Contemporary art can create means to investigate the impacts of financial logic across the socio-cultural continuum. Throughout this article, we’ll take a look at how we can utilize the blockchain technology to benefit and catalyze the evolution of contemporary art.

Contemporary art can be used as a parameter for analyzing finance’s cultural logic due to the fact that it outlines the conflicts existing between price and value, in view of the intimate relationship that bridges between automation and the creative efforts that mark artistic production. Although automation is dependent on innovative computational models and various financial metrics, creative efforts rely on the raw material, semiotic and relational circumstances that comprise the worth of an art piece. Consequently, the value of contemporary art is highly determined by the logic deployed by financial power, which correlates cultural and social dynamics to automated pricing techniques.



Using the Blockchain Technology To Produce and Distribute The Value of Contemporary Art:

The zeal for cryptocurrencies as a medium that promotes artistic inquisition can connect art to the techno-socio-economic sphere. Let’s take a look at a couple of projects that are closely related to contemporary art: Monegraph and Plantoid. By utilizing the blockchain technology, these couple of projects focus on protesting the entanglement of contemporary art with today’s institutional financial milieu.

Monegraph: If it’s Appealing, Then You Should Link It To a Blockchain:

Monegraph is a blockchain based project that was created for graphic designers by Kevin McCoy and Anil Dash in 2014. Via implementation of a layer of “authorship” to the blockchain, Monegraph gives artists the opportunity to fully control their art creations and monitor the movement of their works, while also shielding them against unauthorized reproduction. Monegraph utilizes Namecoin to embed artworks with a cryptographic signature that authenticates the origin of an artwork while also enabling its creator to track its movements.

Monegraph operates according to three successive steps:

1- Creation of a digital artwork takes place.

2- Authorship, or ownership, of the digital artwork is tweeted publically.

3- Info regarding ownership, or authorship, of the artwork is stored to Namecoin’s blockchain and it is given a unique ID number to prove its originality. Accordingly, whenever an artwork that is registered via Monegraph is used, artists are rewarded with cryptocurrency in the form of Namecoin.

Monegraph is just the beginning of a world where artwork can evolve into a currency. Moreover, it promotes online circulation of various works of digital art which would build on the reputational capital of its creators.

Plantoid : Distributed Autonomous Art Creation:

Plantoid is a project that is built on Ethereum’s blockchain to create a platform that operates just like a distributed autonomous system, while relying on Ethereum’s smart contracts and internal capital that is dependent on aesthetic appreciation of humans to reproduce pieces of artwork. Plantoid is pillared on a principle that aims at making art production autonomous, via funding artwork rather than the artist(s) who created it. Humans act as “symbiotic pollinators”, as they reward the plantoid, with the nectar, i.e. bitcoin, needed to reproduce itself.

Each created plantoid bears a QR code that links it to a bitcoin wallet. Whenever a visitor “tips” a plantoid with bitcoin, it comes to life rewarding the visitor with a festival of colors and sounds originating from the plantoid’s steel petals, which represent a direct transaction between cryptocurrency and aesthetic pleasure. Whenever a plantoid accumulates enough bitcoin funds to reproduce itself, it will use smart contracts to hire an artist, or a group of artists, to create a new plantoid.

Plantoid represents the first implementation of the vision of Distributed Autonomous Art (DAA) via utilization of the blockchain technology. Through promotion of aesthetic autonomy of digital artworks, Plantoid removes humans from the center of the process of artwork creation and it also hides the activities of artists in the milieu, while treating them as “mechanical turks” that are totally controlled by the virtual machine.

Not only the blockchain technology has revolutionized the financial sector and academic credentials verification, but it is also expected to intrude the artwork production arena and take it to a whole new level that omits the control imposed by centralized capitalistic bodies.

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