In a world where traditional art has long been revered and collectors pay millions for physical masterpieces, the emergence of algorithmically generated art is challenging conventional notions of creativity and ownership. Ringers #879, also known as “The Goose,” recently sold for a staggering $6.2 million at a Sotheby’s auction, raising eyebrows and sparking heated debates in the art world. 

This immaterial digital artwork represents a fascinating confluence of technological advancement and artistic ingenuity, and it poses a profound question to contemporary art enthusiasts: Can value be ascribed to something that exists solely in the virtual realm?

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The Goose and Its Creator

The Goose is the brainchild of Dmitri Cherniak, a 35-year-old engineer who, interestingly, did not have any formal art training. A graduate in physiology and computer science from McGill University, Cherniak delved into the intersection of probability theory and computer-generated visual art. He became captivated by the idea of generating unique outcomes through automated algorithms, leading him to experiment with a javascript code that produced a series of non-intersecting circles wrapped by a single line of string.

Cherniak’s meticulous process involved manual encoding of a palette of mid-century colors and geometric parameters to achieve a visually captivating outcome. The result was a collection of 1,000 randomly generated artworks that he introduced as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Ethereum blockchain.

The Revelation of The Goose

The process of generative art is akin to an act of faith, both for the artist and the collector. When the Ringers art collection was minted, neither party knew the specific content of the individual tokens they held. Yet, when The Goose, or Ringers #879, was unveiled, it stood out as a masterpiece among the thousand unique pieces.

The image exuded a dreamlike quality with abstract avian shapes resembling a pelican’s head or a goose’s beak. This extraordinary piece possessed a remarkable sense of balance, setting it apart from the rest of the collection. The Goose was truly a serendipitous outcome, with an allure that left collectors in awe.

Value Assessment and Emergence

The valuation of algorithmic art, particularly pieces like The Goose, raises intriguing questions about how we perceive art’s worth. According to pseudonymous fine art collector Punk 6529, there are three key factors to consider when assessing the value of automated digital art:

1. Aesthetic Appeal: Does the artwork visually compel and resonate with the viewer?

2. Rarity: Does the artwork represent a specific combination of traits that defy extraordinary odds?

3. Emergence: Has the algorithm produced an effect that is wholly unexpected and transcends traditional artistic norms?

The Future of Algorithmic Art

The advent of algorithmic art is an undeniable milestone in the evolution of creative expression. While some may dismiss these digital creations as avant-garde nonsense, it is crucial to remain open-minded and explore the boundaries of creativity in the digital age.

History has taught us that groundbreaking art movements, like Impressionism, were initially met with skepticism and ridicule. Today, these very movements are celebrated as revolutionary and influential. Similarly, the enduring value and cultural impact of algorithmic art, like The Goose, may only be fully understood and appreciated with the passage of time.


As The Goose and other algorithmically generated artworks challenge our perceptions of art and value, the world of digital creativity marches onward. In the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary art, we must embrace experimentation and innovation, appreciating the aesthetic marvels that emerge from the union of art and technology.

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Much like Claude Monet’s Impression: Soleil Levant, which was initially misunderstood and undervalued, The Goose’s true cultural significance may take time to unfold. As we continue to explore new frontiers in art, let us remain open to the unexpected and celebrate the imaginative genius of those who push the boundaries of creativity in our modern era.

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Written by Agbo Obinnaya

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