Ean Golden in his studio, with some of the Fluint-produced art on the walls | Credit: Courtesy

Ean Golden offers a summary of his arc. “I climbed to the top of a ladder and realized that I’d put it on the wrong roof.” For 20 years, Golden was a renowned deejay whose artistic and tech contributions to the form made him a revered and beloved figure, and so he remains. Traveling the world at the top of his frenetic game, Golden was playing huge rooms in places like Ibiza, trailblazing the Digital Deejay movement he helped launch, and innovating through his own company the midi hardware that would ultimately supplant the deejay’s turntable. 

A culture-tweaking thought leader, proselytizer, and writer in the vitalized deejay community — and a sonic shaman to the gyrating acolytes who swarmed his ecstatic performances — Ean Golden was a brand unto himself. Then he took a step back.

“I’ve chosen a slightly different path for now,” he understates.

That slightly different path is Fluint, which lives at the unlikely intersection of ancient Zen interiority and robotics. “It’s a collaborative form of art, generative in nature.” Generative? “Generative art is a work in which the designer produces the conditions under which a piece of art is generated or produced. The generative artist may never touch the piece, but designs the system that produces it. The inputs to that system are people’s choices. This is art being created in the moment.”

Golden and his team — Tom Sepi, Sean Dadashi, and Dani Pletter — have devised an interface and website that allows people from anywhere in the world to collaboratively produce a singular work of art in real time, based on the ancient Japanese art form called suminagashi — which Golden describes as “a Zen practice of floating ink on water, which produces mesmerizing, emergent patterns that form and change over time.”

Some examples of Fluint-produced pieces | Credit: Courtesy

The geographically disparate participants in the art piece’s creation issue commands through the online Fluint interface, and these are directly implemented by Golden’s robot: an ink-dispensing armature hovering over a still pool of water in his Santa Barbara studio. Participants see their inputs synchronously enacted on their own computer screens. In the fullness of time, one of the group “mints” the work, completing an art piece made inimitable by its presence on the Ethereum blockchain. The end result is thus an NFT, a digital asset unique in the world and produced — in this case — through a meditative 12th-century Japanese art form.

In suminagashi, the eternal circle is the base visual gesture from which the ink whimsically blossoms on the water’s surface. One senses the closing of such a circle for Fluint’s founder, whose increasing success became an impediment to his foundational goal — the gathering of strangers in an immersive setting that unites and illuminates.

“This project is about loving imperfection. It’s about giving up control and letting something magical happen in the process.” Golden — once and future high priest of the bass-maddened whirling dervish set — offers a serene grin. “Fluint art is about celebrating life.”

Fluint “First Drops” (left) and an art piece created with Fluint | Credit: Courtesy

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