edit: 21 February 2023

Buttons, 2023

The button has been in a continuous state of shapeshifting over the expanding history of collective interface design. Endless webpages filled with designs, haptics, styles, expressions, subcultures, interactions, effects, all layered over this simple and elemental entity leaving in its wake a fundamental material presence within interface culture.

The internet is an unimaginably vast ecology of data and processes. Deeply stored data is immutable like buried granite, where other is constantly in flux like a rushing mountain stream. The whole system is in continuous evolution through endless processes reshaping the data interacting with each other and with ourselves. At the opaque surface of this churning ocean of bits is the exchange between both the realm of the computer and that of ourselves. The interface. And in the centre of this human machine culture lives the button. A binary entity reaching out from the very core of the machine's logic to touch, at the surface, our reaching finger, after which it dives back down in order to toggle some state from a zero to a one.

Jan Robert Leegte - www.leegte.org

Buttons, 2023 (mobile device orientation examples)

What is Buttons?

Buttons is a generative series of unique little pouches of interface gems. A collection of collections of human computer interaction trinkets.
On minting, a web document is created with 256 uniquely generated CSS styled HTML buttons, simply ordered by the text flow and wrapping of the page. They could be aqua buttons, metallic or flat, but also a mixed bag.
Buttons are there to stare at, click, tap or to contemplate on.

Responsive composition

In an attempt to expand on the field of generated compositions, the composition of Buttons is nothing more than the elements organising themselves by the wrapping of text flow. This means that a button will fall to the next line depending on the width of your browser window. If you resize the window, just like with a text, a new composition will be created.
Buttons doesn't scale from a desktop downwards, meaning on a phone you will have a nice long scroll of your buttons. The work does scale going up from the desktop to enable full window compositions on larger and future screens and projections.

Buttons, 2023 (outputs of one example Buttons in various sizes, click to enlarge)


The choice of color from one button to the next is based on wandering through the RGB spectrum. The wandering goes from monochromatic tones to a whole lot of colors and everything in between.

Collection size of 256.

Traditionally in programming the boolean value (true or false) of a button is stored in 1 byte of memory. 1 byte has a total size of 256. There will be 256 NFTs containing 256 buttons each.

Easter egg

Adding to the idea of interface culture being a public effort, you can upload a background image to your Buttons. In each NFT one button has been activated as upload button as an easter egg.
This image is only added temporarily. If you refresh or revisit the work it will be gone. You can of course make a screenshot of the customised work...

When, where and how much?

Buttons will been released at ... in an edition of 256 Ethereum NFTs.

Launch date: xxx.

Technologies used

In honour of the blockchain and the web, the work is written in vanilla JavaScript, using no dependancies, and generates standard HTML DOM, aiming for a materiality that comes as close as possible to the standard browser.

Related work

The work reaches down a long way in were I use and reflect on the interface button.
Earlier work in which I used buttons was for instance in the pastel drawing series Drawings (2018-2019). But also in early net art pieces like Three Buttons (2005) and Wood and Button (2003).

About me

Since 1997 I have been making art on the Internet in the form of websites and digital-related work, resulting in websites, apps, installations, videos, prints, sculptures, audio works and drawings. The networked computer is the central muse in my work, exploring all its wonders and peculiarities.
I don't use software to make art, I make art about software.

My work has been exhibited at The Whitechapel Gallery, Centre Pompidou, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, van Gogh Museum and the Ludwig Museum and acquired by various private and institutional collections. This is my fourth NFT collection after Ornament, Window and JPEG.

Check out my work at www.leegte.org.
My work is represented by Upstream Gallery Amsterdam.

Buttons, 2023