Behold the new buzz that is now entertaining the art’s billion-dollar industry and keeping busy every artist and artist-wanna-be. Behold NFT art or art made with non-fungible tokens or non-exchangeable tokens stored as transactions like bitcoins and altcoins.
The difference with bitcoin and other tokens, though, is that each NFT is unique and cannot be replicated. As technical as this may sound, hundreds of websites are hitchhiking the buzz to offer an intuitive interface for transforming any of your images or videos into an NFT artwork. In theory, the transactions should not cost a penny, however, the storage of the tokens validating the uniqueness of your work costs gas emission that NFT hosts and markets require a fee for upfront besides the commission fees on sales.
Just like in the old days when you would be paying a gallerist to curate and exhibit your art, today you are dealing with another middle man who only cares about your crypto money and a very non-human way. Yay — yyykkkks! Therefore, anyone can sell anything regardless of quality, intention, and the impact or message it shall leave behind.
This did not happen abruptly and do not blame it on NFT or blockchain. This has been happening since contemporary art crippled our senses for beauty and made us conform to an artificial value for art forged by art marketers, journalists, critics that are paid for upraising the contemporary art in question. Do not blame it on Jeff Koons or Duchamps, as they were as attention-starving as this whole new generation that is screaming out loud “CHECK OUT MY ART”!
One of the main factors that lead us here is the internet of free self-expression and comparison against others. This made artist B unhappy about his sales when compared to artist A until new techniques were manipulated such that artist B could appear as good or even better than artist A. This applies to any domain beyond art, science — you name it — until all information became compromised and untrusted.
I did not mean to have this dystopian tone when writing this as I was excited initially about our freedom from the middleman gallerist, however, I did not see it explode into that much mindless quantity over quality. I wish for every NFT artist, digital artist, crypto artist, contemporary artist, gallerist, art dealer, art curator, art critic, art journalist, to take a moment and reflect before publishing on the following:
- How much will promoting or publishing this piece benefit the world?
- How much will it create confusion in innocent minds?
- What kind of impact it will leave for future generations?
- How do I like to be remembered by the generations that follow me?
- What is the carbon footprint involved for satisfying my egotistical needs?
- What will I do with the money I will be paid for something that barely took me minutes to create?
Therefore there is one thing left to ask.
To mint or not to mint, this is the que$tion.
And bear in mind the consequences for all art that is not sold but occupying memory in servers that are running on our fossil fuel.
As for where the art market goes, you can tell from Christie’s latest media campaign how hard they are trying to hitchhike with the millennials’ updates by simply claiming that they have again auctioned the first digital art as if cryptoart has not been doing so for the past 2 years. In 2018, they were bold enough to claim having auctioned the first AI-generated art…
As for the artists who have dedicated their lives and entire research for every artwork they publish, I really hope they will not be discouraged and will be able to find their mindful creations as a needle from the haystack.