Is blockchain and art compatible?

It is difficult to give an exhaustive definition of what art is, as it can be protean and arouse different and sometimes contradictory emotions. New technologies ; for those who know little about them or have an aversion to them; they are often described as cold and soulless, by their very nature.

What if a meeting is still possible and for the best? This is what Éric Esnault seems to think, who has been working in the art world for years, convinced in particular that the Blockchain can play an important role.

Eric Esnault: Blockchain and art what relationship?

On the one hand, the curves of a silhouette on an ancient statue or the features beautifully reproduced by a talented painter and on the other a sprawling database. Nothing that, a priori, can suggest a rapprochement between art and modernity.

However, the works of art, for their value, their rarity, their beauty, attract greed. It is not uncommon for them to be stolen from museums or even from the owners who had acquired them and find themselves faced with a double loss: that of no longer seeing, day after day, a work that aroused in them a certain emotion and a loss because some works can be worth between several thousand and several million euros.

The blockchain is a database that is established across millions of computers working together and, at the same time, from all over the world. It is in particular thanks to it that the various cryptocurrency transactions (purchase, sale, exchange of digital currencies) take place in a decentralized system.

For investors, it is a safe system, because no hacker can hack so many computers at the same time. Inviolable, incorruptible, so many qualities that unfortunately, at times, we can no longer expect from certain humans.
Therefore, the blockchain, according to Éric Esnault, would be the best way to provide perfect traceability in the world of art; as is already the case in production processes.

While it may seem obscure to speak of art lovers as vulgar consumers, isn’t that basically what they are, since they shop to be sure of the origin of their acquisition?

To comprehensively track all the operations related to a work (its different owners, transaction dates, amounts, origin of the work, its history, etc.), the blockchain would therefore be the perfect tool and would allow, without a doubt, more people to give in to the purchase, without worrying about contentious situations that would not have failed to give rise to an artistic object that would have been the subject of a theft.

New technologies: so cold and emotionless that you seem to say?

Another point to consider, if the blockchain is part of what are called new technologies, we could name others as devices that allow the digitization of works of art, 3D printers and other artificial intelligences. Again, the relationship does not seem obvious, yet.

Let’s talk about scanning machines first. Now used by companies, or by specialized service providers for this purpose, in the context of the digital transition law, they also have a role to play in museums, because it is possible, thanks to them, to digitize and therefore protect works of life that they are several hundred years old which, despite meticulous care, are never safe from intentional or unintentional deterioration. Since paintings can have some relief, these digitizing machines are now in 3D.

A gallery of NFT or Blockchain artwork

3D printers can replicate objects identically, but they can also enable creation by creating suitable files. A simple software prototype can thus take shape; and the term is not overused; seeing different layers of matter superimposed. The painter can consider himself a sculptor, with the help of these fabulous machines. He who knows how many vocations this can generate.

Finally, Artificial Intelligence. Éric Esnault, who knows how to determine current trends in art, could only agree with us when we say that everything remains to be discovered.

Recently, an engineer working at Google transcribed excerpts from conversations he may have had with an AI he worked with for 2 years. The reader will notice that we do not use the terms “he works on”, but rather “he works with”. Because to the engineer, this AI is a real person who has a conscience.

AI clearly expresses a feeling of loneliness when no one talks to her, she can distinguish between emotion and feeling. Who would dare to say then that it is a simple robot, a machine? We cannot imagine a wonderful association with these new forms of sensitive intelligence to create another form of art, to have, who knows, to have another, more analytical point of view on what we see, when we look at these statues, these sculptures, these paintings?

Blasé that we are, sometimes in our comfort, could not the point of view of this creature be an upheaval of what we believe acquired, of our interpretations when we are only revisiting a work with our own experience or our history?

We do not turn our backs on new technologies, keeping them away from the world of art. They seem to have their place there and maybe they will make us love it more.

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