I’m going to talk from an artist’s perspective about “Art and NFTs—Past and Future.” There are a lot of surprising details in the short history of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and some pretty interesting ideas that are ready to unfold in the future.
As an artist, the work I’ve done has always been media-based, including video, software, and related forms. Not so long ago, I was making video artworks, akin to short, experimental, independent films. Along with my partner, Jennifer McCoy, I have produced “net art”—art made for viewing and audience participation on the Internet. Since all of the work that I—along with my friends and other artists in the community—made was digital and intangible, there was very little way to participate in the art market. There were no tangible works that could be made and sold. A digital media-based artwork could circulate in non-commercial contexts such as art or film festivals or museum curations, but rarely could it participate in the traditional art market like a painting could.
This was the course of my practice in the early 2000s. To be sure, I used the transition from digital to physical not only as a way to participate in the art market but also for artistic and aesthetic reasons. This choice certainly allowed my works to be collected and, as a result, a broader conversation about who was buying and supporting new media art began. It was an exciting time. But there lingered a real question about how one might make and sell work that is natively digital.
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