toggle to "SITE" for Great Knot land art project

Message from the artist

Recent changes in this long standing study on knots as an analog form of spatial cryptography call for rewriting the introductory message to this web site a second time.

Digital representation of knots was at the core of this from its beginnings. It is a concept from 1967 that got its first opportunity in Bitcoin's presence on the Internet to take that as precedent for identifying knots with blockchain technology when first introducing this website in 2014.

“Cryptoknots” were first conceptualized as an arbiter of value, in reference to the growing acceptance of cryptocurrency.

The first rewrite of that introduction came when the non-fungible token appeared. The website had already begun to depict the unique story of the knot's unending supply of graphic identities mirroring a logic of immutability embedded in the blockchain's distributed ledger, and the concept of smart contracts giving unique digital creations value was its context du jour.

This followed the previous message, just adapting that to a knot taking a role as a participant for this trend. This was more to merge it into the decentralization vibe by demonstrating knot's kinship to cryptography and its history of pressing up against the more democratized Internet being promised as blockchain took hold. This was offering the knot as a practical way to explain autonomous participation and signify sovereignty.

The website had already started to became a repository for things that correlated actual and virtual aspects in its namesake; the Great Knot; and the land art sculpture had begun to be the centerpiece for trust in a provenance idealized by the website's image as the foundation for a mental construct.

The website was rearranged by this rewrite. Its front page sidebar led to the concepts that modeled the digital-based systemic of the infinite number of individually unique knots; a “toggle” opened the website to aspects the “actuality” portrayed by the Great Knot land art was promoting as the environment that, by this time, was published as a book by The History Press.

Scarcely into beginning this transition from cryptocurrency protocols as allusions to provenance in this backstory to a land art, to making the module of the grid that occupies the background of all the pages in this website have an affinity with smart contracts, a second rewrite and third approach to introducing this website was needed.

So, this reintroduces the website's namesake land art's physical site as a manifestation of the grid in the scale and orientation of a virtual globe presence of knots, and blockchain to the world of virtual land art. After nearly two decades of ever deepening entanglements with core intellectual concepts of virtual and physical site specificity, this is where we're at.

The Great Knot has grounded in blockchain's concept of trust and transparent provenance a physical identity for a spacial cryptography. Web3 now has the concept of the knot for a geometry comparable to the numbers and digital code of Bitcoin's protocol. Importantly, the common imagination has already accepted this as workable on the Internet.

The changes this brings to the website are primarily from the scope of Web3. Interactivity with a virtual globe viewer gives the original interpretive graphics references. The physical Great Knot on the Internet is referenced by a spatially encrypted code's place on a virtual globe that's its NFT on blockchain. The value of a knot's virtual identity related to blockchain belongs to an owner who can submit to a UX in this website the code that will produce a virtual visual of it.

This UX uses the content of the website as an ecosystem for an eternally growing series of owner's work environment in which the infinite sequence of unique knots their originals they are in have license to produce immeasurable quantities of NFT derivatives of them with coordinates unique to places on Earth.

Every digital image formed of a knot at a site specific place, on a virtual globe, is infinitely different as a numeric set of combinations of coordinates when read together, no matter how visually analyzable it is as the same knot when regenerated anywhere else on a virtual globe. This innovative concept is now what the content of this website is about.

In theory, the context of centralized production is removed in the process, as the presence of knots is standardized as an authentication from being visualized on ubiquitous virtual globe viewers. The value of these knots is in the unending process of proving the theory that their complexity recognizable.

As a system of cryptography, the imagery of a knot is expected to become a signal that a unique digital code is its NFT. The implications for the uses of this normalization of encryption may anticipate a third rewrite in yet a forth introduction as this website evolves.

The Great Knot, April 27, 2011

Michael Sullivan Smith, 2015
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