'The Gateway' NFT
I turned a missing CIA document into a digital puzzle
It’s about time I explain most of what it’s all about.
If you might, take a moment to examine the image sitting below this text. I’ll wait…
What do you notice? It pretty clearly depicts a piece of paper; it’s decorated with a wall of text in serif typeface; it casts a shadow; the page is spliced into a sea of rectangular perforations; one of the tabs is punched out; there’s some pollution in the top- and bottom-left characteristic of a third of fourth generation reproduction, perhaps bite marks turned bit marks from a stainless steel staple.
If you’ve taken account of all these attributes, you’re at the doorstep of ‘The Gateway’ NFT. Come on in.
Enter: ‘The Gateway’
In February, I wrote a story titled ‘How to Escape the Confines of Time and Space According to the CIA’. It is a synthesis of a formerly classified Defense Department report — "Analysis and Assessment of The Gateway Process". The mind-bending investigation attempts to establish the scientific underpinnings of and techniques to achieve astral projection. My aim was to help as many people as possible access the powerful ideas the report contains.
The report revolves around an audio technology developed in the 1970s by a radio broadcasting executive named Robert Monroe and his Monroe Institute. The Institute's techniques combine binaural soundscapes with voice guidance to help humans elevate their consciousness and 'travel' beyond the ordinary confines of space and time. A specter has loomed over the report though. It was declassified with one seemingly very crucial page missing - Page 25. The Internet has been hunting for it ever since.
My article reached millions of folks. From my coordinates in a snowy Canadian forest, it felt like an anonymous army of fellow psychonauts descending on an unsuspecting collection of keywords — CIA intrigue, secret documents, astral projection, holographic universes.
I'd struck a nerve somewhere out there.
The personal outreach that came next is what really blew my mind. Thousands of individuals from all over the world took the time to share their out-of-body experiences with me. My inbox became an open sea teeming with extraordinary personal accounts of inter-dimensional travel.
Then, to my total astonishment, the missing page 25 landed in my possession. A follow-up detailing the contents of the page and its origins was published last week. The page is an extraordinary document that folds science, spirituality and human psychology up into one existentially reassuring unified theory.
Page 25’s emergence parallels my work which is devoted to finding ways to bring the invisible into view. Sometimes though, text alone fails to paint the whole picture. In keeping with my homemade multimedia efforts, I created a companion visual work to accompany my most recent story.
‘The Gateway’ NFT
‘The Gateway’ NFT is a high-resolution reinterpretation of the missing page 25 from the formerly classified CIA's Gateway Report on astral projection.
The image contains 658 digital micro-inscriptions of reader-submitted Out-Of-Body Experience accounts, only visible at 300% magnification. Think of it like a Google Earth for consciousness.
The production of ‘The Gateway’ was as labyrinthine as the original "Analysis and Assessment of The Gateway Process", my experience reporting on it, the road that led me to obtaining the missing page and the 11,400 astral projection emails I received.
—> Page 25 was laser-printed on to 80 lb. brilliant-white watercolor paper here in LA.
—> The physical print was over-nighted to Pleasant Hill, Oregon where legendary LSD blotter artist Zane Kesey perforated the paper into 900 individual tabs.
—> The physical paper was shipped back to LA and photographed in-studio on Medium Format.
—> The negative was drum scanned to produce the highest resolution digital file possible.
—> The dangerously crisp image was digitally micro-inscribed with 658 personal stories of astral travel sent to me from around the globe, and one clue.
—> To make the visual experience interactive for folks beyond the final owner of the NFT, I needed an online zoom function. Web services specializing in infinite magnification are hard to find. To achieve this, I worked with EasyZoom, a web service built by a German Oncologist for cellular micrography. Thanks Martin!
The final 'The Gateway' NFT is a minted 1/1 46.7MB JPEG. It comes with an encrypted digital shoebox containing: 1) The full original report, 2) A hyper-high res TIFF, 3) The original two Gateway articles, 4) Stand-alone imagery/pdfs/gifs, 5) All my research materials, 6) A vast collection of vintage and cutting-edge audio gems, 7) Documentation of my production process, 8) A directory of Out-Of-Body Experiences and 9) A first look at The Gateway II.
‘The Gateway’ is being auctioned on SuperRare mid-May.
A portion of the proceeds go to Mind Science, a foundation that explores the mystery of human consciousness by funding the work of early-career neuroscientists.
I’ve spent hours reading the emails people have sent me about their Out-Of-Body Experiences. At first I didn't know what to do with them all. Maybe find a follow-up story? Maybe spot some radical pattern? The more time I spent with the emails, the more meaningful they became. The strings of letters graduated from mere words to a higher form - emotional transmissions being pinged from people across the lands into the ether. Many of these souls felt alone. I was moved to find a way to bring them together.
The Gateway describes the sensation of inexorably searching for something missing. Sometimes when you find what you've been seeking, it's not so much an end as it is the starting line for a new exploration. The Gateway is that infinite zoom in on the fractal of never-ending inquiry.
Ultimately, page 25 is a material stand-in for an intangible something that feels less than available in our lives. We are all standing at the doorstep of a quantum leap in consciousness. The events of the last year have unveiled so many new modes of thinking about our relationships with each other and how we might be connected, networks we couldn't even see before. Realizing this ecological interconnectedness opens us humans up to a universe of possibility.
Bringing all these voices together on the object we thought we were looking for hopefully contains a whisper of that potential.
If you’re not trying to transform your mountainous crypto reserves into digital art, Subscribe to Exo today for $20 or more / year, and a physical print of ‘The Gateway’ is yours! If you're already a supporting subscriber it's in the mail.
‘The Gateway’ was a group effort:
Artist - Thobey Campion
Collaboration - Ben Palmer
Printing - Alex Gonzales, Control LA
Perforation - Zane Kesey
Photography - Ben Pier
Remote Production - Adrian Buitenhuis
Studio/Gear - On The Mark Media
Scanning - The Icon LA
Muscle - Jon Lutzky
Zoom Tech - Smart in Media / EasyZoom
Literary Reworksmanship - Jason Koebler
Auction Platform - SuperRare
Foundation Partner - Mind Science
Spirit Guidance - Jesse Meighan
Special thanks to Jenny Whedbee at The Monroe Institute and all the travelers who shared their stories.