Meet Rare Volume, The Artists Behind the Aquarius Collection
We’re excited to introduce you to the artist collective, Rare Volume, who took on the task of creating the Aquarius Collection, which is the very first Synesis Metaverse Collection of 10,000 word-art-NFTs pegged to AI!
According to the team at Rare Volume, what made the project fun was being genuinely surprised by the results of their generative design work. Coding a system that employs randomness as a design element brings with it a sense of wonder when viewing the output from the system.
Rare Volume has worked to create the NFTs that are so central to Synesis One.
Who is Rare Volume?
Rare Volume is a design and technology studio based in New York City. They collaborate with brands, agencies, and institutions to create environments, events, and digital platforms. Their process is design-led and incorporates user experience thinking, broadcast-style motion graphics, data visualization, custom software development, and inventive applications of technology.
Their past projects have included creating design and software for news agency Reuters; an interactive exhibition at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center celebrating 300 years of New Orleans history; a brand showcase for Samsung 837 featuring immersive installations and a three-storey video wall; and a live, real time audio visualization of an AI-generated symphony performed at The Louvre, Paris for the launch event of Accenture Strategy France.
Introducing the Team
Rare Volume is made up of a collective of brilliant artists from a variety of backgrounds. They are humble, technologically savvy, and bold.
Andrew Bell is the Technical Director and co-founder of Rare Volume. He’s also the creator of Cinder, a C++ creative coding framework. Cinder is used for the creation of graphics, audio, video, and computational geometry. It has official support from names such as macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Windows UWP. Andrew’s also worked for the ad agency The Barbarian Group, and on visual effects and interactive graphics for Adobe, Method Studios, and The Mill.
Robert Hodgin is Rare Volume’s Interactive Director. He’s also the founding partner of the Barbarian Group and co-creator of Cinder. His work ranges from 2D data visualizations to immersive 3D terrain simulations. His interests include theoretical physics, astronomy, flocking simulations, and audio visualizations. Robert’s spoken at conferences including Eyeo Festival, Tedx, and FITC. He has a degree in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design (where he also guest lectures). His work has been shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum, McLeod Residence Gallery, San Francisco Exploratorium, and the San Francisco Independent Film Festival, amongst others.
Alison Keiley is Rare Volume’s Head of Production. She graduated from Boston University. She has previously worked at Girls Incorporated, a non-profit that empowers girls through direct service and advocacy, breaking down gender barriers. She has also worked at the Barbarian Group and Guild, an interdisciplinary creative agency.
Jonathan Kim is Rare Volume’s Creative Director. He is a multi-disciplined designer who has split his career between the worlds of broadcast and interactive design. He has created award-winning work for clients including Samsung, Disney, WarnerMedia, Nike, Audible, Reuters, MTV, National Geographic, ESPN, etc. At Rare Volume he oversees all creative aspects of studio work, encompassing strategy, UX/UI, design, motion, and CG.
The Process of Creating Generative Art NFTs
Both teams at Synesis One’s and Rare Volume began the process together through a series of meetings. At the intial meeting Rare Volume which Synesis One guided the aesthetic vision by informing Rare Volume on aspects of select design themes. By the third meeting the a number of he team began by deciding on an overall aesthetic incorporating geometric prints and lines, bright colours and imagery relating to coding and internet aesthetics. They then built a system with this in Houdini, creating a series of generative patterns that can be combined randomly to create unique outputs. The patterns included simple dot grids, complex algorithms involving quadtrees, blue noise, and shape generation in a blueprint style — full details on the parameters and rarity system will appear in a future article. Many members of the Rare Volume team have extensive experience of creative coding- meaning they are very familiar with using algorithms to create complex and beautiful imagery- so these algorithms became the palette to create NFTs.
“All of these generative patterns rely on a single seed variable to inform the algorithm. Furthermore, each pattern receives its own seed variable which drives the color, alignment and overall intensity of the effect. We did further analysis of the words behind each NFT image to determine their synonyms, antonyms and definitions which we incorporated as visual elements in the background of each image,” explain the Rare Volume team.