Credit: Mitchell F. Chan

Inside ‘The Boys of Summer,’ Mitchell F. Chan’s Interactive PFP Collection

BY Erika Lee

August 14, 2023

Toronto-based artist Mitchell F. Chan, known for pioneering conceptual and public artwork, has unveiled his latest creation, “The Boys of Summer.” The digital game artwork goes beyond aesthetics; it’s a generative PFP collection that probes the contemporary obsession with quantifying self and challenges our understanding of success.

Chan has consistently pushed boundaries from one of the earliest major NFT projects, “Digital Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility,” to his architectural explorations. His other ventures include generative art projects and the founding of Studio F Minus, which is responsible for large-scale public art installations across Canada. Chan’s work has garnered international acclaim, including a piece that sold for $1.2 million in 2021.

Embracing the intersection of art, technology, and self-exploration, let’s dive into how Chan’s “The Boys of Summer,” opens a new frontier in creative expression.

A Game Within Art

“The Boys of Summer” is a participatory market performance piece where each of the 999 baseball characters serves as a player in a game that involves both the collector and the creation itself. The players’ scores can be assigned as metadata at the game’s conclusion, intertwining the collector’s interaction with the piece.

Credit: Mitchell F. Chan

It goes beyond merely displaying virtual characters; it’s an adventure that unfolds as the owner delves into the game. Various decisions about the character’s traits, from hitting and power to personal stats like sleep and oral care, guide the game’s progress. The journey goes beyond baseball— players socialize, attend college, and even work out. The outcome? A wealth of data points that make up the character’s metadata reflects a blend of nature and nurture where playing the game impacts but doesn’t completely shape the character’s traits.

Dive Deeper

Chan’s new project explores three converging currents of contemporary culture: data in crypto, baseball, and the quantification of self through numbers. By creating PFPs, Chan provides an incisive commentary on how we attribute worth to digital art in today’s marketplaces. The collection also examines how society has shifted towards quantifying ourselves through technology.

Whether for self-awareness or self-preservation, numbers, and data have become integral to our daily lives. Baseball, with its historical connection to numbers and data, offers a fun and meaningful medium to express these ideas. The sport’s statistical nature reflects the game’s broader theme of alignment and quantification.

Chan’s decision to create a video game artwork resonates with his belief in using mediums that people actively engage with. Every aspect of “The Boys of Summer” reflects his dedication to the artistic process, allowing for a richer interaction with the piece.

Exploring Identity

“The Boys of Summer” is supported by Wildxyz, a platform dedicated to advancing creative expression and building a network of artists and collectors. With notable backers from various fields, Wild aims to explore the creative possibilities enabled by digital technology.

Credit: Mitchell F. Chan

“The Boys of Summer” is not just a game or an artwork. It peels back the curtain on how we interact with and define value in a world increasingly governed by numbers. By leveraging the medium of video games, Chan engages players in a reflective journey, prompting them to question their biases and the societal structures that shape our notions of success.

With this innovative approach, Chan solidifies his position at the forefront of contemporary art, offering a unique perspective on the interconnected worlds of sports, technology, and self-quantification. Whether you’re a baseball fan, a gaming enthusiast, or an art lover, “The Boys of Summer” is a striking intersection of these worlds, offering a refreshing look at what success might mean in our increasingly digitized lives. The project officially is out on August 16 at 1:30 p.m. ET for public sale. The mint price is 0.12 ETH.

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