NFTs in the art world: why we should be happy when millionaires put their money into crypto art | art | BR cultural scene

Since March 2021, the then largely unknown artist Beeple has raised $ 69 million for a collage that exists only digitally, is not just talking about the art world about NFTs and digital artworks. On the one hand, it is about digital works of art: animated images, for example, or complex 3D graphics, ie works of art that are produced digitally. On the other hand, there are NFTs. They are not works of art in themselves, but basically nothing but digital certificates in which various things can be stored: For example, ownership of cars, houses – but also works of art, whether on canvas or digital. Max Haarich works with and about NFTs. He is a conceptual artist and deals with new technologies such as artificial intelligence and non-fungible tokens. Part of his work is digital art, another part is completely analog. A conversation about royalties that are paid automatically boasts art and investing in art instead of buns.

Friedrich Müller: First of all, to clarify: If you build a digital work of art, for example an image in JPEG format, and then sell this image as an NFT: the person who buys the NFT gets something other than someone who buy the image file just to download it because it floats around the web somewhere?

Max Haarich: This is exactly what worries many people. Physically it is identical. An NFT work of art is completely identical to a normal digital work of art. The artwork does not change, you just link it to NFT. If you make a copy of JPEG, it will be completely identical to the JPEG sold as an NFT.

So why should I buy this?

A screen full of colorful squares |  Image: Screenshot opensea.io/Max_Haarich

Max Haarich’s work at NFT dealer opensea.io

Because then it’s yours. And owning something is very, very important for many people. There are people who have gotten into fights because one used an NFT belonging to the other as their profile picture. From a technical point of view, of course, he only took JPEG, NFT remained untouched. But he bragged about something someone else paid a lot of money for. In fact, no one can take anything from you with a digital copy of an image. And that’s the great thing: you can own something in the NFT space without taking it from someone else. In most cases, when someone buys a large work of art, it is lost to the public. This is never the case with NFT.

What is your motivation for making art with NFTs?

For me, NFT is almost always a topic in my work. Technology is changing the world, and there is not enough reflection on what kind of world we are creating. I want to bridge the gap between art and technology because it is important that there is more feedback. Art is a universal language that can visualize where technology is leading us.

And I love NFT because it is theoretically eternal. What is stored on a blockchain stays there until the last server on the blockchain shuts down. And it can run in a bunker with a great solar battery, see you later. Theoretically, it survives forever.

So what can it look like, an artistic reflection on technology?

The very first thing I did was a single transparent pixel. Unlike the very screaming cyber aesthetics of most digital artworks, this one is more minimalist and clean. You can not create a single pixel, a smaller image file. So what do you pay for it? At Beeple, it was 70 million for a purely digital work of art, which anyone can copy with a right-click, where 5,000 days of work went into it. If you do it as an NFT, the process emits as much CO² as the individual pixel. Which is just completely absurd because with beeple collagen you get so much more art.

At the same time, the pixel should be a commentary on copyright issues: try enforcing the copyright of an object that has no properties at all because you can not see it. If someone else is making a transparent pixel, how do you say it is copied?

Keyword copyright: Why are NFTs so interesting to artists in particular, what opportunities do they provide for people who want to make a living from art?

A huge factor is that you so-called royalties, which are sales commissions for resale. Usually, when young artists sell something, in 20 years’ time, if all goes well, they will see their works sell for millions – but to no avail. If it happens with an NFT, then you get your 10 percent of it or more.

For example, you can write in NFT: Upon resale, 10 percent of the money raised will be sent back to the artist’s digital wallet. And the good thing is, it happens automatically. Once a sale is completed, the money is passed on. You do not have to worry about it. That’s why people like to call the blockchain thing trustless technology: You do not have to trust it, technology can do nothing but what it does all the time.

Let’s revisit the Beeple sale in the spring of 2021, where someone paid a whopping $ 69.36 million for a JPEG file. Art critic Kolja Reichert says: Whether the file is worth it is not at all the question, all the money was paid for the historic moment. What you get for it is “boasted”.

Black and white image of a middle-aged man with a mustache |  Photo: Zsuzsa Gyetvai

I would say that in the specific case of Beeple, this is very, very true. It was, of course, about someone being able to say: Look, I did that with my cryptocurrencies. I always say we should be happy that the buyer put all the money in Beeple. If he had put the money in rolls, our rolls would now be twice as expensive. You should see that too. The cryptocurrency space is growing very fast. Somewhere this growth needs to be intercepted and a lot of liquidity is tied up by NFTs that would otherwise flood our normal financial market.

It’s actually pretty cool that a lot of people put a lot into NFTs. Yes, you get rights to brag, but if you’re buying a Jeff Koons rabbit for $ 40 million, you’ll definitely want to brag. And there are amazing works of art that you can only collect as NFTs. If you die Rafaël Rozendaal websites look at what he has been doing for decades: there are such amazingly beautiful websites in there.

Max Haarich is currently showing some of his work in Munich. The group exhibition “The first years of professionalism # 41” can be seen in the artist gallery until 8 May 2022. More information about the exhibition Is there … here.

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