La Marque — IPFS Digital Watermarking & Social Networking

La Marque is an experiment of mine, a platform to watermark your content & share/interact with them in a unique way. It has been a personal mission to implement a new sharing method. Something that felt more personal, invoking introspection.

Get it here

Motivation

I remember the first application I launched regarding cryptography where one would take digital assets of fashion-wear/architecture while regions of the photo are to be marked with messages. It would export as a normal photo, but when opened in app on another device it would recover the messages offline.

Being able to share content, that can be viewed offline. Without the online persona, but maintaining the integrity of expression social networks provide.

Could have been a direct product of my introverted nature. But, tend to build things out then ask. It’s not a very efficient approach in engineering, but to me it’s simply another painting.

Tinkering with this idea lead to another. This time focusing on visual manipulation. Using depth to alter perspectives and adding a new dimension while ingesting video content.

(2019) — Real-time generated point cloud from a iPhone X. Along with Metal Shaders powering visuals from audio signals.

Audio and Video have always been special interests of mine. Specifically how they could intertwine and not in the usual sense. But, in such that audio can directly impact visual changes naturally. We all know of a special app that has made it huge in the past years due to music being the sole focus.

So I do feel, music is an essential ingredient when expressing artistic vision. But, what if I like developing digitally static art? A static image with overlaying visuals did not resonate with my internal emotions when observing a piece. Not as much as what I integrated here.

Adding depth into the mix and the ability for a user’s mobile device’s movement, orientation to change positioning, the added layer of connection made me feel closer to a work.

(2019) — A picture taken with the same application.

IPFS

Great, that was cool to see, now what does all of this have to do with La Marque. The integration of both into a singular vision, required something else. Wasn’t sure at the time and when the NFT ecosystem slowly became mainstream, I started to draw parallels. Then I found a cornerstone, to unite them all. The basis of this is an open source project, focused on sharing content powered via a P2P network.

ipfs.io — https://github.com/ipfs

If we remove all the buzzwords of NFT, Crypto, Blockchain, and boil this ideal down to the core. A peer to peer network where content is sharded across a vast network. A network that is synonymous to the architecture of torrents and limewire’s heyday of content sharing. A network where the seeders are now able mobilize more effectively, hosting and empowering assets be delivered uncensored and for everyone's needs of consumption.

In my understanding of NFT art, a hashed image secured and consistent is attached to a singular unique token. This hash is like a key for viewing an asset on a reliable and secure network. In this case IPFS’s pinning services can act as a source, although the P2P network is unreliable if nodes aren’t self-hosted where caching rules can de-prioritize availability when needed.

Your images aren’t stored on a “server” per se, but scattered. Uniting together for preview under a hash that is it’s identity.

Digital Watermarking

The first goal of La Marque, is to allow creators to organize their works into a digital portfolio experience.

While when uploaded, a signature is encoded into the raw image data, this signature houses vital data, including the IPFS hash associated with the image.

Another user who receives an image from another means of authentic contact. Such as iMessage, airdrop, file-sharing, the receiver can use the verification feature of La Marque, to check whether it is actually from the creator or not. This can occur offline as well, the physicality of art, re-purposed in the digital world.

The receiver can then collect it into their exhibition augmenting their current collection.

Images pulled from websites or through any form of unwarranted access will not be valid.

And thus, the creator has another way to prove if their art has truly been forged without their consent.

There is the usual fear of someone re pinning the same image and acting as if their variant is of the true La Marque Collectible. To battle this, it is important to understand dates are recorded, time of creation is used as a comparable if and when necessary. But, I am still brainstorming of a unique way to administer such cases from within the app.

Social Networking

Now for the experiment itself. Sharing is an complex interaction, it is a personal endeavor between two parties.

And with most of the mediums available today, I pose a question. Are we sharing or waiting to be seen.

Although, do not take my broad statement personally or generalize it to everyone. I am merely stating a emotional response one might get unconditionally.

La Marque, doesn’t allow the normal “flow” in viewing the portfolios of others. Dubbed exhibitions they are accessible only when an original work has been obtained from the creator. In the example above, I can now visit the creators profile, displaying their creations on a static site. Which is also hosted on IPFS and is transient.

If the content is still available for viewing, then it is being accessed enough times to stay alive on a IPFS node. Which indirectly could mean, your exhibition variant of that collectible is quite the attraction.

Any new works added after the image was shared to you, the exhibition link will not update. It will only display the creator’s works up to the point of the last creation received.

La Marque v1.1.1 — Using Marble my Metal based rendering engine, optimized for mobile. Reacting to the music from Le Verre Radio.

Experience

And last but not least, the incorporation of depth. To view your portfolio in a way that can foster the inspiration for more creations.

With either the choice of La Marque’s radio Le Verre, or simply listen to your environment, your images will come to life, reacting to sound and animating in 3D.

There’s still much left to be done. Polishes to be made and interactions to iron out. But, I wanted to put my thoughts on paper and warrant a discussion from the communities that are interested. If something like this is viable. Can it potentially improve online social anxiety and protect artworks globally from forgery. Or if it is too abstract to make sense. Or simply if this, just looks cool and that is all she wrote.

I rarely turn to self actualization when I carry on to build, so even after writing this, I finally feel some clarity with the integrated elements. I wonder how anyone reading this would utilize La Marque. Or better yet, be inspired to develop an application themselves around IPFS or something alike. Sharing the same motivations for innovating today’s creative technology.

democratizing financial & mental health, app x app, line x line, day x day.