Hi My Name Is...
First Decentralized Movie NFT Franchise at Christie’s
Decentralization of film franchises enables people all across the globe to participate in the growth of the IP and work together to build the future they envision for their kids. I truly believe art and TV/film impact our worlds more than any other medium and to have such diverse participation in this creation will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the world my young daughter grows up in.
- Micah Johnson
The Story of Aku
For an artist to tell a compelling, timely, and relevant story through their work is an incredible feat. But, for an artist’s work to take on a life of its own — a story beginning to craft its own story — is on another level.
This is exactly where retired professional baseball player turned artist, Micah Johnson, finds himself today, as he releases the next highly-anticipated NFT: Hi, my name is... at Christie’s. In which the next character in the Aku universe will be unveiled.
Johnson’s work took hold of the NFT space when he released sä-v(ə-)rən-tē on Async platform in November 2020, which sold for 250 ETH (worth ~$117K+). In December, it won the NFT of the Year Award and was featured on a billboard in downtown LA.
The underlying theme is sä-v(ə-)rən-tē, a conversation of ongoing struggle for equity in America, which later became a recurring subject in much of Johnson’s later work with the Aku universe. The overarching theme was inspired by Johnson’s nephew’s asking: “Can astronauts be Black?” The answer, told through a young boy characterized with his shiny space helmet, is a resounding yes.
The artist reaffirms that “Aku is on a mission to prove he can be anything.” Shortly thereafter, the Aku movie franchise was announced and this is where Async’s programmability begins to make a lot of sense.
The latest Async work from Johnson isn’t siloed, but is an exciting development for NFTs, for media, and for the future of art and film’s intersectionality. It’s the beginning of the world’s first NFT decentralized film franchise, as it introduces a new character in the Aku narrative and invites the future owner to take ownership over the creative IP.
Something about Hi, my name is... may seem familiar. It mirrors Aku, the beloved child character that has helped to both define today’s NFT art style (astronauts!) and the importance of decentralization and equal representation.
But, this character, though mirroring Aku, is new to the scene. Because, now, Johnson is on a mission to capture, elevate, and champion another demographic, underrepresented and undervalued in NFTs and otherwise: women. And — especially — Black women. Though the character in Hi, my name is… takes form similar to Aku, this one is different. She's a young Black girl with a mission of her own.
This new character’s face is hidden under an astronaut’s helmet just like Aku, but it may not be for long. This is where community and collectorship come into play, helping these stories take shape and celebrating the ethos of decentralization as we navigate new territory.
The ability to reveal the girl’s face is completely up to the future owner, who will be gifted the Helmet Layer after the auction ends on Christies. This Layer allows the sole owner to reveal the girl’s face, and the choice is completely up to them to either keep her hidden before the movie reveal, or to unveil her for everyone to see.
Created with the help of the Aku community, this collaboration concludes by giving the final control to the owner of the work. This programmable NFT enables the collector to ultimately decide if and/or when to remove the character's helmet to reveal their identity.
- explains Johnson
Furthermore, not only does the future owner get to decide when (and if) the character reveals her face, but they will work closely with Johnson to give her a name — effectively stamping their permanent role in the Aku movie franchise.
Because of its programmability, this work changes every hour to reflect the rising and setting of the sun, symbolizing the determination it takes to achieve our dreams. The piece is interactive, in that it allows for the collector to have a profound impact on the story of the girl, and it mirrors the lighting of day and night in real time. At 6am PST, the sun comes up, lighting alters the aesthetic of the room throughout the day, and at 9pm PST, the sun sets — and her room goes dark again until morning.
From its genesis, “Aku quickly inspired people across the world. [And] after seeing the overwhelming responses to the inspiring message about what Aku meant to them, [Johnson] realized the importance of collaborating directly with the community to shape the characters and stories within the upcoming Aku movie.”
This is a character that will be shaped by a community. This is decentralization at its purest form, and we’re honored to share a part in it too.
Follow Hi, my name is... via Christie’s where the auction is hosted and will end on July 22nd.