PAK: The (What?), The Myth, The Legend
April 2022 Featured $WHALE Vault Gallery Artist
Pak has spent years cloaking any human online presence in order to create a level of brand mystique heretofore unseen in the NFT space.
Pak challenges paradigms of ownership and the intrinsic nature of value, melding visual art with digital and blockchain performance art — adapting the newest technologies to integrate NFTs with creative token mechanisms and staging an online presence as a layer of smokescreen.
Pak weaves a shroud of minimalistic mystery while getting a message out with content or directive ranging from vague to pointed — usually both concurrently.
“This is not a mask. This is an identity.” — Pak, WealthSimple podcast interview
Does Pak just play up the intrigue to enhance demand? Does Pak even need to?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Either way, Pak’s prolific digital statements fetch some of the highest prices in NFT history.
Pak is the highest valued living artist in the world.
On February 9, 2022 Pak sold the Clock NFT to become the second-highest grossing single NFT ever at USD $52.7 million (Beeple, who Pak is credited for bringing into the NFT space, holds the top-grossing NFT record for his Everydays — The First 5000 Days at USD $69.3 million).
Pak’s highest-selling NFT, “Merge”, generated USD $91.8 million in sales in December 2021.
Merge is part challenge, part game. With only one NFT being able to exist in each wallet, the smaller mass is absorbed by the larger mass should one be sent, bought or transferred to a wallet. This creates a game and challenge since someone with a rare colored Mass can have theirs destroyed by another user sending a larger mass to absorb it. This presents a challenge; sell your mass or build it bigger to defend it and increase the cost of an attack? Merge set the record for a primary sale, selling over $91 million to 28,000 users making Pak the highest valued living artist. — Justin, WHALE moderator
But Who Is Pak, Really?
“‘Who are you?’ is a simple question that always comes with an expectation.”-Pak, WealthSimple podcast interview
No one knows who or what Pak really is, though investigative reporter Alex Palmer claims that he has the answer (and quaintly describes Pak’s work like “artwork in a museum on Mars.”)
Google did bring up an ancient phone number with a Turkish country code linked to Pak, so that may be a hint to Pak’s national origin. The first name Murat which has been dropped from usage serves as another pointer to the Turkish connection.
An undated profile on the Awwwards site where Pak served as a judge gives a succinct description of pre-NFT Pak:
“Murat Pak is one of the leading designers in the worldwide motion design communities. Studied design, visual communication and communication theories; after a long quantitative background. Currently doing three PhDs in New Media, Design and Interaction/UX. Showcased and featured in many major design communities such as Vimeo, IDN, OFFF, Motionographer, GraphicDesign, Fubiz, Designcollector, Shots, Stash, Computerarts; besides numerous magazines, festivals, publications, installations and interviews. World Wide finalist/shortlisted of Vimeo Awards, 2010 and 2012.” -Awwwards
Now that the NFT space is a thing, though, Pak has transcended limitations of identity and disciplines to become one of the hottest and most significant artists in an industry whose sales reached around $25 billion dollars in 2021.
Pak’s first NFT was “Cloud Monument Dark” — currently residing in the $WHALE vault. It was dropped to SuperRare on February 3, 2020.
#cryptonative is “medium native,” in a general sense, taking crypto as the medium. When cinema happened, best authors didn’t just become best directors. When video games happened, best directors didn’t just become best developers. So don’t expect best visual artists to become best crypto creators. That’s not how it works.” — Pak, WealthSimple podcast interview
Some might agree with that in a rather acerbic manner.
Pak literally sold one red pixel to the Museum of Crypto Art for 29.1262 ETH two years ago.
But that’s nothing.
Twitter user BOUBBHA.ETH made an important point why one pixel sold by Pak is comparable to IRL artists painting pure white canvases and selling them for USD $20.6 million:
…so though it may be the case with art meant to make specific statements like… one pixel… to call all of Pak’s art “stupidly simple” is patently incorrect.
SOME PAK PROJECTS
In 2014, Pak created Archillect, an AI Internet bot that assimilates social media data to share its own content on Twitter and Instagram. As of press time, the Twitter account had over 2.8 million followers.
ASH and BURN
Pak has an entire cryptocurrency ecosystem — Burn. Its token is $ASH.
The amount of $ASH community engagement within the Burn ecosystem is phenomenal. It includes a wealth of fan-founded Discord servers, Twitter threads/spaces galore and even a free Ash Wednesday email list rounding up $ASH and Burn weekly news.
As a treatise on $ASH isn’t within the scope of this article, check this thread from WHALE ShortsHoward to learn more about $ASH…
Though there were some painful gas issues affecting this drop, read about the accountability and responsibility Pak and Manifold displayed here regarding the issue.
Fomoverse was definitely a snark drop: 1,234 NFTs sold out in nearly 2 minutes and are all just one white diamond set on a black background. Floor price at press time is 1.9 $ETH.
The Fungible Collection (including the aforementioned grey pixel) was a Sotheby’s sale for which some tokens demanded engagement as well as purchase. The sale yielded a total of $16,825,999 USD between April 12 and April 14.
Through this collection, Pak scrutinizes our understanding of value. What does value mean, and from where does it derive authority? Core to the collection is the Open Editions, which allow collectors to purchase as many fungible cubes as they wish during the sale period for a fixed price. As the collection reveals itself over the course of the sale, Pak continues to challenge the collector community with this question of value while simultaneously providing a unique journey into and through digital art.” -Sotheby’s
“Aeons ago in The Library of Babel, the dusty shelves of a room contained 65536 poets that were all waiting to be discovered ab aeterno. In this fractal labyrinth, these forgotten poets from 1024 different origins roam between their hidden 256 selves.”- Lost Poets website
Lost Poets is a collectible and strategy game that sold its initial 65536 “pages” within one day. Collectors were able to convert pages into poet images or keep their tokens in their original state.
Due to the ambiguous directives of the project, there was a “grass is always greener” element in the choice.
Lost Poets is currently in the Act III stage of the performance, so that choice is no longer available and origin airdrops have been initiated to holders. Pages can still be “fed” to poets and generate 2 to 4 words at random to alter poet traits. Check out the Lost Poets website to learn more.
In August 2020, Pak released “X” on Nifty Gateway, an “open edition” sale of NFTs with a scarcity mechanism based on time rather than volume. Fifteen NFTs were offered for sale in multiples for a window of twenty-four hours. (Wikipedia). The WHALE vault holds 13/15 of these pieces.
WHALE X PAK
WhaleShark became WhaleShark by exercising a native understanding of what provided value in the nascent NFT space when he first started purchasing cryptoart. He has been an avid Pak collector since Pak’s first drop. The $WHALE Vault is privileged to hold a variety of image, video and 3D CAD NFTs from this monumental artist.
Pak was also part of $WHALE vault history when the difficult decision was made to part with Rubik’s Lure during a Sotheby’s auction along with work from Brendan Dawes and Hackatao. Read more about that here.
Many Pak innovations have been listed here and there are many more to be shared.
The choice to present Pak as Artist of the Month for April 2022 is intuitive and natural.
The exhibition on our Arium space, curated by Breezy, salutes Pak’s immutable contributions to the NFT space and to art as a whole.
Even if it’s only one pixel.
Join us in this celebration of Pak.
A special thanks to seedphrasehaiku for assisting with the conversation.
🐳 WHALE COMMUNITY RESOURCES
⚫ ️Website: https://whale.me/
⚫ ️Discord: https://discord.gg/whale
⚫️ Twitter: https://twitter.com/whale_community
⚫️ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/whale_community
⚫️ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/whale__community/
⚫️ Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/whalecommunity
⚫️ Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/WHALE_Community
⚫️ Medium: https://medium.com/whale-community
⚫️ Telegram: https://t.me/WHALE_Community