A Glossary for the Unsigned Gestalt Community
This glossary will evolve, as needed, over time. The intention is to offer some common terms of reference with a view to giving shape to this collective dream, rather than to establish an arbitrary list of rules, which can only dull our common creative enterprise.
Gestalt — The meaning of Gestalt is something that is made of many parts and yet is somehow more than the combination of its parts.
At its core, the intention of our community is to come together and celebrate a mutual love for the Cardano unsigned_algrorithms (hereafter “unsig”) project. Before this project minted out in the summer of 2021, collectors were already creating compositions and making derivative art using unsigs as building blocks.
The versatility of this project is such that there are endless possibilities in terms of creative expression. While no two collectors hold the same portfolio, it became quickly apparent among unsig aficionados that each collector had a unique way of engaging with unsigs, of putting them together to create compositions, or deconstructing them entirely, etc.
UG — UG is short for Unsigned Gestalt. This is the name of our community. Our community is a social experiment which has the audacity to believe that friendship, kindness and creativity can be the currency of an online community committed to sharing its love of unsigs and its curiosity in relation to an experience of radical inclusivity and decommodification.
In this spirit, we have joined forces and have collectively agreed to allow our community to use our personal unsigs. As a result of placing our unsigs at the disposal of UG, we have the opportunity to co-create large scale unsig compositions based on a universe of possibilities far more vast than any individual collector, bar none, has at their disposal.
This vision is both radical and egalitarian, as members need only own a single unsig in order to join UG. This minimum may be waived as needed. As there are no membership fees to join UG, ownership of one unsig serves primarily to indicate a genuine interest in the project.
Ownership — In a different reality, many of us feel in our hearts that we would bypass ownership entirely. However, for the sake of being both pragmatic and respectful of the world we live in today, our community does not wish to infringe on anyone’s ownership. Consequently, our community will never knowingly use unsigs which have not generously been placed at our disposal for the purposes of our decommodified creative endeavor.
Chartering Unsigs — We use this expression to describe the act of electing to place one’s personal unsigs at the disposal of UG. At no time do any unsigs leave their owners’ ADA wallets. All chartered unsigs are added to a collective UG Toy Box and subsequently allocated to the Pools. Only a small percentage of unsigs will be chosen by participants to be placed on the grid of one or multiple large scale compositions.
Toy Box — The aggregate number of unsigs at play, across all Pools, at any given time.
UG Member — A member is a person who has agreed to charter their unsig(s) to UG such that their unsig(s) may be integrated and accounted for in the collective UG Toy Box. When a person charters their unsig(s) but does not wish to participate in the co-creation of large scale compositions, or otherwise become involved in the ancillary activities of UG, they are a Friend of UG.
Active Participant — An active participant is a UG Member who wishes to be assigned to a Pool in order to participate in the co-creation of a large-scale composition (20 x 20 or larger). In the event a participant is inactive for two subsequent cycles or more, they may be requested by the Pool Coordinator to step down from active participation, in which case they are welcome to stay on as a Friend of UG.
Pool — A pool is a group of five or six participants playing together, selecting unsigs as a team and deciding on unsig placement on the collective grid. At inception, in September 2022, five pools were established: Beam, Hourglass, Rivers, Windmill and Diamond. The number of pools may change over time.
Each pool is free to decide on its own methodology for reaching a consensus as to which unsig is chosen and where it is placed on the collective grid.
Pool Coordinator — Each Pool has a Coordinator who has signed up for the task of corralling pool participants to ensure an unsig is chosen within the allotted time and that there are no fewer than 3 participants deciding (typically by vote) on unsig placement at any given time.
The Pool Coordinator welcomes new participants to the pool and assists them in getting situated. The Pool Coordinator promotes the development of the pool’s unique style or subculture and may also initiate creative endeavors at the pool level, using the pool’s designated Portfolio.
The Pool Coordinator is doing a service to the pool by taking on this task and is not expected to chase participants down. The Pool Coordinator may lean on the Bureau for any support needed to keep the unsig selection process running smoothly.
Portfolio — Prior to each new Cycle, pools are assigned an unsig portfolio from which to choose an unsig for placement on the grid. As of October 2022, there were 745 unsigs per pool portfolio. Note that portfolios are re-assigned rather than re-shuffled or rebalanced. The specific sequence of re-assigning portfolios is not known in advance.
The philosophy behind this approach is to invite participants to focus on their unsig placement when it is their turn to play, rather than to think several moves ahead.
Cycle — A cycle is the period of time it takes for the pools to lay down one unsig each on the communal grid. Each pool has 3 to 5 business days to choose and place an unsig. At the most, a full cycle is approximately 3 weeks. This time period may be extended from time to time in the event of holidays, Cardano gatherings or other unforeseen events. Time limit extensions remain flexible although they cannot be negotiated after the fact. If a pool fails to place their unsig within the allotted time, they may have to forfeit their turn. The decision rests with the Bureau.
Bureau — The Bureau is a tongue in cheek title which designates what would be the governing body in a community such as UG in the default world. The Bureau expects to function as a Bureau of Celebration far more often than as a Bureau of Complaints. Should disputes arise, however, The Bureau is where such disputes will be heard and resolved.
The Bureau is run by UG Creators Aether Cavendish and Nick Barton. As of October 2022, the Bureau also counts one member: Redegg. Additional members may be invited to join the Bureau over time.
Decommodification — UG is a communal, participatory environment, which shall remain unmediated by transactions of any kind, particularly shilling.
All artwork minted under the UG name is gifted to its members and participants at no cost, with no expectation of any kind of reciprocity.
While no one can be prevented from subsequently selling artwork minted under the UG name on the secondary market, it is strongly discouraged.
Contribution — There are no membership fees to join UG. The considerable work done thus far and for the foreseeable future is and will remain pro bono.
The Bureau will continue to add items to the Wish List on Discord and invite participants to contribute their unique skills, time and energy to create the tools needed for the UG community to thrive.
Creative energy and kindness are recognized to be as important as programming skills (for example). Contributions are not measured according to the yardstick of the default transactional world.
One of the crucial tasks of the Bureau is to find creative, fun and inspiring ways to celebrate all significant contributors, regardless of the nature of their contribution.
Celebration — UG wishes to celebrate rather than to reward its participants. To this end, all members of UG, as well as The Alexandria Project, will receive a mint of the first large scale group composition.
Active participants will also regularly receive other *not for sale* unsig compositions, unsig derivative artworks and/or UG related artworks as celebratory expressions of gratitude and friendship. Participants are also invited to submit unsig derivative artwork of their own (from time to time and in accordance with specific thematic guidelines) to be considered for the curated UG gallery.
Values — The values of UG are radical inclusion, kindness, decommodification, friendship and creativity.
Radical inclusion, with zero tolerance for racism, sexism, ableism, ageism and pretty much every single ism in the book.
Kindness is self-explanatory: it feels good, both on the giving and the receiving end, we know it when we feel it. May we all practice it.
Friendship takes time and all members are invited to cultivate it as much as possible in our community. In the interim, Participation is extremely valuable: when we commit to hanging out with our friends, we show up, at least the majority of the time, which still leaves ample room for life to get in the way every now and then.
Decommodification in the specific context of UG, is also tied in with friendship: just like we don’t charge friends to come hang out and make art with us, we also don’t try to sell them our wares.
Creativity is our birthright and we celebrate creativity in all its forms.
Thank you for reading and sharing with friends! Regardless of participation in UG, readers are invited to create space in their hearts and minds for these universal values and consider ways in which to practice them in everyday life. Kindness is badass.