Open Art: What paradigm changes does blockchain bring to art?

This article is a summary of “encrypted art” after discussions with dozens of artists, developers and art theory researchers. In addition, this article also conducted a thought experiment on “encryption art”. At the current stage, proposing the concept of “open art” may be too bold or even impractical, but it may also be used as an imagination of future art forms.

Thanks to Nico, Jerry and Colin from Puzzle Venture. The thoughts on “electronic seal and postscript” in the article come from Nico and Jerry. Regarding encryption art, Nico will have a series of thoughts and discussions that are different from those in the encryption circle.

The concept of “encryption art” is emerging. But what is “encryption art”? Whether it is a mapping of contemporary art on the blockchain or a work of art created on the theme of the encrypted community, there is no good definition in the industry.

In fact, “encryption art” is a very strange term. When we talk about “AI art”, we know that AI technology is used to create this work of art; when we talk about “algorithmic art”, we know that certain algorithms are used behind this work of art, maybe even algorithm generation of. However, when we talk about cryptographic art, it seems that very few people’s art works are written using blockchain-they just put their works on the chain for auction, and it doesn’t change the essence of the art.

Or we can change the question: can a work of art be regarded as cryptographic art just because it is traded on the blockchain and has a unique ID on the blockchain? Even if the theme of his creation has nothing to do with the encryption trend? If we think about it carefully, we will find that this is not appropriate. Once, the signatures and stamps of artists marked the unique identity of their artworks, and we do not regard their artworks as signature art or stamp art; now, we can’t seem to be able to identify artworks with unique identities on the chain. Collectively referred to as encryption art.

In other words, the blockchain is only a technical means to mark the identity of artworks, or provides a new way of transaction, but it is not enough to mark a category of art. In most works of art, it is neither the expression purpose of the creator of the work nor the methods and tools that the creator must use to complete the work (even like AI art, it is the creator himself). If a work of art, such as a landscape painting, an installation art, an oil painting or a watercolor, is called encrypted art just because it is on the chain, I am afraid that the term “encrypted art” will soon lose its core meaning.

Open art

Looking back at the crypto community, we will find that successful projects often do not retain the words “blockchain” or “encryption”-except for the earliest “cryptocurrency”. At that time, Ethernet Square founder Vitalik not the “decentralization” of the word flourish, we did not recognize disruptive change shape and block chain technology for the production of human relations organization brings.

With the continuous expansion of the ecology and the gradual deepening of the understanding of blockchain technology, we have decentralized finance (DeFi), or open finance. Although like Bitcoin , DeFi is built on blockchain technology, we do not call it encrypted finance or blockchain finance. This is because we have been able to clearly see that the most remarkable thing about DeFi is not the use of blockchain technology, but the disruptive changes it presents in the form of financial operations.

Here, technology is only a means, not an end.

Similarly, if we can clearly point out the disruptive paradigm changes that blockchain has brought to the art world, perhaps we can abandon the word “encryption” and go straight to the topic like DeFi.

Therefore, we tried to propose a concept called “open art” .

“Open Art” is built on blockchain technology, but not limited to blockchain technology. It is closely related to digital art, community, programmable art and DeFi. It is an abstraction, deepening and sublimation of the concept of “encrypted art”. Unlike “encrypted art”, it is more concerned about not technology, but the social relationship between people, such as who will act as an artist, who will define the artist, who will act as a collector, who will collect and appreciate A series of issues such as the main body of the country.

We believe that “open art” can liberate artists from an oppressed system in at least two ways.

  • First of all, “open art” can magnify the individual characteristics of the artist, allowing the artist to directly establish contact with the community and release their influence, rather than subordinate to a certain institution.
  • Secondly, they can freely sell their works to collectors all over the world, instead of handing over the paintings to the gallery agent and drawing a lot of commission.

We believe that “open art” is broadening the concept of “artist”.

Most traditional artists graduated from art schools and became (or recognized as) artists because of this identity symbol and circle. In contrast, John Watkinson was originally a programmer, but he became one of the greatest artists in the crypto community just because he created pixel works that pay tribute to the “cypherpunks”. He calls himself a “creative technology expert”-this term may be more in line with creators who are not born in a science class, but are full of fantastic ideas about the world and can present these ideas.

We believe that “open art” is expanding the audience and collector groups of art.

“Appreciators” don’t have to live in big cities like New York, London, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Beijing, or go to the most famous art galleries in these big cities to see works. They can live in a certain village in the western United States, a certain tribe in Africa, a certain mountainous area in China, or even an island country in the world-as long as it is connected to the Internet and can open encrypted art-related websites. They don’t have to go to the auction house in a glamorous suit and leather shoes, or even let the seller know where they are or who they are in order to buy their favorite works of art. This degree of freedom was not available in the art world before.

The changes in the audience groups will inevitably have an impact on the theme of artwork creation, and the definition of the concept of “artwork” may be delegated to the community. MEME has already shown this trend: at first, MEME became popular due to the stalking culture of the DeFi community, and then transformed into an artwork NFT, known for its satirical cards to the crypto community. The characters involved in these cards include Satoshi Ao Ben, FTX founder Sam, Uniswap founder Hayden Adams, etc. They are all well-discussed and popular characters in the crypto community, and they are very different from the creative themes of traditional artists. As the groups of viewers and collectors continue to expand, the subject matter of art will fully exhibit diversity, openness and vitality.

We believe that “open art” is expanding the possibility of collectors’ “possession” of artworks.

AsyncArt has shown us that the collector can only collect a certain layer of the artwork and determine the state of the artwork in the eyes of the viewer. In previous works of art, this kind of control over works did not exist. — — You can only possess, display or hide the power, but there is no way to change the work, determine the presentation state of the work, or even make the second creation of the work. The combination of programmable art and blockchain technology allows us to see a new possibility of “owning” artworks, which will also become a key topic of discussion and attention in the art session.

We believe that “open art” is blurring the boundaries between creators and collectors.

In ancient Chinese art, blank space provided sufficient space for collectors to leave their marks, and the seals and inscriptions of those great collectors later became part of the works for future generations to enjoy. To some extent, this can be regarded as a collective creation that travels through time and space. For various reasons, such things are rare in Western art, let alone contemporary art that flourishes in the United States. However, blockchain technology provides the possibility to reproduce the tradition of Chinese art. We can make a unique ID for each creator, which is similar to the seal of the ancient Chinese; therefore, each collector can leave his own name in the work, which can become a part of the work. They can even participate in the second creation of the work in person, and their actions themselves will add value to the artwork.

At this time, the ultimate form of “open art” can be conceived in our minds, which is to open up the creation rights of works to those present. With DAO, blockchain technology and DeFi, we can open a door to collective creation in the online world. A huge (or great) work of art does not have to be produced by a certain art company, but may be born from the collective creation of a certain community. For the community, money is no longer the only purpose of artistic creation. They may create these works out of recognition of a certain idea, pursuit of a certain idol, or interest in a certain topic.

We believe that such “open art” will greatly release people’s creative potential and break the closed status quo of the art world.

Conclusion: The Road to “Open Art”

Blockchain technology has been born for ten years. Through this technology, for the first time in human history, humans have a global currency that is born in a virtual world and does not depend on sovereign states; at the same time, for the first time, humans also have a third-party platform that is accessible to everyone. Of financial services. We believe that this technology will also be extended to the content market and will first innovate the art field.

Before the advent of blockchain technology, we already had digital art, such as AI art, programmable art, and so on. However, due to various problems, these arts did not penetrate the masses like traditional art, and reached the hearts of the people. The emergence of blockchain technology directly solves the problem of digital art’s right confirmation, and allows art works from production, display, auction, circulation, collection and other links to have an unimaginable openness before.

As a result, collective creation and multi-person-owned artworks become possible; a borderless art market becomes possible; the voice of artists and communities will be amplified.

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