What’s in a NFT? MABLAB’s The Birth of the Metaverse

MABLAB are the first artists to take part in Institut’s new GMI open call drop. GMI offers the chance for up-and-coming artists to exhibit and drop their artworks on the Institut platform. MABLAB are two sisters based in Kazakhstan who work in intricate and detailed ways with lofty architectural subject matter and complex programs. To give us more insight into The Birth of the Metaverse, the work they're dropping with us as part of GMI, they’ve taken us on a deep dive of their art making process.



We wanted to share the story of our artistic vision and the steps it takes to create our conceptual art. This project, Project Interface, started as a Master Thesis in Architecture in 2015. The focus of Project Interface is Architectural Interface, as in Architectural Space. Every artwork we create is a result of the different stages developed during our research project.


All of our work stems from years long in-depth architectural research. Project Interface [which The Birth of the Metaverse is part of] is based on work begun during our Master thesis in architecture. We use multimedia techniques, including 3D “digital hand-sculpting”, physical carving and digital hand-drawing techniques.



Project Interface is based on research from our years of exploration into the subject of Interface. Enhancing the experience and perception of space within the concept of architecture and spatial design. Project Interface was developed around the idea of Gestalt theory.


In relation to architectural design ‘the main idea of Gestalt psychology states that the meaning of the whole can’t be reached by individual parts because of the dynamic and organic relationships between the individual parts that integrate it.’ (Aydin 2004)


Our research starts with exploring physical qualities of interface by working with clay. We experiment with assembling clay segments into a sculpture. The structure of the sculpted model is organised by a combination of individual segments with regular and irregular geometric patterns.


To analyse the physical model with precision we transfer it to a digital format. We use photogrammetry and a 3D scanner to capture the details and create a 3D model.


We use 3D modelling software to analyse the geometry of forms and identify critical areas of proximity and contiguity between the individual parts. We focus on the areas of surface contact and tension within the 3D model.


To further our analysis we also experiment by speculating on the relationship between the constitutive parts. We introduce the technique of digital linear drawings to reinforce the visual dynamics and then produce a series of “speculative drawings” that explore the areas of interface and tension.



After the speculative drawing we set out to further explore the multidimensional experience of interstitial space. We consider the Interface as an architectural space. The interior of the Interface is defined by the qualities of the surface, such as the geometry of the landscape and its textures.


Experimenting with the joining and folding of forms we sculpt objects of large and solid mass from a rock-like material. We create a metamorphic body of indistinct and solid shapes through the arrangements of grains and crystals, these provide a rich texture, a strict geometry and structure of Interface.



After creating the metamorphic object we explore the interior of the interfacial space. Using a 3D digital hand-sculpting technique we carve a space where we can implement all of the parts of the Interface from the previous stages of the project.


To create the architectural space and interior of the Interface we use a 3D hand-sculpting technique. We create two architectural bodies with different landscapes, textures and surfaces.


From this experiment we create a digital 3D sculpture that provides the spatial experience of Interface. The combination of these two parts with their different landscape, surface and texture, creates a relationship and a feeling of tension within the Interface—much like our duo.


Project Interface was approximately:
More than 7500 hours to develop the project and methodology
After that it takes more than 250 hours to finish a single digitally hand sculpted landscape.


The years of development of Project Interface include the following stages:
Concept and development
Theoretical research
Critical review
Final production.

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