February 16th, 2022

KNOTS is a meta-programmatic NFT project by Emily Segal and Deluge Books

Launching February 18, 2022 at knots.live

Public minting begins at 12pm PST

For more information check out INTRODUCING KNOTS

Knots make me question origin and agency. They remind me of a friend’s trip report, from their first time dropping acid, at carnival in Rio. The experience had delivered a single self-contained epiphany that they'd whispered over and over to their friend, perfectly brilliant and perfectly banal: "we are the memes of trees". Like that acid koan, the knots are perfect codes of their own uniqueness, too fundamental for human authorship. Instead, they meme themselves through us, through our DNA (which is knot-like in structure), through folklore and craft, and through stories. After all, the resolution of a plot is the denouement, the unknotting.

Put another way: knots are situation comedies or tragedies, waiting to be sliced through, undone, or tightened. Looping around themselves, knots are symbols or pictograms for stories which don't often go left to right, past to future, as we are taught on the chalkboard in English class. Stories are more like the cycles of the heavenly bodies around the ecliptic or the tangles of proteins in our bodies than they are pure linear vectors. Like poetic language, knot theory quickly reaches the edges of what we are capable of processing, cognitively or computationally.

A  1930 text by the German Jewish historian Solomon Gandz argued that knots were the precursor of human writing systems. For Gandz, there are three phases “in the preservation of old traditions and laws... i) Memory pure and simple; re-petition and transmission by oral tradition to the children; 2) Knots and mnemonic signs, the precursors of writing, and 3) Writing.” He connected the mentions of knotted cords in the bible with the Incan tradition of quipu making – massive knotted registers of history and accounting (the quipu has a particular resonance with blockchains and ledgers, evidenced by the Tezos project quipuswap).

To quote Gandz further:

“Knotted cords were the tangible and visible signs and symbols recording the abstract numbers, the facts, poems, and laws of the past, the historical events and traditions. Their purpose was to call up a recollection, to give it a body, to render it active and thereby actual. Knotted cords were the first memory- drawers and registers, they were the primitive tools out of which developed the powerful memory-machine of our modern writing, they were the primitive memory-huts and tents out of which grew up that gigantic structure that we call literature, history, and science.”

As all this knot-lore accrued in my mind, various Web 3 artworks crossed my desk that used variations on a theme, some with computer-generated or on-chain randomness, in editions of hundreds or thousands. Knots offered themselves gorgeously to this format, as each additional crossing and loop creates a unique situation, opening up various portals to various hyperspaces, as demonstrated by mathematician William Thurston in this video lecture, Knots to Narnia.

Knots as individual artworks, as pieces of an imaginary proto-language, seemed like perfect tokens of appreciation for the existing supporters of $NOVEL (for whom a polished textual preview of the novel they funded is still a ways away). This method was also an interesting way to continue the experiment in using Web 3 to advance literary publishing through Deluge Books, both as a fundraising tool, and as a way to loop people into the future of my novel-in-progress, by connecting them to the project in general, and to special surprise easter eggs through the metadata in particular (more on that in coming months). As a first step, the opening paragraph of BURN ALPHA (the text supported by $NOVEL) is embedded in the environment reflected by each knot, but not legibly.

Knots collaborator Chris Reppucci, astrologer and pattern designer, worked with us to activate and organize the knots metaphysically. Early on in the process, divination had revealed the importance of making sure the knots didn't inadvertently bring negative energetic charge to those who held them. One way to ensure this was through the environment embedded in the 3D rendering of each knot: a spherical photograph of a place with perfect feng shui, as well as energetically attuned lighting placement, colors and textures for maximal user harmony. We also embedded ancient formulae in the smart contract from a foundational text of Western esotericism - bridging several thousand years of coding reality, through text, image, and technology. Each scene and lighting design for the knots carries a particular set of qualities related to dynamic correspondences of the four directions.

An amazing group of collaborators created this project – Violet Office, Nemesis Global, Wurmhumus Fabrik, Deluge Books, and Chris Reppucci – which speaks to the collective spirit of new projects in this space and jives with the air triplicity period we recently entered.

Holders of $NOVEL mint for free plus gas, and other dear communities in our network will have special access to the presale (see the INTRODUCING KNOTS announcement for more details). A portion of each primary sale will go toward funding publishing projects at Deluge Books – queer, trans, experimental and otherwise undersupported literary projects – and 100% of secondary sales will go to Deluge as well. We're excited about the prospect of bringing together traditional modes of publishing with Web 3 tools to create a more collectivized model for publishing literary work, and this is one step in the process.

From knots to Narnia we go.

KNOTS launches Friday, February 18, 2022 at KNOTS.LIVE

Public minting begins at 12pm PST

Follow us on Twitter for updates: @k_n_o_t_s_

Header Image: Three-dimensional crystals of adaptive knots

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