the world, spends most of her time at the airport. Before the iPhone was invented, airports were almost a microcosm of globalization. During the waiting period, a large number of symbols filling the airport caught Xu Bing’s attention.

“It was exciting to see the identification symbols in airports, and to be able to communicate so efficiently and trans-regionally in such a globalized space and time, and I started collecting these symbols.”

As a conceptual artist, Xu Bing has a certain innate sensitivity to “growing materials”. “I think these symbols have a very strong vitality and ductility.” This vitality comes from the efficient transmission of information by the symbols on the one hand, and on the other hand, thanks to the rapid progress of standardized industrial production, more symbols have been incorporated into the super-regional consensus system.

Next, Xu Bing spent ten years creating a wordless book “Book from the Ground: From Point to Point” using these symbols.

“Book from the Ground” tells the nine-to-five life of a white-collar “little black” with symbols throughout. This book can be read by anyone involved in contemporary life, regardless of their cultural background. In other words, as a natural person familiar with modern life, one can understand the story without the need for other language media—for example, translating into Chinese first. If you go a step further and are an emoji lover, you can read Xiao Hei’s life almost at a glance, and let out a knowing smile.

Xu Bing: The Metaverse is the test ground for the growth of Dishu, and it is an excellent soil for Dishu to evolve and mature.

“Book from the Ground” text © Xu Bing Studio

The mainland Chinese version of “Dishu” (the word “version” is also somewhat out of date. In fact, no matter which country or region the “Dishu” is published in, except for the statutory publication information, it is the same.) by Guangxi Normal University publishing house. Xu Bing specifically requested that the legal publication information be printed on the translucent girdle, so as to at least ensure that the book itself is “wordless”. But the only regret is that the listing information classifies “Book from the Ground” as “art” – “I prefer to classify it as a novel,” Xu Bing said in a previous interview.

But in any case, the expressive power of “Book from the Ground” as a special language has been verified. Since then, Xu Bing has curated with the theme of “Book from the Ground” for many times, piled “Book from the Earth” into the Tower of Babel, or created a three-dimensional book version of “Book from the Earth”, constantly enriching the extension of “Book from the Ground”.

This abundance has touched a singularity of order of magnitude development this year.

“Over the years, the expressive power of “Book of the Earth” has continued to expand with the addition of more identifiers. But what excites me is that the Metaverse has brought Book of the Earth into a stage of faster development and application. Just as materials give art new possibilities for expression, the Metaverse is a testing ground for the rapid growth of Books of the Earth, and an excellent growth soil for Books of the Earth.”

Xu Bing: The Metaverse is the test ground for the growth of Dishu, and it is an excellent soil for Dishu to evolve and mature.

Xu Bing’s exhibition at Shanghai Pudong Art Museum © Xu Bing Studio

Regarding “Excellent”, Xu Bing explained it this way: the production environment of language has always been “local”, but the essence of the Metaverse is to break boundaries, and it is a “global time and space” that is completely different from the past. In such a world, only a new language system based on identification, high recognition, and high consensus can be used by groups that transcend regions and regions.

It is precisely such an opportunity that Book from the Ground has taken on a new growth force and evolved into MetaWords. This is a large-scale expansion of the language system of Book from the Ground. And more importantly, this beam of light from the Metaverse illuminates another identity of Dishu/MetaWords – the language infrastructure of the Meta era.

Open, Scarce, Growing Metaverse Infrastructure

Not long ago, Lion Holdings Group, the parent company of MetaWords publisher Feishi Studio, released its Metaverse project “Lion World” with a high profile. This NASDAQ-listed company focuses on providing Chinese investors with a wide range of products and services, especially in NFT casting, issuance and trading services.

Xu Bing: The Metaverse is the test ground for the growth of Dishu, and it is an excellent soil for Dishu to evolve and mature.

MetaWords official website: metawords.io

Collection players close to Flying Lion Studio revealed that another main reason why the industry is looking forward to MetaWords is that “it has many innovative ways to play”. In this regard, Xu Bing said that the consideration for the exclusive authorization of Flying Lion Studio to issue MetaWords NFT is also that “The Lion Group is better at pulling more communities into the MetaWords universe”.

“Gameplay is the word you can use. For me, it’s the openness of MetaWords,” Xu Bing said.

At present, “Book from the Ground” already contains nearly 1,000 identifiers. More symbols can be collected and supplemented by Xu Bing’s team, or created by the aborigines of the Metaverse. “I prefer the latter, which is closer to the pursuit of ‘conventional conventions’ and ‘universal texts’.”

In the elaboration of “Book from the Ground”, “Putian Tongwen” is a high-frequency word. Obviously, if there is a possibility of the same language in modern society, it must be the identification symbol system. We have experienced “Esperanto”, a language that is created and needs to be learned again, and is destined to be difficult to achieve the ideal of universal language. But the identity symbol is different, it is existing, not created; it is already agreed, not constructed.The habit of reading pictures in mobile media further lowers the cognitive threshold for identifying symbols – if you have not regarded reading symbols as a daily routine.

Xu Bing hopes that with the help of Flying Lion Studio, more aborigines from the Metaverse will participate in this infrastructure construction campaign. To a large extent, this is also the original intention that led Xu Bing to cooperate with Flying Lion Studio to explore the NFTization of Dili Books.

In the MetaWords project, the auction transaction in which Xu Bing has created the characters of “Book from the Ground” is only one of the basic subsets. Xu Bing revealed in an exclusive interview that he and Flying Lion Studio have developed “creation tools” that allow players to easily use MetaWords to create their own expressions and works. Of course, in order to ensure that the characters are aesthetically and logically coherent, the characters created by the players need to be reviewed and verified by Xu Bing Studio. After that, the players can auction the characters created by themselves on the Lion NFT platform, which is the same as that in Book from the Ground. The characters are the same.

“The oracle bone inscriptions used more than 260 symbols to complete various narrative scenes of sacrifice, divination, and history writing, and there are many more modern symbols.”

Importantly, these symbols can grow into “infinite works”. Players can use MetaWords to write short poems, or some advertising slogans. Built on the abstraction and artistry of MetaWords, these works are also undisputed creations. And these creations can also be auctioned on Lion NFT.

Therefore, it may be better to understand MetaWords as a kind of language infrastructure in the Metaverse era. Using this infrastructure, an “art explosion” belonging to the public began in the Metaverse.

The following is part of the interview transcript of Planet Daily and Xu Bing:

From “Xu Bingtian Book Number” to “Dishu NFT”, technology seems to be the catalyst for your creation. In your eyes, what is the relationship between technology and art?

There are many perspectives to illustrate the relationship between technology and art, which is a fundamental question.But in terms of my creative practice, what I care more about is the influence of material technology on art.

In a word, the evolution of technology or materials has changed the expression of art. The earliest calligraphy appeared on bamboo slips, in the style of official script. Later, with papermaking, calligraphy became more expressive, because the emotions conveyed by brushstrokes on paper could be clearly perceived. Now, in the era of screen reading, there are few useful options to express emotions with paper and brushstrokes. The material became a bit symbol, so now we just have to choose the font. Isometric or serif, or handwritten, is also a kind of emotional communication on the screen.

In a broader sense, the relationship between technology and art may be a philosophical dialectical relationship.Technology is a kind of rational thinking, and its essence is to seek uniqueness. Technology does one thing: sorting. It ends disorder and constructs knowledge. In the realm of technology, everything is organized and orderly. Art is not. In my opinion, the biggest proposition of art, especially modern art, is to disrupt and destroy the order. Modern art is “anti-intellectualized”, and it is necessary to create something that cannot be classified and classified.

Only by shuffling the ordering can a certain looseness be created. In a loose environment, opportunities for creation and development arise.

What is the relationship between MetaWords and Dishu? What is the difference between Dishu NFT and other artwork NFTs?

MetaWords is a metalanguage experiment project based on Book from the Ground, which I authorize the Lion Group’s Feishion Studio. MetaWords is the language of the Metaverse, you may recall that Facebook changed its name to Meta recently, but our name actually predates Facebook. MetaWords as a language system is definitely larger than the book “Book from the Ground: From Point to Point”. But its essence is born out of “Book of the Earth”, and it is a sign language.

You feel that the book NFT is different from other art NFTs. I think it may be necessary to return to the relationship between art and technology. “Book from the Ground” is a project that I started working on in 2003. Over the years, the expressive power of “Book from the Ground” has continued to expand with the addition of more symbols. But I don’t think Book from the Earth really had a place to mature until the Metaverse. Just as materials give art new possibilities for expression, the Metaverse is a testing ground for Dishu’s rapid growth, and it is the best soil for Dishu to grow.

The production environment of a language is always “local”. But the nature of the Metaverse is to break boundaries. We suddenly have a “global” space-time. In the Metaverse, any language is classical and local. Only a new language system with a high degree of recognition and high consensus based on logos is the Metaverse. Book from the Earth provides the basis for this language system, and it is only in the Metaverse that Book from the Earth can grow into MetaWords.

Back to your question, maybe DiBook NFT feels different from other digital collections because DiBook NFT, or MetaWords as we call it more accurately, is not a finished work. It is constantly growing, and every person who buys NFT books not only has a character collection, but also participates in a language experiment in a Metaverse.

Book from the Ground is a project you started in 2003. This year, “Book from the Ground” also came of age. In the past 18 years, we have experienced from globalization to de-globalization, from the mobile era to the Metaverse era. What is your new understanding of Book from the Ground?

There is no new understanding, there is new excitement. Around 2003, it was a period of time when I lived “in between” regions. When you need a lot of international travel, you will feel that the airport is the epitome of globalization. I am naturally sensitive to growing materials. The so-called “growing material” means that I think it will have a lot of future space for interpretation and creation. At that time, I was very excited to observe the identification symbols in airports, in such a globalized space and time, to communicate so efficiently and trans-regionally, and began to collect these symbols.This is the “Book of the Earth” project.

You mentioned the transition from globalization to de-globalization. Instead, I think the direction of the world is helping me supplement the meaning and value of Book from the Earth. The consistency of industrial civilization production has established a consensus on identifying symbols around the world. In the mobile era, the core is to read symbols. You turn on your phone and all you see are symbols. These are the basis for the language of the Book of the Earth.

What are your expectations for the Metaverse? What will art in the Metaverse age look like?

What is contemporary art (something that cannot be classified in the old concept). The Metaverse has the characteristics of contemporary art. In the Metaverse era, it is meaningless to say what art is, and it is meaningless to analyze the Metaverse with old concepts.

The Metaverse further expands the concept of globalization. In the past few years, we have seen some ebbs in globalization, but I believe that this trend will only be a short-lived historical stage, or it will be replaced by other forms. I am even more looking forward to the Metaverse as an opportunity for us to re-see the value of globalization, and even encourage everyone to further embrace globalization.

As for art in the Metaverse, I think you might be trying to define a new concept with an old category. The Metaverse itself is a big art. Its overall and future nature all meet the requirements of the core essence of contemporary art. I always say that social creativity is much stronger than the creativity of the art system itself. And the Metaverse, in my opinion, is such a social creativity that is more alive than the art system.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/xu-bing-the-metaverse-is-the-test-ground-for-the-growth-of-dishu-and-it-is-an-excellent-soil-for-dishu-to-evolve-and-mature/
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