By Nora Quintanilla
New York, May 30 (EFE).- A large number of “cryptoart” works with a Spanish flavor are up for auction on the weekend in non-fungible token (NFT) format at a Brooklyn, New York, gallery that, as some of the organizers of the event told EFE, is witness to and in the forefront of this digital “revolution.”
“The Empathy Muscle” has been one of the key features of the exhibit/auction: a “performance” by Spanish poet Marcos de la Fuente on Saturday evening at La Casa ArtHouse in the Clouds, a physical/virtual art gallery that is exhibiting NFT works in the Big Apple.
The artist wanted to take poetry “one step further” by uniting the spoken word with technology to create a “3.0 hybrid” that later was encrypted. To its physical expression were added projected verses in English, Spanish and Galician; “ad-hoc” electronic music and improvisation, he said.
Once converted into cryptographic art, pieces like his become a digital asset that is stored on blockchains that can be purchased with cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Doge and others, a situation that “returns power to the creators.”
“To date, digital (artwork) could not be authenticated, it had no value. This possibility makes each piece unique. It’s a true revolution,” said De la Fuente, above all because those digital artists who up to now have remained “on a lower level” can now see their work become “just as valid as physical (art),” he said.
De la Fuente, who is also the director of the Kerouac Poetry Festival, believes that La Casa ArtHouse can transform itself via this initiative into “the cutting edge of digital artistic movements in the city” as well as a meeting place and reference point for artists, since “the world looks to what we’re doing in New York.”
Among the participants at the exhibit is Carlos Hache, the artistic name used by Carlos Hidalgo, a Venezuelan animation designer who has lived in New York for years and who presented several of his NFT works and emphasized the opportunity that this type of initiative affords.
“I’m used to monetizing my art but not to selling it to the general public. I like the idea of participating in this new wave and revolution,” he said, adding that this method will provide visibility to “unconventional” artists who so far have not managed to command space in galleries and museums for their work.
One of Hidalgo’s pieces is cartoon work with the faces of Venezuelan historical figures like Francisco de Miranda, Andres Bello and Simon Bolivar, to whom he has given a “contemporary feeling” and a fun slant with elements linked to modern life like sunglasses, earrings and cigarettes.
“I feel that the work is representative of myself. It’s where I come from, and I add to it things that I’ve been learning over the years,” said Hidalgo, who has experimented with artificial intelligence as an artistic tool and feels that it can leads to “new types of esthetics.”
The two artists, who agree that they are participating in an art “revolution,” belong to a group of more than 30 pioneers in cryptoart who are on hand from Friday through Sunday at the exhibition and sale, including Gazoo To the Moon, Gonzalo Gelso, Rachel Van der Nacht, Charles Bentley and No Fun Studio.
Cryptoart is a category of art that has emerged as a niche genre of artistic work following the development of blockchain networks in the mid- to late 2010s. It quickly grew in popularity in large part because of the unprecedented ability afforded by the underlying technology for purely digital artworks to be bought, sold, or collected by anyone in a decentralized manner.
A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger (i.e. a blockchain) that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. NFTs can be used to represent items such as photos, videos, audio and other types of digital files. Access to any copy of the original file, however, is not restricted to the buyer of the NFT.