In June of 2022, Nancy Baker Cahill’s multifaceted augmented reality (AR) public art project, Mushroom Cloud NYC / RISE, reimagined for the Hudson River, debuted at the 2022 Tribeca Festival’s Immersive program at Pier 25. Mushroom Cloud NYC / RISE, featured an accompanying video NFT minted on the Algorand blockchain, speaking to the environmental concerns specific to New York, expanding the work’s scope and opportunities for public engagement.
For Mushroom Cloud NYC / RISE’s NYC debut, Nancy Baker Cahill created an NFT video specific to New York City. This new video, from the artist’s abstract Slipstream series, titled RISE, nods to rising waters, to viewers raising their gaze to witness the sky-covering mycelial network in the Mushroom Cloud AR experience and to collectively rising to the opportunity to combat the climate crisis through distributed support, mutual accountability and environmental stewardship. Mushroom Cloud NYC / RISE was be the first NFT ever created from an XR festival experience.
This is a project focused on accountability; one that values sharing and conserving resources, and strengthening networked systems through participation, communication, and advocacy. With these concepts in mind, Baker Cahill’s new NFT for this project, RISE, is minted on Algorand, one of the world’s most advanced and sustainable blockchains. Algorand, an original proof-of-stake blockchain, is at the forefront of the global blockchain revolution, built with an energy-efficient design that allows it to operate in a cleaner and more environmentally friendly way. By minting the work on Algorand, Baker Cahill underscores that innovation does not require a compromise on sustainability, but in fact, thrives when we act with mutual accountability and collective environmental stewardship.
Slowly but powerfully, we can grow a supportive network, like mycelium, based on self-repairing structures. By blanketing the sky with this poetics of interconnectedness, Baker Cahill invites viewers to perceive a multi-nodal, communal, often invisible cloud—one that might privilege interdependence and generosity. With reconceived accountabilities, perhaps we can prompt a productive balance of grief and hope, shattering and coalescing, and decomposition and rebirth. Together these prompts aim to inspire us to create a global, intentional, and conscientious network of mutual support and respect, which ultimately provides a strong platform from which collective problem-solving can occur.