The Monument Game: Art’s Collective Pulse
“The Monument Game” accumulated 1116.66 ETH, nearing a valuation of almost $1.9 million. However, the magnitude of this achievement only scratches the surface of its significance.
Just 123 seconds after its debut on Nifty Gateway, the “Player” series, a key component of Sam Spratt’s “The Monument Game” release, sold out for an impressive 90 ETH. But this was just the prelude. The spotlight then turned to the exclusive 1/1 “IX. The Monument Game” auction, culminating in a winning bid of an astounding 420.69 ETH, acquired by 1OF1.
“The Monument Game” signals not just its market accomplishment but a transformative era where the digital art audience craves depth, connection, and substance. In a time when many are quick to label digital art as ephemeral or superficial, this project is a testament to the enduring power of digital art, and values that it genuinely resonates with.
What is Sam Spratt's The Monument Game?— Nifty Gateway 🌐 (@niftygateway) August 17, 2023
The largest artist collaboration we have ever undertaken.
We visited Sam in his NYC Studio for an in-depth look at the creation of The Monument Game, and what it means to win this communal game of art & observation. pic.twitter.com/dlWURdG09i
From Baroque to Blockchain: The Artistic Path of Sam Spratt
An artist based in New York, Sam Spratt brings a rich heritage of classical artistry into the digital realm. Trained in the techniques of Baroque and Renaissance masters, Sam Spratt uniquely adapts their intricate brushwork to the digital canvas with inspirations spanning from ancient hominid roots to Solomonic wisdom, and the timeless tales of pilgrimage.
Over the years, Sam Spratt’s celebrated creations have adorned various mediums from games and movies to books and music — his paintings bridge epochs, drawing tactile sensations from historical artforms and anchoring our most profound narratives in anticipation of the future.
Through his narrative “Luci,” he weaves both art and blockchain philosophy, creating a saga that emphasizes reconnection: finding stability in the intangible and embracing larger networks to enhance individual growth.
Unearthing Luci: The Cornerstone of “The Monument Game”
Luci, pronounced as “Lucy”, represents the central character and collection of digital art masterpieces crafted by Sam Spratt — a name referenced to the ancient Australopithecus afarensis discovered in Afar, Ethiopia.
Presented in episodic chapters, this series narrates a story centered on the reconnection to foundational human principles in a world post traditional history. Since its debut in October 2021, the Luci series, through its initial eight pieces, has marked a significant financial footprint with $1.4 million in primary sales, complemented by approximately $690,000 in secondary market transactions. Highlighting its acclaim, “VII. Wormfood” was auctioned at Christie’s for $252,000, with the entirety of the proceeds allocated to MAPS, championing psychedelic research and therapeutic interventions. Another notable mention is “VIII. Infinite Ceremony”, which registered Spratt’s top individual sale, commanding a sum of $263,000.
Luci’s Tale: From Ancestral Roots to Modern Complexity
Luci emerges in the contemporary world, reborn and isolated, stepping into existence once more after a previous lifetime of memories.
This rebirth manifests as a profound interconnected journey of self-discovery, igniting a search for age-old truths that define human essence. As Luci navigates the familiar yet transformed modern world, a concealed harmony, a primordial rhythm, becomes increasingly apparent. Instead of succumbing to this modern mirage that offers illusory solace and passive engagement, Luci delves into their deep-rooted ancestral identity, seeking to relearn life from its foundational essence, understanding true humanity by connecting with its primal roots.
Luci’s narrative threads through the tapestries of memories, fleeting moments, enigmatic illusions, and complex virtual realms. From ancient grounds—humanity’s cradle—to the frantic pace of modern-day, Luci traverses the vast terrains of human psyche and history.
In a related vein, the “Skulls of Luci” initiative embarked on yet another transformative journey earlier this year. From here, a council was formed, comprising 50 dedicated holders: together, they stand as the “Council of Luci,” forging a bridge between individual aspirations and the grand, collective narrative of human interconnectivity. The essence of community.
“The Skulls are a reminder that we all have these little deaths along the way. Moments of transition, reinvention, awakening, or sometimes just the illusion of one of those things.”
__ Sam Spratt
Inside “The Monument Game”: The Key Components
“The Monument Game” presents not only the next chapter for Luci, but a groundbreaking work of art, amalgamating artistry, story-driven content, and interactive engagement. It encapsulates a contemporary form of digital art in which collective interpretations weave a communal tapestry, creating a shared reality.
The Game Aspect: Using an on-chain Manifold contract, Nifty Gateway lets ‘Players’ delve into and actively engage with the 20,000-pixel 1/1 masterpiece, “IX. The Monument Game”. Players not only observe the piece but also contend against each other in sharing their text-based observations positioned upon a detail of their choice.
Dynamic Artwork: Unlike typical digital images, this artwork adapts and grows. As ‘Players’ interacted with the work and left their observations, they directly contributed to the evolving nature of the art piece, enriching its narrative with combined insights — which anyone can read, whether a ‘Player’ or not.
The Tickets: Only 256 “Player” editions were issued, representing the ticket to the Monument Game, giving holders the opportunity to leave their own observations within “IX. The Monument Game” from June 21st-24th. The first observation was from PTM | Player 1, a collector who secured this privilege through a previous Christie’s auction in June 2023. All tickets were minted into NFTs with their observations written into the metadata.
Council of Luci: with the window for leaving observations closed, the Council of Luci then entered the process of evaluating the contributions left by the Players. As voted on by the Council, the top three most observant ‘Players’ were to qualify for a Seat on The Council and a Skull of Luci by sacrificing their winning ticket, with the winners to be announced on August 31st.
In essence, “The Monument Game” can be seen as an inspiring point of convergence around which narratives converge and evolve where the 1/1 artwork acts as the focal point and core. Orbiting this nucleus are the Skulls of Luci and The Council—entities that play pivotal roles in curating, celebrating, and sharing the lore that the Players bring forth. This entire structure is amplified by the presence of 256 Players: what differentiates “The Monument Game” from other digital artworks is the depth of its interactive layer. Participants don’t merely compete; they co-create.
And the genius of “The Monument Game” lies not just in its detailed craft but in its ability to also transcend limitations of participation. As a spectator observes:
“Unfortunately didn’t land a ticket to make an observation but reading through and experiencing this piece of art with everyone has been a special moment in crypto art and reminds me a bit of why we all came here in the first place. In real time many are dropping the jaded feeling and even without having “skin in the game” are enjoying this work of art that took over a year of craftsmanship to make and a lifetime of creating to develop.
It’s a reminder of how exciting art can be.
Not the sales; the art.
The act of enjoying art.
The act of actually experiencing it.”
By goku_nft via Twitter
Tweets like these further emphasize how “The Monument Game” revives the age-old magic of art — the deep, transcendent bliss that flows from both contemplation and profound engagement.
It’s a powerful reminder that art’s value lies not in ownership, but rather in its shared resonance and connections. The outcome is a mosaic of diverse perspectives, experiences, and tales suggesting that even though many may view the same piece of art, it is their unique interpretations that shape its essence.
The Winners Revealed
On Thursday, August 31st, the winners were revealed, which saw Players 32, 150, and 15 – Summer, Ben, and Garey – securing their Skulls of Luci and place among the Council of Luci through a unique and meaningful exchange.
At the heart of this dynamic lies the Luci Sacrifice Smart Contract, through which the winners made a significant commitment: the profound act of trading a piece of their digital essence through the sacrifice of their singular observations made during “The Monument Game”.
In this seamless on-chain trade, the winners became part of the Vault of Luci, where their pieces of themselves are now a permanent testament to their dedication and prowess.
Read their winning observations here.
In order for the Skulls to be claimed, the winners have signed the Luci Sacrifice Smart Contract— Sam Spratt (@SamSpratt) August 31, 2023
Player 32, 150, and 15 have given me what I value most: the piece of themselves they left behind: their edition and observation atop The Monument Game. Upon signing and detection of… pic.twitter.com/YAOxGtFAw4
“The Monument Game”: A Turning Point in Digital Art Perception
At its inception, digital art was viewed as an intriguing novelty, but not as revered as its physical counterparts. Critics questioned its longevity, its impact, and even its legitimacy as “real art.” Yet, as “The Monument Game” illustrates, the landscape of digital art is far from static; it is as dynamic as the digital world it inhabits.
“The Monument Game” is not simply evidence of technical prowess or a testament to the potential of blockchain technology. It presents an evolving narrative about what art means in the digital era. No longer confined to the linear pathways of traditional artistry, digital art invites audiences into a multi-dimensional realm where interaction is paramount, and the lines between creator and consumer are continually redrawn.
However, what truly sets “The Monument Game” apart is its emphasis on community and connection. In a digital space often maligned for its detachment and anonymity, this piece showcases the power of collective experiences. It becomes a digital amphitheater where stories resonate, ideas are shared, and emotions are magnified by the collective spirit of the audience. It isn’t just about individual pixels; it’s about the broader picture those pixels paint—a mosaic of shared memories, insights, and aspirations.
As we stand at the crossroads of art and technology, “The Monument Game” underscores a key notion: the future of digital art isn’t merely about pixel perfection or sales figures. It’s about experiences that bind people together, stories that resonate across the digital divide, and the unyielding power of creation.
In viewing “The Monument Game”, many have come to understand that, as the landscape of digital art evolves, we are all players, each contributing to a larger narrative.