R.I.P Banking System, or so is the name of the renowned BTC Flower Piece. Having first arrived on the streets of Paris in early 2018, the work continues to bloom in new forms.
The French artist Ludo explores a world where biotechnological chimeras offer to merge plants and animals with our technological universe. It’s an attempt to express the duality of absurd opposites that occupy the same space in our world. There’s a reason it strikes so deep when we see it.
Chimeras, or individuals that are an amalgamation of two or more genetically distinct individuals, have always grasped the human mind for reasons we never fully understood. The original Chimera, appearing in Hesiod’s Theogony and Homer’s Iliad, was a Greek monster sharing the heads of a lion, goat, and snake. A weird mix to say the least, but for some strange reason, we’ve been crafting these figures as part of our oldest art and legends.
We are in a confusing age, fiddling with questions likely more complex than anything our ancestors had dreamt. For example, we now know that there’s a good chance you are a Chimera, as they’re everywhere. We also know we now have the power to create and customize them, whether in the realm of biotechnology or robotics. Often is the case in all of technology — in learning what we could do, we’re left wondering what we should do.
Ludo’s artistic hybrids are an exploration of the gaping holes these questions leave in our humanity.
Often there’s a depiction of tech arising from flowers
Or flowers arising from tech
…exploring what a symbiosis may look like.
Interpretations are mostly left to the mind’s eye, but we can’t seem to shake the eerie feeling Ludo’s most famous works leave us with, especially as something traditionally beautiful becomes blended with our intuitions of the modern world’s lesser-known elements.
With Ludo there’s always a twist, exposing the caveats of joining these two distinct worlds, while reminding us of what they can teach us. Perhaps, if we are honest with ourselves, there is no separating the two.
Ludo is generally very subtle in his message to the world, leaving room for interpretation as he struggles to join two worlds, seemingly at odds, into unified works. That subtlety is completely lost when Ludo ventures into man’s most influential and misused technology: Money.
Here there is no physical divide between the natural and technological, they are one and the same, fates intertwined, wavering together.
Ludo stays crystal clear on the theme of Fiat’s inherent ties to power and corruption and has been doing so long before the story was about Bitcoin. Just like his artistic expression normalizes the absurdity of our modern times, Ludo similarly delivers a refreshing reminder to those losing themselves in the depths of the Bitcoin rabbit hole, why they are there in the first place. Who better to reflect on the ideals of the crypto ecosystem?
In early 2018, BTC Flower made its debut on the streets of Paris. An unusual kind of Ludo piece, sharing the same techno-flower chimera archetype, but with a different tone and style. R.I.P Banking System was an uplifting symbol framed with an elegantly simple message. There’s not a forced entanglement, but a genuine symbiosis of the natural and technical. Greenery keeps its original plant form with Bitcoin at its core, able to bloom from the remains of a failed Fiat system. A seed had been planted if you will.
This story cuts closer to the ideals of crypto than most realize. BTC Flower started as a street piece, the first large Bitcoin art the world has ever known. Egalitarian in nature, it has no owner and is free for everyone — Ludo’s gift to the world. This was only the beginning. Ludo went on to stay involved in the space throughout crypto winter. He created and privately sold physical versions of BTC Flower in March 2020, remaining a symbol of hope in the market’s darkest days.
The crypto space has now evolved in such a way that grants us an opportunity to strip away inherent limitations that have been crimping down on Ludo’s work for years. As a street artist, his creations are shared far and wide, but without reward. Private art sales are a means to monetize his craft but remain an elitist experience, reserved for a class of wealthy people with the right connections.
Ludo has also spent his artistic career practicing a limited form of expression for his niche. A chimera is not a unilateral phenomenon to be represented in a single form.
It just so happens this is how we express them, as works of art are made one at a time. In reality, chimeras, whether biological products of nature or mechanical products of humankind, are ubiquitous in our world, iterative through time, and unique with varied characteristics. BTC Flower is lifting the cap on artistic expression through chimeras that has been in place for ten millennia.
The next iteration of R.I.P Banking System is coming in the form of 2,009 digital NFTs, commemorating the year of Bitcoin’s genesis. They will exist natively on the Internet Computer, the only global blockchain with Bitcoin interoperability. The art itself will be a true chimera, a single piece of art in iterable and varied forms, distributed as a network species. BTC Flower’s move from physical to digital isn’t a happenstance scenario nor an opportunistic NFT play, but an utter necessity in reaching levels of creativity and equity that should be representative of anything in crypto.
The BTC Flower is more than just an artistic representation or symbol for the Bitcoin movement — it’s a distillation of Bitcoin’s story that reminds us where we’ve been, where we’re going, and most importantly, why we Bitcoiners do what we do. Follow our progress and join us along in this journey at @btcflower.