What is this new NFT blockchain craze everyone is talking about? The first IMPAKT TV programme on Thursday 8 April will be looking at the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Unlike such popular cryptocurrencies as Bitcoin and Ethereum, these digital collector’s items cannot be traded. Blockchain technology makes each non-fungible token unique and uncopiable, and only transferrable as a whole.
These features make NFTs particularly interesting to the art world, as a way of making digital (i.e. easy to copy and reproduce) items tradable. An NFT gives someone a unique, transferrable owner’s name: an non-interchangeable mark of authenticity. Anything digital can potentially be sold as an NFT – illustrations, music, even a tweet. In recent weeks we have seen an NFT artwork auctioned for millions by the renowned auction house Christie’s.
As a result, digital art has become part of the speculative capitalist system of buying and selling art, which is so often criticised by artists. Indeed, we are now in the complex speculative landscape of cryptocurrency, which is also known for its negative impact on the environment.
On the one hand, NFTs appear to give artists a new way of earning money with their digital artworks. On the other hand, is such income in proportion to the energy needed to ‘mine’ the non-interchangeable certificates of authenticity? What are the risks and opportunities for the art world? How sustainable are NFTs and blockchain technology? Which power structures and dynamics are involved here? And who profits from this new technology?
IMPAKT has invited special guests and experts to help us answer these questions. Artist Simon Denny has been closely following developments in blockchain technology for years. In his latest work NFT Mine Offsets at the Petzel Gallery he creates NFT artworks (the first was offered on the NFT marketplace superrare.co on 18 March) as a response to and reflection on the environmental effects of these technologies.
The next guest is artist Harm van den Dorpel. In 2015, Harm van den Dorpel was the first artist to sell NFTs to a museum. Later, he founded left.gallery, a marketplace for blockchain artworks.
The hosts for the event are our very own Inte Gloerich and Michelle Franke (IMPAKT). Since 2016, Inte Gloerich has studied the social, cultural and political aspects of blockchain technology with us at INC. She will obtain her PhD from Utrecht University with her research into the different visions of the future expressed by blockchain projects, artworks and speculative designs. She is also part of our MoneyLab project, a network of researchers, artists and activists who are experimenting with the digital economy and forms of financial democratization.
This first IMPAKT TV programme will be livestreamed on YouTube.
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First IMPAKT TV episode on blockchain and art
20:00 — 21:00
LOCATION: ONLINE PROGRAMME