On March 9th I entered the NFT sector. More specifically, the modern, three-level gallery space in Belltown that is home to the Seattle NFT Museum. While I’m far from being able to be part of the NFT space in a more metaphorical sense (ie, owning one), the recent cultural impulse around them – Google “Jimmy Fallon, Paris Hilton, NFT” if you want to stare straight at the void. In – piqued my interest enough to pay a visit.
Seattle is home to such obscure museums as the Connection Museum, Living Computer: Museum + Labs and the Seattle Art Museum, none of which I’ve ever felt the need to contemplate on deeper meaning. The Seattle NFT Museum, on the other hand, feels relevant not only because of the things that happen, but also because of what those things have to say about our present moment.
So what’s in it? Not receipt paper, appropriately, although the very friendly museum attendant made the trip back to see. After settling for a text for our records, my partner and I entered the gift shop. While there were plenty of NFTs on the walls, there were almost more unique items in the gift shop. Certainly more, if you include snacks, which you are free to enjoy at the museum with no strange physical objects wasted.
The gift shop level was also home to a wall-sized interpreter of NFTs – by the way, short for “fungible tokens.” I went with a vague idea that they were a way of owning a piece of the digital realm, with the proof provided by the infinitely expanding record of the blockchain – and for some reason people had to map that ownership mechanism onto the weird. Felt the need to do – watching JPEG of apes. I left knowing that it is much more than just apes.
There are NFTs of people who look like Fallout 4 NPCs ready for a big rave; nft of things that look like Windows 95 screensavers; NFTs of plants created by placing sensors on live plants to see what kind of plant they want the NFTs to be; NFTs that look like chillwave songs rendered in the engine of the late ’90s mech combat game, which only sold a few thousand copies; And of course the nft of a wacky little cartoon guy you can pay a small fortune to make into your social media avatar.
Oh, and I also learned that it takes .25 ethereum – the carbon equivalent of 133 miles in a passenger vehicle – to build a new vehicle, but that is all good because the NFT Museum has signed a climate pledge.
Furthermore, because the owners — Peter Hamilton, TUNE’s former CEO, and Jennifer Wong, a sustainability guru for gig trucking app Convoy — don’t own any NFTs; The collections are all there on loan. It’s easy enough to offset some larger screens, even if they’re in 8k HD.
In other heart-wrenching news, the current show, “Leading Women in NFT Art”, is dedicated to women’s creations and collections. That would be nice, except that, in this case, it only gives the energy “half of those guys should be women”. As far as I can tell from placards, to be a producer you must already be rich and to be a collector you certainly do.
Which tells us what NFT art really is. This is nothing new from an aesthetic point of view. Digital art has been around for ages now and has made its way into exclusive contemporary art galleries, where it has been cataloged for enormous sums of money. While 8k HDTVs really made more color pieces pop, the art I saw at the NFT Museum was, at its core, pretty standard digital stuff. A lot of it was what you would expect to see on forums devoted to fantasy or gaming. The difference is that on those forums they are not required to explain why it is interesting. In this case, unaware of the underlying meaning of being associated with a video game or movie franchise, or even the slightest bit of emotional resonance that generally makes contemporary art so appealing, everything needed clarification. Is. I couldn’t find a placard that had less than two paragraphs on it, and it had little to do with what you were seeing on the screen.
A theme of all the explanations here, right down to the illuminating terminology of NFT-related slang (WAGMI, or “we’re all going to make it”), in particular, reflecting the idea that a collection will generate demand and lead to early adoption. Wala Banana Dega Money), is that what makes NFTs interesting is not the aesthetic aspect. Rather, it is about exclusivity, artificial scarcity and exposure to wealth.
“So does this make a compelling purchase?” The text of NFT artist Krista Kim’s “Mars House” clearly renders her sales pitch of an answer.
“Beyond the promise of buying in the lucrative NFT market, the home and all the furniture in it can be made in real life by glass furniture makers in Italy as well as through MicroLED screen technology. Kim also has a strong vision for the arts. ‘Everyone should have an LED wall for NFT art in their home,’ says the artist. ‘This is the future, and Mars House demonstrates the beauty of that possibility.'”
Unfortunately, hanging an LED TV from a tent panel is probably too difficult.
Another archive, owned by a person nicknamed emilyt.eth, emphasizes the importance of uniqueness as a driver of value in the NFT space.
“With more and more NFTs flooding the market every day, projects are getting creative on ways to make them stand out,” reads the placard. Direct lines of interaction with the community, their artists, equipment, information, games, launchpads, IP ownership, IRL/virtual experiences and more.”
The obsession with exclusivity is compounded by the distaste with which NFT collectors treat the so-called “right-click mentality”. Twitter user @MidwitMilhouse, an NFT enthusiast, recently went viral for a tweet explaining that the people who right-click and save NFTs are the same people who go to the infamous Salt Bay restaurant instead. Making DIY gilded steaks and paying $2,000 for the original article.
Right-clickers, he wrote, “the satisfaction that comes from eating at Salt Bay’s restaurants, flex, is not overpowering. Value is not the cost of steak.” Indeed, to our friend Milhouse, such things are interesting only because they are inaccessible to others. To be fair to the NFT Museum, they encourage visitors to take photographs of the work, and are happy to share images of it with real change.
Not surprisingly, if that work also sounds like an exit to the outside world. From the description of “Submerged” by Seattle-based NFT artist Sage Sarvi:
“In this dive-chamber complete living room with its own aperture, Sarvi applied a dystopian lens to demonstrate minimalism’s challenge against modern-day over-consumption and waste management. When We Water If we consider the philosophy of a world within, what might that really look like to us?”
Deep Sea Scan | Design, apparently. But perhaps we should ask those in Eastern Europe who have daisy-chained 80 graphics cards, who farmed .25 ethereum, who minted this piece? Or better yet, the 12,000 people of Tuvalu, who are about to be among the first humans to see their homeland completely submerged.
Beyond the climate impacts, the amount of time it takes to nail down the utterly non-chill nature of the technology to these pieces seems wild, given that many of them express complete enthusiasm for the metaverse in almost the same breath. Huh.
A placard for Kim “No. 700 v.2” declares that, “Our society needs an antidote to the relentless disruption caused by social media. Our screens are showered with thousands of messages every day , and most of the time these messages are used to exploit us or tamper with us.”
Ding, ding, ding. But what exactly does she think Web3 is for? Louis Vuitton “#Louis200 Visionaries”, who have collaborated with Lanvin and Mercedes-Benz EQS — in addition to launching the first “Sports Team Metaverse NFT” for the Utah Jazz basketball team — would have us believe it’s going to be ad-free. Is. To be fair, in the metaverse, pigs probably can fly.
Ultimately, all the visionary talk on the placards about shifting our lives out of the “flesh space” and into the metaverse just reads like people who are deeply unconcerned with humanity’s current plight, trying to hide this fact. that they are so deeply unconnected with the current plight of humanity. In fact, another blur of Kim just says the cool part out loud:
“Our future is unknown and unstable. Tough times lie ahead because of pandemic risk, social and economic unrest due to decentralization, automation and climate change[…] We aim to introduce a vision of meditation and digital beauty to the collective consciousness. The world has changed forever, and we must adapt with caution, self-care [sic] And connecting with the creative energy that will help us navigate the unknown. ,
Word salad, to be sure, but it hits all the beats in regards to replacing care and empathy for our fellow human beings with care and self-care. Is the world collapsing? Step back from the metaverse and contemplate it from afar.
Now, I wouldn’t say that we can’t have luxuries until we solve our own issues of material scarcity, in one of the wealthiest societies in human history. Let them eat canalis and all that. But there is something unsettling about NFTs, which reached a market of over $40 billion in 2021, according to a report by Chainalysis Inc.
This dwarfs the 2021 contemporary art market, which stood at $2.7 billion. Art, even though it inherently lacks utility, at least tries to make a case for its existence, which is about truth and beauty. God knows this is often created just because the very rich can own a rare thing, but the NFT movement sees this as a point of practice.
Specificity as the end goal.
And, finally, the amount of truly unnecessary money exposed by the existence of NFTs is embarrassing, especially for a society that allows people to live shelterless, die from lack of access to medical care, and suffer from food insecurity. gives.
Effectively blowing away tens of billions over nothing is a very bad eye. If you’re looking forward to spending the time seeing the bad stuff in spectacular color, the NFT Museum might be worth your time.