Jennifer & Kevin McCoy - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session New York Thursday, June 24, 2021 | Phillips

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  • As media artists, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy have always been interested in art that creates effects in real time in unexpected ways. With art historical precedents set by artists such as John Cage and Anni Albers, their work strives to create an initial set of structures that then play out over an elongated period of time. Quantum Leap, with its three-year cycle of evolution, is the longest-term artwork the artists have made to date.  With the recent innovations in NFTs and the social dynamics around them, Quantum Leap, as it evolves and multiplies, extends the terrain of the work of art into something akin to an eco-system. 
    "As media artists, we have always been interested in art that creates effects in real time in unexpected ways."
    —Jennifer and Kevin McCoy 

    Quantum Leap is a generative, code-based NFT series inspired by Kevin McCoy’s 2014 work Quantum, the first artwork tokenized on a blockchain. The word “quantum” alludes to the attempt in theoretical physics to develop a theory of the universe. This approach to physics generally also strives to answer questions about the first phases of the universe. This generative, iterative process is emulated in the structure of Quantum Leap which evolves to become more complex, changing states, and spinning off new versions of itself over time. 


    The Quantum Leap series consists of eight unique tokens, the Primordial Stars. The present lot, Quantum Leap (Primordial Star 1) is the first in the series to be offered for sale. For this project, several levels of code-based systems interact. Visually, each token from Quantum Leap produces a mandala that changes and evolves, inspired by the life cycle of the stars, which shift colors as they age. These stars also change form as they become more circular as the code-generated images mature, evolving from three to twenty sides over the span of their lifetimes. 

    The code-execution environment that drives the animation exists both on a dedicated website, and eventually, as a downloadable stand alone application. This website allows collectors who have Quantum Leap tokens to visit the site, connect their wallets (or download the .exe) and see the artwork that corresponds to their token. The software will read the specific tokens and derive operational parameters from on-chain data belonging to each token.




    Tokenomics: Primordials, Descendant Stars, and Darkstars


    Works in the Quantum Leap series can do three things: they can generate descendent tokens, they can evolve, and they can go dark after evolution.  Each of these actions produces specific animated states.


    The code for Quantum Leap contains a function which, over time, slowly complicates the visual pattern of the artwork. When each Primordial Star increases its side count, the previous side count animation will begin to decay and a new Primordial Star token will generate. The timing of this event will vary depending on on-chain parameters.

    Initially, the eight Primordial Stars each have a set unique starting value, including their initial number of sides (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10) and unique color palettes. Over time, the side count of the Primordial Star tokens will then evolve from the initial side count to twenty sides. 

    As these initial tokens progress, they can also produce offspring which the original token owner will also own. Each Primordial Star will contain dynamics which allow for the creation of newly derived tokens with their own parameters that drive unique visual patterns in the rendering software. Each of the eight Primordial Stars will spawn between one and seven offspring that will be generated by random mutations. The entire spawning period will take place over the course of three years, and these newborn descendent tokens will neither evolve nor die. 

    The code contains a decay function which, once initiated, will desaturate the image to a grayscale animating mandala. The conditions to initiate this ‘death’ are random and must happen at least once before the 3-year limit is over.   

    After a token sheds its Darkstar, it evolves into a token with one additional side (e.g., from 3 to 4 sides).

  • Quantum Leap’s Art Historical Predecessors


  • Further Information on NFTs

    Which currency will bidding be denominated in?

    The auction will be conducted and invoiced in US dollars (USD).

    What forms of payment are accepted? 

    Payments are due in either USD or in Ether. Each bidder will be responsible for conducting their own U.S. Dollar to Ether cryptocurrency conversion throughout the online-only auction and at the time of each of their bids, and you acknowledge and agree that cryptocurrency rates fluctuate regularly and the conversion rate may change during the course of the online-only auction and you are responsible for the payment of a winning bid at the rate of exchange at the time payment is made by you, and not at a previous rate of exchange. 

    Are there resale royalties due to the artist on secondary market sales?      

    The NFT is subject to resale royalties on any subsequent resales of the NFT. On any subsequent resale of the NFT, the successful bidder and buyer of the NFT at the auction may be obligated on Seller’s behalf to collect and remit to Seller resale royalties as applicable equal to 10% of the sale price of the NFT. Other resale royalties and transaction duties imposed by law may also apply in relation to such resales. 


    • You are bidding as principal and not on behalf of anyone else

    • You have a wallet capable of supporting and accepting a ERC721 token

    • You accept and understand that payment can be made in Ether only if made:

      • from a single wallet registered to you;

      • using funds belonging to you; and

      • maintained by one of the following:

        • Coinbase Custody Trust;

        • Coinbase, Inc.;

        • Fidelity Digital Assets Services, LLC;

        • Gemini Trust Company, LLC; or

        • Paxos Trust Company, LLC.


    Payments from digital wallets hosted at other exchanges or self-hosted wallets will not be recognized or accepted and in such circumstances payment will be required in US dollars.


    If you are the successful bidder you agree to provide us with all information and documentation, we request in order to verify your identity and to confirm that the Ether payment was made from a digital wallet registered in your name and maintained at by one of the platforms above. Partial payments of a lot from multiple digital wallets will not be accepted.


    Please view the full NFT Conditions of Sale.

    • Provenance

      The Artists


Quantum Leap (Primordial Star 1)

Token ID: 1
Contract Address: 0x8425...9F31

Non-Fungible Token (ERC-721) with executable software application
Minted on June 22, 2021, this work is a unique variant from a series of 8.

For this particular lot please see the special NFT Conditions of Sale, which govern the sale of this Lot, published on Phillips’ website (, under the “New York Guide” dropdown menu. Please read the NFT Conditions of Sale carefully before bidding.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate On Request

Sold for $201,600

Contact Specialist

Rebekah Bowling
Head of Day Sale, Afternoon Session
New York

1 212 940 1250


20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 24 June 2021