How do NFTs create a new relationship between a museum and its audience?

@ian dooley

Frances Liddell is a researcher, author and consultant on topics involving culture and the Web3. You have just published your thesis on the impact of blockchain and NFT on digital property, authority and authenticity in museums and you are returning for the opportunities that non-fungible tokens can represent for cultural institutions.

How can cultural institutions use NFTs to create new sources of income and adapt to new generations?

Frances Liddell, researcher, author and consultant

Today, the most direct way is to raise funds by selling NFTs. But I think museums need to do more to create value and a new relationship with the public. There is a social, community and economic dimension behind non-fungible tokens. The question is not how they can be used to earn money, but how they help create and engage a community around a cultural place in the long term. This problem already exists in the real world, now it exists in the virtual world via Web3. Younger generations are indeed the most likely to acquire NFTs, but the biggest challenge is getting them on the spot. The virtual must make you want to go to the real and vice versa.

Do you think NFTs will create a gap between classic artwork and digital artwork?

No, I think, on the contrary, they will make it possible to fill this gap. NFTs have allowed digital art to take off. There was already a market, but it brought a new dimension. Some people fail to connect with classical art. Digital art, through NFTs, allows to lower some barriers.

What added value can museums offer in acquiring an NFT?

The most obvious idea is to offer benefits like a loyalty program. This can take the form of discounts at the boutique or exclusive access to certain spaces and events. By creating a community it is also possible to involve the public in the creation of new exhibitions. It all depends on the audience the museum wants to reach. But I think it must make sense, beyond the financial aspect, to put in more effort.

Will NFT exhibits become more popular in the coming months and years?

Yes, I’m sure. Many reflections take place on the way in which these works can be staged. The curators finally recognize this new artistic current, which opens up a new field of possibilities for exhibitions.

Will this type of exhibition necessarily have to offer something more, such as an immersive experience?

I think immersion can play a role, because entertainment is not the enemy of education. But many exhibits these days tend a little too much towards entertainment. This is due to the fact that they are organized by private companies and not by cultural institutions. This is in particular the case of the immersive experience around Van Gogh who traveled to different cities around the world, including Bangkok (the works are shown using projectors on the walls and on the floor for 40 minutes, ed). Although more accessible, they raise other questions, in particular that of the representation of art.

The acronym NFT derives from the English Non Fungible Token, non-fungible token in French. An NFT is unique and not interchangeable. It is a digital certificate written on the blockchain that authenticates a digital object (a digital copy of a work of art, a tweet, an image, an audio file, etc.). These NFTs can be bought and sold in cryptocurrencies on the markets. When an NFT changes ownership, a new block of data is created and stored in a public ledger called a “distributed ledger”. Since this log is stored on many computers, not just one, anyone with Internet access can find out who owns it.

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