NFT, metaverse and curating: where are we

Giovanni Motta, Where’s Johnny_, NFT digital artwork, 2021. Courtesy of the author

One year after Crypto Art and NFTs were confirmed in the art market, after what could be defined as the Big Bang Beeple, it might be time, perhaps, to make some considerations about the future prospects that opened up this phenomenon.
The Crypto Art movement has proven itself in the art world and in the market in a disruptive manner, and from a very small first group of Crypto Art pioneers, a large and difficult number of managed or purported Crypto artists were reached. . , generates an enlargement of the width. This required a change of vision towards all brokers who were left out of the Crypto realm with decentralization. In fact, the need to make an incoming selection to ensure levels of quality similar to those in the traditional market was identified, and these middlemen, who were highly stigmatized, were called to their positions in order to impose sanctions, by their authority in the traditional. The world, the power of the virtual world. One of the problems that industry professionals have faced in recent months has been precisely that of Need specialized personalities who can create high-quality content, avoiding saturation of the “new” market with poor-quality work and in volumes that exceed orders. But can the curators and professionals who inhabit the traditional art system actually fill this role? Or will new characters appear who will meet the professional needs that have been taking shape in recent months?

Travel diary, installation view.  Courtesy & Decentraland
Travel diary, installation view. Courtesy & Decentraland

Testers test meters

In the world of traditional art, at the curatorial level, there has been a professional crisis for some time and many have seen in the metaverse a cure for it, with the potential to reinvent curators, becoming narrators and translators of language, often difficult for the public to understand. Although this view is not shared by everyone, there are many crypto artists who support it. The Italian duo stands out Hakatois among the three well-known founders of the movement, who consider the artistic curator a key figure “He is the one who delves into the artist to narrate his philosophy and art. In the world of cryptography, you have to find a more specific place than in the world of traditional art. In addition to enhancing the project by giving it an interpretation consisting of comprehensive artistic and cultural reference points, the uniqueness and characteristics of the work must emerge within a very fast media flow, reducing use to a fleeting moment“.
While deferring the definition and in-depth discussion of the role of the coordinator to more appropriate positions, during some conversations with experts in the sector, an attempt was made to clarify the basic skills of the new curators and through different points of view, to investigate the current state of control. In the world of Crypto Art. With regard to the major markets, there is less specificity, at least in the initial stages, to the curator’s work than in the traditional art world, and the lack of one of the “foundational” moments that the curator must face, that of installation. One of the main differences, as the Milanese critic and curator points out Ivan Quaroniis the takeover, by the custodians of the virtual platforms, on “A technical lexicon, a kind of new speech, which traditional curators struggle to understand“.But, even if it is true, this language remains devoid of such an important part as knowledge of the history of art and the principal writings of criticism and aesthetics even if, perhaps,”In the logic of the new discourse, the old critiques are considered obsolete, and are no longer effective for interpreting images that are subject to a rule different from that of artists, let’s say even “traditional”Certainly, the lack of physicality makes the dialogue that usually occurs between the work, the context, and the audience more complex.

Hakato, Kweni
Hakato, Kweni

What new designers need to know

On the other hand, there are those who stress the need to leave the practices of the traditional world, such as the artist Giovanni MottaUse this as an opportunity to ask questions about the work of art professionals. What is about Crypto Art is a certain world, which has its own rules and logic that is often far from those that we are accustomed to contemporary art until now. Motta asserts that the ‘new’ coordinator shouldFinding a way to unite the worlds and then express themselves. A large presence in the most important social channel: Twitter. Confidence in digital tools that allow you to have virtual experiences“.
But even in Motta, although his vision is more open to young curators, more accustomed to working with social media and the virtual world, there is again the difficulty of not being able to deal with the organization of an exhibition.physics.
A characteristic that nearly all interviewees agree upon is skill development, by new curators, even in the most rigorous technical field such as knowledge of 3D software, procedural and generative art software, AI/AR/VR, and in general as the artist claimed DangiuzOf all “New tools for the technological production of software, hardware and online communication“.
Thus, the selected profile is a profile Amin has knowledge of art history but at the same time an expert in technology, with appropriate communication skills for social media, and able to create a bridge between the real world and the virtual world. It is clear that the critical aspects encountered are numerous, and the skills required by the role are technical and specific. Currently, those who have held this position in the markets, as Quaroni mentioned, do not always have a background in the world of traditional art, but not in all cases.

Dangiuz, Leap of Faith, 2021. Courtesy of the author
Dangiuz, Leap of Faith, 2021. Courtesy of the author

The “old” and the “new” cured

There are, in fact, platforms born with the aim of bringing traditional curation into the world of Crypto Art, proposing special projects in which artists using traditional media also participate. There is an active collaboration with gallery owners and curators who can nominate their artists, and there is also a direct acquaintance relationship with the artists represented specifically in order to better guide their path in the world of Crypto Art. Exhibition travel diarywhich was organized in April 2021 by platform SnarkArt in collaboration with curator Sonia Belfiore, who spoke about her work and her relationship with the Crypto world, saying:During the pandemic, there has been his gluttony for online content like viewing rooms, podcasts, and museum tours with 360-degree cameras, often to the detriment of the beauty and power of businesses that have gone digital. The consistency between NFT’s works, created and designed specifically to be enjoyed and enjoyed digitally, and their interactive use within a virtual world paradoxically made them real and tangible in my eyes. criticality [nell’organizzare l’esposizione Travel Diary] It was above all initial, such as understanding the mechanics of blockchain, NFTs, smart contracts, etc., which is a new world for me and is developing very fastTherefore, for the traditional coordinator, the biggest obstacle appears to be understanding the blockchain and its mechanisms, after which it is possible to bring one’s work within the traditional dictates.
Moreover, since these are intangible works, the ‘digital’ coordinator becomes a more important figure in the existence of the work itself,”He becomes not only the person who displays the image, but also its executor.” (Gruze, power of art, 2008, p. 97). If, of course, this is true for digital art as it has been known for several decades, it will be more true for art that is created to be used specifically in the virtual space, but is also required, especially in the last year to exist in the real world. Therefore, the coordinator again plays the role of Ausstellungsmacher, but he has a few problems. Indeed, the subject matter of an exhibition relating to works that have their own digital physical but not an original physical can become challenging., because if they are inserted into their default context, the containers are created without the place/time coordinates which should be well marked to avoid confusion for the visitor who might have a few problems completing your visit experience. On the other hand, by exporting these works to the real world, it is necessary to create specific projects that provide, first of all, the physical translation of digital files with the appropriate support and create an organization that recasts Crypto Art in a reality that is not its own, with the risk of losing meanings and ways of use associated with these works, are fully understandable and can be fully experienced only in the reality of the origin.

“The lack of physical fitness makes the dialogue that usually occurs between the work, the context, and the audience more complex.”

It is clear that in this letter it is difficult not to mention Intergenerational conflict which has defined, also in this sector, a diversity of vision and modus operandi, between curators with decades of experience and young people dealing with this profession as Hans Ulrich Obrist recently stated: “A new generation of young people begins to make their contribution to contemporary art and culture. Born in the digital age, these young people […] They have in common a lack of respect for traditional notions of authorship and cultural heritage, and this is manifested in their work. They have instant knowledge and technology skills at their disposal, and they use digital social platforms to publicize their new ideas and rebellious cultural attitudes.(obrist, Make an exhibition2020).
There is, in the vision of the new generation of curators, therefore, greater freedom of action and thought, and this becomes more evident among curators working in the metaverse. In light of what has been said so far, the challenge that future professionals will have to face is not an easy one, since they have to include in their practical experience not only a great knowledge of the artistic subject and the art world in general, but also the interaction of these concepts with the virtual world by optimizing Knowledge in the technological field and constantly updating the way one works. It is therefore noted, in view of the trend of the Crypto Art market, The need for highly specialized characters who will not only play the role of a critic/arranger, but almost as a stockbroker and computer programmercoding a unique language that can be universally understood by all actors involved, both on the web and in the real world.

Alicia Cervelli

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