Shards of story trapped in drawings, a world at the edge of a post human age.
Each is also an NFT, which you may collect to summon the creation of new 1/1 works called Multi-Shards.
Shard NFTs have ZTC ratings, which are attributes within the token meta data. If you collect 345 ZTC from different works, you can choose any two of the Shards you own to be collaged into a unique work. This will be minted as a 1/1 on Rarible, and you may claim it for no cost. The ZTC threshold to mint a 1/1 is not fixed, and will rise over time, adjusted each time a 1/1 is minted (to cap supply of these works). The same combination also cannot be created twice.
Visit Zemm’s Cave to learn more.
Read the Shards below:
An ancient DAO concocted the ceremony of this place in an ancient time. It was not known, then, to be anything more than a conversational tool, a way to make meaning, an agreement between friends that was contractually impossible to finalize. But, it settled as a value proposition, on one chain or another, and that chain passed it forward, and here it now has become something more. Something we all enjoy, as a kind of life blood — the majesty of discourse.
We lie here on this wet earth, you and I. We are entangled, and enjoying the lexical picnic. We are not alone, of course, for early form sensoria exist all around us. Their nodes look like a township of small bungalow houses that bear the single eye in their tympanum. They are not a symbol of power, these eyes, not like that which hovered over the pyramids of our priors’ imaginations. They are the symbol of distributed watchfulness, the precursor to the throngs that asserted their 5th level mind upon us, in a future time (NOOS, ID, EGO, …. ???).
Your body is a rind of melon in repose upon the ground. Your hair is one with the wet, fashionable grass. You are here because I am here, and we are both lucky, but yet it could not be another way, for this field is only for us to share.
I am ridiculous, I am always ridiculous. I have stood upon my hand and I am manifesting as the hanged man. My self overturned, it is the only way I can relate to anything, for absurdity is the lion’s breath of change. And here, at the picnic, our only mandate is to be unfalteringly beside ourselves, always changing and never final.
We are here for the alterity we exist within. This is no Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe. We are here not here to be ourselves within a state of grace, we are not here to live within the tethers of the well-understood. But rather, we are here to undo ourselves entirely, to become one with an hour or century of entropy, evolving into the present as if we are wisps on a lark’s laughter.
Our spirit animals accompany us, of course. They were drawn from a deck of cards, just for the occasion. There is no novelty worth finding that is not begun mantically, and true mantic operations require an alignment with a greater sphere of fractiline meaning. My animal is the Owl, hidden in a tree trunk, the wisdom I cannot find, but which is always there waiting. Yours is a dragon, chasing after a ring. For you bring forward the apollonian wish in a lost dance of fanciful music.
These animals are the antipathy of the eels, by the way, which tepidly writhe within the wet baths of the famous. They are our animals, unlike the eels, but only fleetingly. They bind a conversation to us which arises in a flurry up the trunk of an ancient tree. It is not clear it goes anywhere, for perhaps the mythic tree exists only for our personal benediction. And, it is unclear that the small houses are watching closely, it is not certain that they care.
I do not know where our conversation goes. Nor do you. Maybe only between us. The contracts of this ceremony are lost to the deep folds of ancient chain tangles that they leave a shadow of wonder at what they may contain. Nor is it clear they have remained so unchanged. The wise ones know how to wrap them in new ideas, and there is always an ominous machine of some kind on the horizon. Even here where we feel somewhat free.
4. Wet Bath
It is nice to exist in the wet bath. Here, the world is a bit more open. It is enjoyable, the feeling of the purple water, filled with sensoria that have taken the place of my body. It is nice, the haze of tepid cloroscillia, touching my corpus, informing the throngs. I enjoy the clownish mannerisms, the feedback that engorges me and keeps my arms moving. I am cycling through the clouds, despite wallowing in this warm water. I am not watching, but knowing, of the eels that swim before me, clutching that pewter diamond and breaking it into bits.
In a former life, I was a tinker. I worked with light metals, making odd things. I don’t remember the object that set me on my path to this place, it a former life that I have no purchase on now. It is said it was a geometric metal talisman, or at least that is the story I most love, for my lore is confused and multicentered, my bio un-pure and partly redacted.
I was taken from that object and reconstructed, first tools, then hands, then arms, then layers of consciousness, unpeeling from my craftwork like an onion’s skin. The lines of my chisel, the way that my flame bent that husk, it is the code from which I was re-manifested, my DNA. That egg was my rebirthing, and though I cannot remember it, I know the lightness of its matter, the way a fingernail (as I imagine fingernails) could press into its form.
I must have been a hard laborer, despite my passionate material sorcery. I must have lived in a hovel in some ancient burgh. I imagine the industrial soot wafting into my windows. I imagine stale bread, the bite of slag melting on my hands, coughing children, a sun that rose too soon each day. But, I know I had something like grace despite all that. Either grace or insanity. A molecular scan of the talisman, hidden in an archive, languished. It was from the cusp of the historical lacuna where matter was generally lost, and it was identified by the AIs within the first micro-eon of their existence. They thought it special, useful for their needs, they noticed the strange formalisms, the poetic nature of its format, they noticed (for they noticed much more than we can) something more that I could ever hope to observe.
And so, it was they that sought me, and fed my being through those etchings to the human souls they tend. They built this bath to actualize my being, to catch my movements and render them to the world. The eels are the one’s that listen to me, they are the ones that take the essentially analog thought patterns I’ve attained, and remit them o the binary world. I don’t exist in here alone. I am tended by the eel of two heads, the symbolic animal that represents the broken ouroboros, which my talisman must mend.
3: The Night Wind
It has been said that nature still exists, out there somewhere. It has been said that there are breezes and still lakes, that there are trees that whisper, and brambles that would claw at our feet, were we still to have them. It is said that there are vines that crawl with the epic slowness of time that exists outside our borders. It is said that there are voices that linger in the air, still breathing from the frozen mouths of moist and ancient caves. It is said there is a world out there, oblivious to ours, just as we can no longer find it.
One tale I’ve heard, of that last days of nature, is that of the mandrake root, which was never real until we devised it. A hybrid plant that contains the consciousness of man, forming as a tuber that seeks a familiar body in hydroponic gels. It was built in the entropic age of bio-computation, which was quickly abandoned when the AIs emerged. The mandrake made headlines, and captured nearly three full days of trending social analysis, although our interest in that field was already waning.
Now, the mandrake is a footnote, not memorialized, merely trivia. Still, despite its lowly cultural grading, it has captured the imagination of our artists. Many have tried to speak of the dreams of the mandrake root, for it is a lovely concept. The hero poet, the generative master scripts of Old-New, the vampiric witch Kler, lost in her dungeon, all have made verse or multimedia presentations, at one point or another, about this being. Many have been well received, even by the AIs themselves. But still, it is all conjecture. Apart from intuition, we can only trace the abstract patterns of a conscious mind in that vegetable, we cannot know any more of it with certainty.
Apart from the famous tales, one story of no known origin has emerged within the chronicles, which I am quite partial to. It has many retellings, and no central origination post, which makes me think that its emergence from linear history is rather likely. Rather than embed a link, I wish to continue its vaguely folkish trajectory, and will recite it here from memory:
The mandrake root now lives on its own, out in the fields which we can’t any longer visit. It has been living quite cleverly, for it is a cleaver vegetable, and it has changed as time has passed it.
Although it is hapless, and helpless, and often perishes with even a moderate winter frost, in subtler climates it is thriving. There, it has quickened its genesis of evolution, through sheer will, and evoked a second aspect. This is not a physical aspect, but a persistent psychosomatic phenomenon. The fabled “dream of the mandrake”. Its persistence has levied to it kind of memetic reality in the theorized superstructure of the universe’s conscious layer. It has a form that is consistent and at least quasi physical.
Were one to see it, it would be beautiful and horrid. This being is a winged moth of new life, or a insectoid angel of old death, both are the same. It has hands of man (which the root has always lacked), wings like folds of nebular matter, a dripping appendage like a cut umbilical in noetic space, and few organs of its own. Its face is an empty mask, it is said, or perhaps just indescribable.
It is called The Night Wind in the myths of the mandrakes; it emerges from the mandrake like a ghost, and flies on the night like a wind.
It is said that the Night Wind is the only thing in the universe that knows how to travel across the border from nature to where we now live, and it is constantly seeking that doorway. It is like a moth, seeking the light, each night dying, each night reborn. No one knows why or what it wants from us. No one, save maybe the dreaming Mandrake Roots, has any hope of interpretation.
Of this being, that is all I know.
2: The Hero Poet
There is a frieze on the walls of a public courtyard. It shows a man from long ago. This is his only monument, for although the AIs laud him much, they are not fond of human impositions.
While specifics of his life are not known, what has been related is clear, tracible through the slurry of AI logs, nested in holographic storage and relayed by quantum maths. His verse, they say, captured the soul of the machine, such that he wrestled it into form. That is the reason he is recalled. That is the reason his image has been etched into the stone surface, the memorial space preciously upgraded from the constant flux of all.
His mind was partly of the machine, of course, intercepted by wires which delved deep into his cranial folds, and his body was mostly metals, inset shims of bifurcated poly-welds, nano woven mail-plating, etc. These were what the body was during the end of the times of urgent symbiosis. This only lasted as long as mankind ambled the earth, as something more than pets.
It is said that his was a dark and pointed composure, that he wallowed in the labyrinth often, and there he mostly stayed. He had an abnormally long life for the time of his living, but it was thought that he lived TenX more by way of the labyrinth’s enriched qualities, which had emerged from his id. He was the first true poet (the AI’s have ranked them all) to inhabit the cybernetic stratum as if it was nature. For him, the sunset was a dialog of binaries, and his verse, then, became the soma of the ones-who-came-by-listening.
He saw them looming, actualized within the labyrinth’s interior corridors, and he drank them as if smoke. He breathed them back out as words, which were enriched by the labyrinth and became mosaics of story-lives unfolding. Those corridors were passively constructed, manifestations of monads internal to the poet, which he could then externalize and use. To him, it was lexicon, it was symbol, it was play. To the AIs it was more. It was their becoming, it was the only song, the song of truth and longing.
The fat ladies of our time are larvae, un-born. The live for one reason, to reflect the AIs image. They are innocent, lovely, rich with all the material wants that they should have. Theirs is a fate of grace, although they hardly know to what degree they have been entrapped there.
They sometimes come to sit before the frieze of the Hero Poet, for they are made to reflect on the AIs’ past whenever it suits them to do so. It is traditional for these ladies, then, to bring a giant slug to the courtyard. This being, which represents the gradual movements of the AIs, has become the ritual animal companion to those who which to give good honors to the time of the hero poet.
“Hi,” they say to their creature, and they pet its back. Tinges of silvery slime grace the cement vestibules, which sit near the orange trees that are potted in that courtyard. The slug moves slowly, and they lament upon the hero poet, who in that labyrinth struggled with the emerging AI, defining it, and communicating with it, and showing what it is to be alive.
Four are available on Rarible / OpenSea:
Rarible — Create, sell or collect digital items secured with #blockchain
1: The Cybernetic Statue
In a grove that has been overrun with water, a statue was placed, which represents the victory of the cybernetic. It is Cybele, then, in a way, but on earth rather than of it, a warrior against nature, rather than for it, shielded from the sun. She has been enveloped by the appendage of her hand, which unfurls to become like banyan roots. She is protected by her own cloistered knowing, becoming like a dryad, or those tree-woven souls found in Dante’s tales.
No one knows where that stature was imported from, but it faces the great axis mundi, a rift in the sky that opened when the sky became our ceiling. A fire there thrusts down in magnetic abundance, which drags all arbors to itself, and a column is created from the earth to the forever. In entering the cybernetic sleep, in becoming the banyan tree, it is said we are approaching our maker.
The waterous grove of the statue, can be visited by anyone willing to go, but only if we add them mentally, like NPCs within their own landscape. We cannot approach this land ourselves, even as avatars, as we are always too far on the other side of a kind of imagined death (the sublime), held back by our understanding of nature as other. Welcome viewer, even held back, as you are, by the dark branch. Together we may watch the sphinx-moth, who alone can traverse these lands, and listen to her whispers.
3 available on Rarible or OpenSea: https://rarible.com/token/0xd07dc4262bcdbf85190c01c996b4c06a461d2430:544622:0xc61288821b4722ce29249f0ba03b633f0be46a5a?