Emily Faber reports for Coindesk about three contemporary artists who have been “pulled in by bitcoin’s excitement and mystery”.
Poesy Liang is immersed in Silicon Valley, and sells works for Bitcoin. Lindsey Nobel encountered Bitcoin from a Wall Street buyer, and found that it fits into her overall creative meditations on networks and flows in networks—neurons, society, and finance are all global networks. Karen Zahray is fascinated by the “mystery” of Bitcoin, and its promises in the area of online privacy. She also is exploring digital sales using cryptocurrency.
As far as I can tell, none of these artists have made any particular use of Bitcoin or cryptocurrency ideas in their art. They learned about it by “chatter” among their trendy set, and became curious. Given the extreme abstraction and virtuality of cryptocurrency, I’m not surprised that artists have not done much with it.
Faber points out that cryptocurrency transactions really should be interesting for artists, who are often involved in many (small) sales of their works. Peer-to-peer, low overhead payments may be very helpful for starving artists. Theoretically. (And see, for example, Ascribe)
But to date, much of the interest is due to fashion, the “excitement and mystery” of Bitcoin. It is “more interesting than banks”, and borderless, says Noble. Well, maybe.
Faber appears disappointed that this interest does not involve actually using Bitcoin yet. “[W]hile bitcoin certainly can capture your imagination, it doesn’t always end up in your wallet”. I’m not sure that anyone should expect artists to get involved in such a marginal technology, that’s not really their “job”.
But Faber does make the interesting point that “Time will tell if the art world will see continued bitcoin adoption, but if it does, it may be an interest in connections that is drawing artists to the currency.” I think this is a good point, and I would add that blockchain and cryptocurrency applications of many kinds—not just Bitcoin transactions—will be just as interesting. For example, consider provenance.org, which is deeply and profoundly about global connections and flows.