Artists pushing boundaries in blockchain
A question that has been increasingly circulating the art and blockchain community is “what is crypto art?” At New Art Academy’s NYC ArtTech + Blockchain Connect in October, the question was asked how do we define “crypto art”. For some, it is using the technology as a medium the way an artist might sculpt in clay or paint in oils. For others, it is about creating art that examines or represents blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. In this post, we highlight artists doing both and see how artists continue to play a crucial role in communicating the latest in technology to the public. Each artist infuses humanity and accessibility into their works; two things that complex technology often lack.
Well known in the crypto space for his works Forever Rose, Yellow Lambo and I am a coin, Kevin Abosch is taking on his latest blockchain venture with world-famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. A recurring theme in his works, Abosch explores human value through blockchain technology; the irony likely not lost on anyone.
In their new works together, titled Priceless, the two friends spent time together engaging in human to human experiences, like sharing tea, and tokenized their priceless moments. Different wallet addresses hold ERC20 tokens that represent the moments shared between two friends, and through this the artists allow one to “buy” their priceless memories and time spent together. Abosch says this about the project:
“I have been using blockchain addresses as proxies to distill emotional value for some time now, and with Weiwei we “tokenized” our priceless shared moments together. Some of these moments on the surface might seem banal while others are subtly provocative.”
Both artists’ fascination with human identity and value have married in this project where human value is directly transformed into a commodified asset. Abosch and Weiwei confront the viewer with the irony that through blockchain technology we are able to turn priceless, human moments into assets and sell them for varying prices.
Follow Kevin on Twitter: kevin abosch
Follow Ai Weiwei on Twitter: 艾未未 Ai Weiwei
Another artist who is exploring tokenization with a relationship to humanity is Jonas Lund, a Swedish contemporary artist who creates paintings, sculpture, photography, websites and performances that critically reflect on contemporary networked systems and power structures.
Lund created the Jonas Lund Token (JLT), these 100,000 tokens are available for purchase and owners of the tokens have the voting power to control the artist’s artistic practice. Thousands of the tokens are distributed among Lund’s artworks, available when a patron purchases a work; a clever dynamic between art and cryptocurrency. The distributed nature of blockchain technology allows Lund to hand over his artistic agency to a network of players, simultaneously leveraging the popularity and revolutionary nature of ICO funding while also questioning the structure and power dynamics of the contemporary art world.
Follow Jonas on Twitter: @jonas_lund
Nanu Berks is an Argentina-born multi-disciplinary artist and nomad. She creates on art installations that explore the intersections between the expansion of human consciousness and transcendental technologies.
Her background in social science, technology and communication has led her to focus on experiential artwork that communicates information about the evolution of blockchain technology. Key topics include the redefinition of value and the tokenization of art.
Nanu’s art is a joyful explosion of different colors, textures, and ideas. Her experiments range in size from small canvases to multi-storey murals, integrating many different media. Recently she has started creating interactive installations for crypto conferences that reframe aspects of the technology through immersive experiences.
“Art, something visual, tangible, makes people have more curiosity and want to get hooked…on these technologies that are changing the world”. Berks’ work always communicates directly, provoking curiosity through her prominent use of the symbols associated with various cryptocurrencies. By imprinting these marks across the visual landscapes of our lives through installations, murals, and other works, she hopes to help normalize this outsider technology.
Nanu has also experimented with other aspects of blockchain technology. “Cryptocurrencies are only a small part of the blockchain world. It also allows you to tokenize your art and exchange it for services. [This can]…help us to redefine value”
Her idea is that an artist can create a work and register in on the blockchain and allow anyone to become a co-owner of the work by paying with cryptocurrency. This would allow the reach of creators to be multiplied, and allow them to benefit more directly from ongoing sales of their work.
Follow Nanu on Twitter: @NanuBerks
Brooklyn based and Colombia born artist Jessica Angel works at the intersection of traditional art and digital media has become a leader in the crypto art community. Her installation works and exploration of physical spaces are now being exemplified in the Dogethereum Bridge #ArtProject, a public artwork sponsored by TrueBit.
The Doge-Ethereum bridge allows cryptocurrency holders to move coins from the Doge to Ethereum blockchains. Re-imagining that process, Angel is creating a physical bridge in the Dogethereum Bridge #ArtProject piece, allowing people to enter into the space for an immersive and educational experience of blockchain technology. The progressive work engages people from both the arts and technology communities and brings them into one physical space. Angel says that “Through art, we aim to promote the understanding of blockchain technology by engaging with the community.”Angel uses her signature style and ability to create captivating 4D spaces to teach the public about blockchain technology in a compelling yet approachable way.
Follow Jessica on Twitter: @J_Angel_Studio
Codex is the leading decentralized asset registry for the $2 trillion arts & collectibles (“A&C”) ecosystem, which includes art, fine wine, collectible cars, antiques, decorative arts, coins, watches, jewelry, and more. Powered by the CodexCoin native token, the Codex Protocol is open source, allowing third-party players in the A&C ecosystem to build applications and utilize the title system. Codex has launched two initial decentralized apps (beta), Biddable, providing access to unique assets for crypto-holders, and Codex Viewer, to create and manage blockchain identities for your unique assets. The Codex Protocol and CodexCoin will be adopted as the only cryptocurrency by The Codex Consortium, a group of major stakeholders in the A&C space who facilitate over $6 Billion in sales to millions of bidders across tens of thousands of auctions from 5,000 auction houses in over 50 countries.