“The Final Frontier”, an art installation by American artist Tom Sachs, was one of the main attractions of NFT Paris. The biggest NFT event in Europe took place on the 24 and 25th of February at Grand Palais éphémère, right under the Eiffel Tower. To create this artwork, Tom Sachs partnered with the metaverse platform Monaverse. Monaverse is the leading 3D world-building platform for social digital experiences. We had the opportunity to meet with Tom Sachs and the Monaverse team. Read on to find out more about this groundbreaking exhibition and activation.
The Final Frontier by Tom Sachs, Powered by Mona
‘The Final Frontier’ was a truly immersive experience. In fact, hundreds of people waited patiently to obtain a “Rocket Factory ID”. These IDs were physically printed in front of them, providing access to the allowlist for both planets and apartments! Therefore, minters will have the chance to buy an apartment in space stations – some of them based on Le Crobusier’s housing unit, or, a planet. Then, once they had subscribed, participants became citizens of the Intergalactic metaverse. The minter’s ID appeared on a large LED screen (powered by Mona) to signal this citizenship.
What is the Rocket Factory?
The Rocket Factory is “a trans-dimensional manufacturing plant” imagined by the artist Tom Sachs. The collection started with a free mint “Test Flight Crew Patch”. Following this, on August 1st, 2021, Sachs released NFTs representing the three types of rocket components.
In Phase I, holders of “three components” had to burn those components into a “Rocket” which would then allow them to schedule their rocket for launch and have a physical counterpart created. For a fee of 0.1 ETH, the rocket could be launched. Following the launch, the Rocket Factory team retrieved the rockets. The holders then had three options. These options were to ‘Keep’ the rocket, where the physical rocket could be shipped to them. They could also choose to ‘Donate’, and so donate the rocket to the project’s Museum Cabinet. The final option was ‘Shred’, and so the rocket would be destroyed through an industrial shredder.
The second phase of the project, named “Mars Rock Mining Mission” took place last June. Holders went on a mission to Mars to mine “Mars Rocks”. Now, “The Final Frontier” is the third phase of the project. Unveiled at NFT Paris, it allowed holders of Rocket Factory’s NFTs – or people who minted a passport at the event – to purchase apartments or planets.
Who is Tom Sachs?
Tom Sachs, whose artworks are displayed in prestigious venues such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, is well known for his mixed-media sculptures inspired by modern icons. He started experimenting with NFTs as soon as the summer of 2021 with his Rocket Factory NFT project. Sachs created a gamified experience around the concept of space exploration. “The Final Frontier” is an interactive installation inviting the audience to play with the artist and become a member of the Rocket Factory community.
“The digital token is an expression of conceptual art, it’s another way of doing the same kind of art that we’ve been doing for over thirty years,” says Tom Sachs. “At the end of the sixties, artists didn’t know what to do, they had made everything out of everything possible. So they started to make rules. Yoko Ono for example started to make art with instructions, and the Rocket Factory is another form of that. It’s an extension of that kind of work, and we will continue, before, during, and beyond”.
By using the Monaverse platform, Tom Sachs experimented with the possibilities offered by the metaverse, creating a fully immersive experience where the audience is fully integrated into the creative process. Speaking on the decision to work within Web3, Tom Sachs said: “The best thing about this space is that for the first time in my career of 35 years, I felt part of a grassroots community. It feels like it’s the beginning. Everything is glitchy, the wifi doesn’t work here at NFT Paris, and we can’t send text messages. But this is what it’s like when it’s something new. We are learning, adapting, and improvising. In the future we will look back and say, remember when wi-fi didn’t work?”
Monaverse, created by Mona, is a leading 3D world-building platform enabling creators to imagine new digital experiences. Its CEO, Justin Mellilo, says it aims “to be the medium of the metaverse”. “We are an open platform for decentralized 3D assets and Immersive experiences. We’re focused on building the tooling and infrastructure to empower creators or developers who want to launch their own Immersive 3D experience”, he explains.
With Monaverse, creators can launch any type of virtual experience on the platform, in a really simple way. “They just need to import their 3D assets into Mona’s SDK, where they can use something called visual scripting to start adding more interactive elements to their scene. And so with this SDK, creators can build an entire game experience. It can be a static environment, a story world, a live performance arena, or a piece of virtual architecture… Once their assets are in this SDK, we have a few tools that make it easy for them to click a button to export their scene.”
In the next months, Mona aims to expand into the AR side. Mona will offer an infrastructure where creators can build experiences and share them across desktop, mobile, web, AR, and VR. “We will also enhance our actual playable app, aka the Monaverse, which is accessible through the desktop now, but very soon you’ll have an AR and VR also.”
It is clear to see that Monaverse’s ambition is to be a major player in the future of the internet. “What we’re going to see is more and more 3D content evolve from those 2D web pages and start to seamlessly merge with the world around us via augmented reality or mixed reality,” believes Justin Mellilo. “We see that as the ultimate future for how the Internet and these experiences are going to evolve.”
How did the Collaboration Between Tom Sachs and Mona Come About?
When Monaverse first talked with the artist, Tom Sachs, the Rocket Factory was working with different experiments to expand the universe surrounding their rocket collection. “They started allowing users to mint these Mars rock NFTs”, explains Justin Mellilo. “That’s where they started thinking about being able to enable their community members to mint entire planets and worlds from these Mars Rocks.”
Tom Sachs then decided to create 11,000 worlds on Mona. “A lot of projects promise Metaverse somewhere on the roadmap, but Tom Sachs Rocket Factory is fulfilling its promise of building 1000 planets and 10,000 apartments that their community can purchase, own and use as the basis for massively multiplayer online experiences through Monaverse,”says Justin Mellilo. “The Final Frontier is the best implementation of an immersive metaverse experience for any community that we’ve seen to date.”
Final Thoughts on ‘The Final Frontier’
The Final Frontier was a captivating experience for attendees of NFT Paris. Sach’s artistic vision, together with Mona’s capabilities as a platform, created an experience like no other. The interactive installation showcased the possibilities offered by the metaverse. Additionally, it created an immersive experience that fully integrated the audience into the creative process. By pushing the limits of contemporary art, Tom Sachs has created a conceptual artwork that resonates with the present times, presenting experiences that are sure to last a lifetime.