The first internet meme from the 90s becomes NFT

© © 1996 Autodesk, Inc. // Chris Torres

It is among the first internet memeswhich was published in the late 1990s: the dancing baby. This is a 3D animation of a dancing baby in a white diaper taking a few cha-cha-cha steps and spinning in circles. Originally, the 3D image of the baby was from 1996 Michael Girard, Robert Lurye and John Chadwick created as a test file when you try new software.

One student installed the 3D animation on his website – and “Dancing Baby” ended promptly in TV shows such as. Alley McBeal and Simpsonsin ads for Delta Airlinesin video games like FIFA 99 or in music videos such as “1999” by Charlie XCX and Troye Sivan.

The original Dancing Baby file was dug up again by the inventors and recreated in HD quality for NFT

NFT project from Vienna

“For me, the dancing baby was actually the first live image I deliberately noticed on the internet. I remember my old Mac and the modem sound of calling, and then the baby moved in front of my eyes for the first time. It reflects 90s internet aesthetics, ”says Charlie Scheichenost in conversation with futurezone. The Viennese designer had the idea to turn “Dancing Baby” into an NFT, ie.Non-fungible tokens(NFT) and is implementing it now.

NFTs have been a hot trend in the art and media scene for almost a year and a half. They offer artists a way to sell their works digitally. In 2021, NFTs were even included in the famous art ranking “power 100‘of the British magazine ArtReview been elected to first place. The best way to think of NFTs is as a certificate found in a blockchain. This means that buyers have an original document of a work of art, even though the image of it is available to anyone to view on the Internet.

Collection for internet meme lovers

“It makes sense when you are ready to own something digital. Paintings are also easily reproducible via art prints, but you can still own the original and prove it with the artist’s signature or certificates. With the new technology, this process can be mimicked digitally,” says Scheichen cheese and explains the purpose of NFTs. “There are people who collect on shoes or a hair by Elvis Presley. In the digital field, the blockchain allows you to transparently understand who owns digital art, «says the designer, who acts as gallery owner in this specific case.

Scheichenost is part of the design studio HFA Studio, which issues and publishes the NFTs as a 1: 1 edition. This means that there will be only a single NFT of the well-known 3D object, and this will be put up for auction in an auction on the well-known Foundation platform. For this, the design office not only obtained the consent of the original authors from the USA: They also dug up their old files, reproduced “Dancing Baby” in HD and recreated it. Also with Autodesk the rights were clarified. This is the big American company that the company with the 3 developers was sold to along with all their creations.

The creator accepts the project

“I wrote to the authors who created the work 26 years ago and were able to convince them of my project idea,” explains Scheichenost. Some of the creators of the original 3D image are now retired and have done much more in their lives. Some of them had great success in the film industry. They knew Austria primarily due to Ars Electronica, where you were a guest as a media artist decades ago. “With the dancing baby, they created a child they never got rid of,” Scheichenost says. For them too TikTok generation still know meme. On TikTok, “Dancing Baby” appeared as an animation in the womb of a pregnant woman.

The remixes of “Dancing Baby”

Nyan Cat creators on board for remix

The design studio in Vienna came up with something special: not only does it become the original image for NFT, but it was remixed by 6 artists, ie artistically alienated. These works are also sold as NFT. “The artists reinterpret the dancing baby and asked themselves what it would look like now,” Scheichenost explains.

Next Serwah Attafuah from Australia, Yuuki Morita from Japan, KidEight From England, creation ministers from Sweden and Yonk from Holland has also made a remix of someone who is as at home in the internet meme world as the dancing baby himself: the creator of the iconic Nyan Cat, Chris Torres.

Nyan Cat was created by Chris Torres and has become an internet meme

Nyan Cat has been part of the web culture since 2011 and is an 8-bit GIF animation of a flying cat leaving a rainbow. Nyan Cat’s NFT image was updated in 2021 300 ETH (pt ca. 835,700 euros) will be auctioned on the Foundation platform. Torres also remained true to his style in his animation of “Dancing Baby”. Like Nyan Cat, he pulls a rainbow behind him.

The original Dancing Baby could be sold at a similarly high price on the platform or even break the million mark. On the Foundation platform since its launch in February 2021 57,682 ETH (present value in euro: 160.7 million).

The auction starts at the end of April, the exhibition runs in Vienna

The Vienna design studio wants to start the auction of the “Dancing Baby” NFTs in a few weeks. The works are already listed on the Foundation platform, theoretically one could already submit bids, but in practice they are still worthless. “The project took as long as it took. In any case, we wanted to clarify all legal issues in advance, ”explains Scheichenost.

“Our plan is to officially list the artworks at the end of April with a price of 0.96 ETH (currently 2,700 euros), based on the 1996 date.” The auction then runs for 24 hours. “However, the turn is repeatedly reset by 15 minutes for each bid in the last few minutes, until there are no more new bids,” says Scheichenost.

What to expect, even if it is difficult to assess

As a gallery owner, the creative agency earns a percentage of the sales of the images. “But much less than we usually have as Marge. We should be more flexible in the digital space,” says Scheichenost. But what do you expect? “In our line of remix artists, Chris Torres and KidEight already have quite a few crypto and NFT caliber, so it is possible that a remix to a double-digit ETH value (currently over 28,000 euros) will go over the virtual auction table, “said Sheik East.

“For Original Dancing Baby Loop, we hope the subject knows the history of the meme and understands its significance in relation to the Internet. We can not say how much it is worth in the end.”

In addition to the NFT auction there is Gallery space (HFA / Burggasse 24 / 1-2 1070 Vienna) from this week a mini exhibition of “Dancing Baby” and all remixes. With an app, the images can also be converted to live images on the spot. The mini-exhibition can be visited from Wednesday to Friday between 3pm and 7pm.

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