NFTs are here to stay

Two years ago, only a few insiders had heard of NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens), electronic identifiers that certify the authenticity of a unique work and prove its ownership.

04 October 2022 Tuesday 03:52
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NFTs are here to stay

Two years ago, only a few insiders had heard of NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens), electronic identifiers that certify the authenticity of a unique work and prove its ownership. However, ever since Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, sold a digital collage, Everydays: The First 5,000 Days, at Christie's for $69 million, the phenomenon has spread wildly both inside and outside the art world. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey's first tweet fetched an absurd $2.9 million - only to drop just as precipitously to $280 at a subsequent auction last April - and established artists like Damien Hirst, Marina Abramović and Ai Weiwei have enthusiastically joined despite the turmoil in a market that is already showing signs of slowing down. "We are at a turning point, we don't know what the second step will be, but it is certain that NFTs are here to stay," says Pau Walder, art critic and independent curator specializing in digital art.

Thus, Walder opened NFTs: and now what?, one of the central tables of the ninth edition of the Talkin Galleries, the international congress around the gallery that this Tuesday celebrates its second and last day in the Auditori del Macba. Nor does Kate Vass, founder of the Swiss gallery specializing in generative art and a pioneer in the use of cryptocurrencies in the artistic context, consider that we are facing a temporary phenomenon but, she clarifies, it should be taken for what it is, "a transaction tool safe for digital art, not an art form.” “But it is also more than a tool, it is a means that we can use to transform things”, adds Andrés Reisinger (Buenos Aires, 1990), an Argentine artist based in Barcelona for whom working in the digital medium is as natural as it is for Picasso. or Matisse must have found it easy to pick up a brush. “I had my first computer when I was six years old and with my brother we connected every night for two hours, when consumption was cheaper. So it was a way of understanding that not everything that happened in the world happened in my neighborhood.”

Reisinger has been working in digital art for fifteen years, he became known through Instagram and in 2021 his career took an unexpected turn when he auctioned off a collection of virtual furniture through Nifty Gateway. They sold in less than ten minutes for a total of $450,000. One of the pieces, which Reisinger promised to design in collaboration with the buyer, fetched the highest price: $67,777. Forbes magazine had already named him one of the visionaries under 30 years old and he is currently working on Polen, an NFT that changes with the seasons of the year and has the ability to “pollinate” others so that they change. He made an edition of two hundred and sent them to collectors who already own his works; Until the end of the year, they will be able to decide whether to keep them or transform them.

Reisinger warns about the dangers of succumbing to the mercantilist maelstrom. "If you don't keep your mind fresh and very calm, you can lose your mind and that's why there have been projects that have failed the next day, because they were children of that state of anxiety."

Both Unit London co-founder Joe Kennedy and Christie's director of 20th century art agree that it is an ever-evolving technology whose speed is catching everyone by surprise, that good art can be found within that category and despicable works and, like Vass, they expressed the opinion of the tendency of museums to turn their great works into NFTs “it is a fantastic way to monetize and obtain extra benefits”.

The symposium directed by Llucià Homs also brought together Elvira Dyangani Ose and Carles Guerra to reflect on inclusion in the art world and, among others, the founder of the Serpentine Galleries in London and current director of Thaddeus Ropac projects Julia Peyton-Jones who spoke about the challenges of today's art world.



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