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Living Architecture: Casa Batlló

Living Architecture: Casa Batlló
smart contract address: 0x7948F7fF1158B338a898e80ce8b1c3C964a80cec
token ID: 297
wallet address: 0xFa837C2E71888BE99473A202804c353C4b24A24b
non-fungible token ERC-721; custom software, generative with sound
Executed in 2022 and minted on April 11, 2022. This work is unique and is accompanied by an artist-signed 3D physical certificate.

Living Architecture: Casa Batlló is the first live dynamic and generative NFT of its kind. Inspired by Antoni Gaudí's famous Casa Batlló in Barcelona, Refik Anadol uses environmental data gathered real-time from sensors placed around the building. It captures and reflects the facade of the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site and the life around it. 
The artist
Please note for tax purposes, including potential sales tax, that this lot contains both an NFT and a physical work of art which could subject the entire purchase price of the lot to tax as a digital service or tangible property, and Christie’s may be required to collect relevant taxes dependent on local laws. You alone are responsible for any applicable taxes, tariffs or other government-imposed charges relating to the receipt of the digital service and shipment of the tangible property. For tax rate information you may wish to consult an independent tax advisor. Please note, except in the event you are a resident of Mainland China, that you may elect to make payment of the purchase price for this lot in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Payment in Bitcoin must be made via a digital wallet transfer of Bitcoin to Christie’s. If you do not already have one, please obtain a hosted digital wallet at Coinbase Custody Trust; Coinbase, Inc.; Fidelity Digital Assets Services, LLC; Gemini Trust Company, LLC; or Paxos Trust Company, LLC. The digital wallet must be registered to you, or, if you registered to bid as a company, then in the name of the company. Please note that setting up a digital wallet can take a week or more, depending on the service provider’s account opening requirements. Only payments sent from digital wallets maintained at the above listed platforms will be accepted. We will not recognize payments from digital wallets hosted at other exchanges or self-hosted wallets. Partial payments of a lot from multiple digital wallets are not allowed. You agree, upon our request, to provide documentation confirming that the Bitcoin payment was made from a digital wallet registered in your name and maintained at one of the platforms listed above. You must notify us within 24 hours of sale closing should you wish to pay by cryptocurrency. The cryptocurrency amount will be calculated by us based on the most recent published CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (XBX) as determined by us at the time the sale closes and will be disclosed in the invoice. For further information and to view our Buyers Premium rates, please view the Conditions of Sale via the link below.
The buyer of this work will also receive backup source installation files, a custom computer with software and a VR headset.


Ana Maria Celis
Ana Maria Celis Head of Department


In contemplating this famous quotation from legendary Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, it’s important to consider the complexity of the operative verb, volver. The simplest English translation is “to return,” but volver can connote multitudes of movement in liminal spaces—both physical and metaphorical. It’s an incredibly versatile, slippery piece of language which can be combined with various prefixes to form many common Spanish verbs. Depending on the context of its use, it can represent a return to or from—a turning inside or out, and in some cases, it can be more accurately translated as “to become,” which is precisely why it’s the perfect verb to deploy in this instance. Gaudí’s elliptical definition of originality in creativity becomes ever more vitally relevant as we press ahead into this exciting and uncertain future. His conviction in the unknowable but infinite spiritual resonance of specific shapes, colors and visual rhythms is, in a way, deeply comforting to hold onto, especially as science and technology have clarified much of the mystery of our reality.

Utilizing massive sets of information sourced from virtual databases or instruments for recording environmental conditions, Anadol creates rule-based algorithms to transform raw information into cosmically beautiful, often interactive and always immersive abstract artworks.

Another artist deeply attuned to this kind of magical, perhaps even heavenly aspect of natural aesthetics is the contemporary multimedia pioneer, Refik Anadol. His groundbreaking series of Data Paintings (which employ neither paint nor canvas) perfectly illustrates Gaudí’s tenets regarding the power of shapes and colors drawn from the world around us. Utilizing massive sets of information sourced from virtual databases or instruments for recording environmental conditions, Anadol creates rule-based algorithms to transform raw information into cosmically beautiful, often interactive and always immersive abstract artworks. At the heart of all of Anadol’s output is a meditative fascination with the ways in which machines can augment our perceived reality as human beings, from the superficial experience of the visual to the fundamental experience of time and space.

Beyond his fascination with Light and Space artists such as James Turrell, Anadol is a leading practitioner of the newly explosive movement of generative art, in which the artists mostly prefer custom software and computers to a loaded paintbrush and canvas. While generative art is by no means a brand new phenomenon—early examples of modern artists working in a generative mode include Ellsworth Kelly and Hans Haacke; one could even make a compelling argument that the famous fugues of classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach are examples of generative art in music—the increasingly sophisticated technology available to artists today has led to a renewed interest and a veritable renaissance in the field. Given most of the compelling new work in the movement is of a digital origin, it makes sense that the preferred medium for its dissemination and collection is via NFTs (non-fungible tokens are indelible entries on a decentralized blockchain, and they are especially useful for giving currency to ephemeral goods such as conceptual or digital art).

What sets Anadol apart from most artists in the NFT space is his spellbinding installations, which in recent years have captivated audiences around the globe, from the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia—where Anadol exhibited his Quantum Memories on a monumental LED screen towering over visitors—to the beaches of Miami, Florida—where his Machine Hallucinations: Coral was installed outdoors, viewable 24⁄7, day and night against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. Despite the objective fact that Anadol creates artwork without a physical form, he has perfected its transformation into three-dimensional space, maximizing its impact on his audience. Simply put: Anadol’s installations inspire awe and cause jaws to drop.

The present lot, titled Living Architecture, is the artist’s homage to and radical reinterpretation of Antoni Gaudí’s famous Casa Batlló in Barcelona, Spain. In 1904, textile magnate Josep Batlló commissioned Gaudí to redesign the home he had bought for his family on the Passeig de Gràcia, one of the most prestigious and fashionable districts of the city at the time. Dissatisfied with the previous design of the building, Batlló hoped Gaudí would demolish the site and build something completely anew; however, the architect convinced Batlló that a renovation, albeit an extreme one, would suffice. By 1906, Gaudí had completed his masterful refurbishment of the building. What was once an entirely unremarkable façade had been transformed into a flowing, sinuous mosaic of colorful tiles, tinted glass and sculpted stonework. A popular local nickname for the Casa Batlló is Casa dels ossos (House of Bones)—another common interpretation compares the arched roof of the house to the spine of a dragon; in this reading, the turret and cross towards the center-left of the rooftop represents the lance of St. George (patron saint of Catalonia, Gaudí's home) plunging into the dragon’s back. Today, the Casa Batlló is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and museum dedicated to the preservation of the architect’s legacy.

Living Architecture: Casa Batlló utilizes the building’s iconic façade as the armature for an algorithmically generated, ever-morphing fractalized abstraction: roiling waves of red, blue and yellow pixels glide through the virtually rendered white-box frame, creating a hectic yet beautiful web of color and serpentine forms. Further amplifying the visual and physical manifestation of his work, Anadol has created a custom scent and audio soundtrack for the installation in Rockefeller Plaza during the pre-sale exhibition which will contend with the ambiance of the surrounding hyper-urban environment. The visual output of Living Architecture will be determined by an artificial intelligence designed by the artist in real time using environmental data gathered from cutting-edge sensors placed nearby the Casa Batlló on the Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona. Hence, the title of the work—Living Architecture—is much more than symbolic… it is true.
–Noah Davis, Specialist, Head of Digital Art & Online Sales

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