a BitcoinNews.com series
Part 2: Art (r)evolution in Paris showcases international Bitcoin-themed art
In the second installment of the Bitcoin News Crypto Culture Series, we look at Paris’s own cryptocurrency-themed art exhibition, Art (r)evolution, and speak with several of the artists involved.
Friday 5 October marks the final day of the cryptocurrency-themed art exhibition in Paris, Art (r)evolution, organized by French artist Pascal Boyart to celebrate Bitcoin’s tenth birthday. Bitcoin News caught up with him to see when he found himself involved in the space and how decentralization is becoming a powerful phenomenon in the art world.
”The art world is similar to the rest of the economy”
Pascal became familiar with Bitcoin in 2014. Once he came to understand the technology, he became a passionate follower and a proponent for the potential changes it can bring to society. He told Bitcoin News, ”It can change a lot because lives have become so controlled by central authorities. Decentralization is a big thing, and it can help to free us by taking back the control of our own money.”
”The art world is similar to the rest of the economy,” Pascal continued, saying that he sees it as an entity divided into two parts. One of these parts is disconnected from the real world and reserved for the international elite where ”art is just a pretext to play the Medicis without Michel Ange”, as he phrases it.
But the other part of the world is where he believes people can find passion and creativity, with not so much Medicis. One cannot flourish without the other, however, and that is where blockchain and cryptocurrencies find their place: ”We need to connect with both parts again, patrons and artists. That’s why taking back some power of the middlemen is good for creativity. Decentralized cryptocurrencies can bring some financial freedom for the artists who want to innovate. It can help artists to have a more direct relationship with the people who truly love art.”
Pascal’s artwork displayed at Art (r)evolution
Fighting populism and the FAANG
Josephine Bellini also showcased some of her crypto-themed artwork at Art (r)evolution.
She first became aware of Bitcoin while she was studying finance at college in 2014. The professor asked the students if any of them owned it and only a few foreign exchange students from China raised their hands. Intrigued, she followed up and did some research into the basics of this new phenomena. ”What really blew me away was the fact that no central entity controls Bitcoin and it is ‘controlled’ by the users,” she told Bitcoin News.
After trying unsuccessfully to purchase some Bitcoin for herself, Josephine took a step back from the market but the underlying ethos remained with her.
”Fast forward to early 2017 and my circle of friends had started talking about Ethereum non-stop,” she shared, saying it was at this time she made her first cryptocurrency purchase. ”That is pretty much when I dove head first into the crypto rabbit hole and discovered that blockchain/DLT had massive implications for our future and society.”
And with that sentiment, Bitcoin and blockchain can help usher in social change, fighting populism and the FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google), as Josephine puts it. She sees the technology as enabling ”cheap trust”, a new form of economic institution that can replace those established forms prevalent when opening a bank account or obtaining a loan, which can also be abused by those in power.
She explained, “We are now able to take every function in the financial world and transform it into code that sits on a secure blockchain, thereby enabling cheap trust.”
In the art world
For artists, cryptocurrencies and blockchain may well prove to be an irreplaceable tool for taking back power. In particular, Josephine thinks that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will play a significant role in the art world. NFTs are digital tokens that represent ownership of a physical or digital item and can be used to represent anything from university degrees or housing deeds to pieces of art.
Blockchain has a host of different use cases for artists. Josephine listed several of those she found most prominent for the technology: selling artwork on the international market, a decentralized, transparent “artnet” platform to sell work, buying part shares in art pieces, and tracking the history of artwork on the chain to minimize forgeries.
According to Josephine, when art is sold through galleries, the gallery will often take up to 50% of the payment, sometimes more: “Blockchain will eliminate the need of the middleman, allowing artists to reap the full extent of their work.”
thankful_for_today, by Josephine Bellini
Bitcoin in Josephine’s art
The foundation behind her art can be tracked to the cryptosphere: “All of my artwork is influenced by crypto and its ethos.”
Art is the way that she opens up the conversation with the audience, whether they are familiar with the topic or not. Speaking of one of her pieces, in particular, ”Filter” which depicts a woman wearing a gas mask lined with the Bitcoin white paper and shredded pieces of US dollars in the background, she says it makes her feel empowered; many can surely relate to that imagery.
Josephine explained her art to Bitcoin News: ”I have found the way to breathe in the truth while living in a corrupt society, I have found a way to control my own financial future… filter fiat into cryptoassets – cryptoassests that I own, and cannot be taken away from me. Viewers can and should create their own meaning of my artwork. Whether the viewers’ reaction be positive or negative, I hope to stimulate curiosity and bring people to question what we consider to be societal norms.”
To read more about the artwork and artists exhibiting at Art (r)evolution, information is available on their blog.
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Image Courtesy: Pascal Boyart, Josephine Bellini