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‘The Enchanted Hour’: Architectural Marvel Captured Onchain

BY Arthur Parkhouse

August 28, 2023

Ryan Koopmans and Alice Wexell, both multidisciplinary artists with over two decades of combined professional photography between them, have released the third chapter of their ongoing series The Wild Within.

By its simplest explanation, The Wild Within is a series of digital artworks that bring new life into abandoned buildings from bygone eras. The duo’s Genesis collection explored this through 13 unique works, the second chapter, Everlasting, through four unique works, and now the third chapter, Symphony revealing a fourth work, The Enchanted Hour.

This fourth work of the third chapter comes to life through dynamic functions achieved in partnership with Transient Labs. To understand the work and its significance further, we spoke with Koopmans and Wexell, who provided a comprehensive look at why and how they do what they do.



The Location

Speaking to the location selection for The Enchanted Hour, Koopmans shared that “The building caught my eye when doing online research, but as is the case with all such structures, the actual conditions of the interior, in reality, remain uncertain until you visit the place in real life.”

While Koopmans and Wexell always conduct a large amount of research prior to physical exploration, there is always a chance the structures might be demolished, fired damaged, or otherwise inaccessible.

“The journey to find a suitable building typically unfolds in three ways,” Koopmans said, adding “Upon discovery, it either mirrors your vision, a fortunate thing, or has vanished entirely. Alternatively, you might unexpectedly stumble upon a different location en route.”


“There is always an element of the unknown, which is a big part of the excitement.”

Ryan Koopmans


As to the discovery of this particular building and its ultimate selection, Koopmans shared that “Between an exhibition in Prague and capturing another location in Georgia, we embarked on a journey throughout Italy in pursuit of three specific locations.”

Speaking on criteria, he explained that “Amid the world’s decaying buildings, only a precious few hold an aesthetic, conceptual, and historical blend that genuinely ignites our inspiration to transform it into an artwork – the villa in The Enchanted Hour is one of these rare treasures.”

Aspects that meet these criteria include baroque intricacies, sense of scale, color tones, and the potential for implementing animated foliage, a key element of Koopmans and Wexell’s The Wild Within works.

It’s worth noting that several of the structures featured in the series have succumbed to a fate of complete deterioration, whether through fire, other natural disasters, or just lost to time. However, thanks to the project, structures, like the one found in The Enchanted Hour are not completely lost and instead find a renewed existence on the blockchain.

Sharing what drew her to this particular structure,  Wexell said it “was the soaring ceilings that endowed the space with grandeur and openness. High on the walls, remnants of unique old paintings linger, while the textured decay and weathering in the room held a captivating beauty.”

She added “We are dedicated to highlighting such real-life textures in the work—textures that would be challenging to replicate in a 3D program. Our aim is to infuse these naturally occurring, time-weathered textures into the piece, evoking a sense of authenticity.


The Wild Within

Sharing how this latest work uniquely reflects progress in the overall The Wild Within project, Koopmans shared that “This piece advances the project by representing one of our more technically intricate creations,” adding “The work is also dynamic, demanding its final existence in multiple forms and formats.”

From start to finish, Koopmans explained that the process to bring The Enchanted Hour to life has taken over a year.

Wexell added “Visually the piece adheres to our distinct front-on perspective of room interiors, which has become somewhat of a signature element in our work and a consistent feature in The Wild Within.

While Koopmans and Wexell could simply make a stunning static work, a jpeg, and call it a day they explained that they have a passion for pushing the boundaries.

Koopmans shared “We love dynamic work and had this idea of creating a modern cuckoo clock of sorts, so this piece just spoke to us as the one to implement this idea.”

He added that the aim is always to go above and beyond, to “bring out the most in the subject matter as well as our own creative abilities. Dynamic work takes more time, but I think that it really encompasses the wildly imaginative opportunities that this technology enables.”


“Our goal is not only to propel the work forward for enduring relevance but also to instill lasting longevity.”

Alice Wexell


She added, “Achieving this demands an innovative mindset and a readiness to embrace new concepts and technologies.”

The two shared that this particular example was largely possible thanks to a collaboration with the celebrated Web3 innovation platform Transient Labs.

“We’ve worked with Transient Labs in the past and they’re the best at what they do,” said Koopmans.

Both Wexell and Koopmans complimented the platform’s team on their talent, work ethic, and kindness – expressing that they are the best in class in what they do and that they truly value the artists and artworks they mint.

Gratitude

Beyond the substantial amounts of Ether The Wild Within has netted as a result of collectors recognizing the significance of the associated works, Koopmans and Wexell shared that there are other aspects they’re grateful for.

“I find the entire process immensely gratifying, from the research phase, exploration, photography, post-production, and the final presentation,” said Koopmans adding “There are also times when it’s crucial to detach from the context and memory of having created the piece, allowing you to have a more objective perspective on the finished work, and see it from fresh eyes.”

Concluding, Wexell expressed that “Beyond the entire process, the most gratifying for me is witnessing the piece functioning in its complete form.”

She added “After the meticulous planning, modeling, construction, detailing, and refining all come together, the resulting completeness is deeply rewarding. In the case of The Enchanted Hour, it was fulfilling when the clock struck the hour for the first time and the owl flew around the room, watching it all come together. Additionally, the way people have embraced the concept and responded positively to the work has been fulfilling. It’s great when a collector truly appreciates the piece.”

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