More than a cash grab, design studio UVL is rolling out a unique “choose-your-adventure” styled NFT project this week.
Consisting of three key components, the voyage of "Axis Mundi" begins on June 6, with a 72-hour open edition mint where users can acquire so-called Energy elements. An open edition mint refers to an unlimited number of NFTs in a collection.
These elements were created by new media artist Jason Ting and sound designer Pelican Sound, and appear as 20-second video loops of light and liquid.
The mint price is set at 0.009 ETH, or roughly $16 at today’s prices.
The sale of Beings, the experience's primary NFTs, is slated for September at an undisclosed price.
The Beings NFTs can evolve too, but users will need to burn their Energy NFTs to do so. To move from its first form to the second, for example, users will need to destroy five Energy NFTs.
The final component is a much larger, collective work that generates art based on the various interactions between different Beings in the virtual world once the experience concludes.
The experience will unfold over the next 8 to 12 months, across eight chapters.
"Chapters are designed to maintain community interest post-mint,” co-founder Alexis Foucault told Decrypt. “We have a well-structured, pre-planned experience in which all collectors can participate."
At the conclusion of each game chapter, NFT holders will be presented with decisions to make for a few days, with one-click decision mechanisms adapted to the brevity of collector attention spans. "The decisions you make, however, will have a significant impact and will not necessarily be easy," he said.
"The principles of gameplay are embedded throughout the experience," Foucault told Decrypt. “Collectors are urged to step outside their comfort zone and transition into active participants.”
Depending on the personality and psychology of the participant, various paths and experiences will begin to intertwine. "User decisions will shape their journey and the NFT they own," he said. Foucault draws a parallel with the interactive storytelling format popularized by Black Mirror's "Bandersnatch," where viewer decisions determine the narrative's course.
In a move to amplify the launch, UVL is also curating an immersive audiovisual installation for this week’s Non-Fungible Conference in Lisbon.
Axis Mundi breaks away from NFT trends
"We aimed to create an emotional project based on NFTs that encapsulates everything we love," Foucault told Decrypt.
Influenced by a myriad of artists and mediums—ranging from Neri Oxman and Giacometti to Avatar and Pokémon—the duo is constructing an NFT experience that bridges the gap between art, cinema, and gaming.
This gamified mechanism also pays homage to the NFT projects launched by artist Pak, as Foucault acknowledges. "We often reference Pak, and it's entirely intentional. Lost Poets, for instance, has a principle of gamification and mystery that has always inspired us.”
He also cites influence from other collections like OG Crystals, Shibuya Studio, and the GNSS collection of the artist MGXS.
The NFTs are crafted through a 3D algorithmic generation process, using AI software Stable Diffusion. The result is an artwork with a sculptural rather than graphical quality.
"We sculpted the silhouette as if we were molding a digital sculpture with biological and organic materials," Foucault said.
Though there may be money to be made on the project–it is after all an open edition mint—it certainly isn’t the niche’s typical NFT drop.
And that’s the point.
"We wanted to create a collection with a completely novel aesthetic, breaking away from trends and presenting a refreshing and intriguing universe, both aesthetically and narratively," he said.