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Image courtesy Vienna Contemporary.
Image courtesy Vienna Contemporary.
Image courtesy Vienna Contemporary.
Benoit Pagotto, Edward Cawley, Fernando Magalhaes, and WEBB, image courtesy Vienna Contemporary.
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Vienna Contemporary Talks NFTs and the Future of Art

By Kayla Herrera-Daya

September 29, 2021

Earlier this month during Vienna Contemporary, the panel “NFT - The Future of Art” was held in partnership with MINT. Part of the art fair’s series of talks, the discussion explored how non-fungible tokens enable artists to digitize their work and apply technology as a medium. 

Panelists included Benoit Pagotto, co-founder of RTFKT and Curator in Chief at THE MINT; Edward Cawley, who leads Artistic Relations at; artist Fernando Magalhaes; Webb, artist and founder of CRYPTOWEEBS; and Rahilla Zafar, Executive Producer of MINTED who joined the panel online. Moderating the discussion was James Joseph, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of CYBR Magazine, and Editorial Director at THE MINT

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The panelists sought to consider the use of NFTs as futuristic approaches to arts and culture, technology, and the marketplace at large. “NFTs mean a revolution for the creative industries.We select the works not only on the basis of the image, but also on the personality of the artist– and their social media appearance – are they serious about NFTs, do they push it? We will continue to develop features that empower creatives. And the community has an active say in creating our marketplace,” said Cawley.

The dialogue encouraged a new understanding of NFTs as art, not simply as individual works, but creations in a digital landscape in which people can participate in and interact with. As Webb put it, “Art is something you usually discover together with others. So, I created an exhibition in the form of an interactive, multiplayer game. That is my main question right now: How can we go away from looking at NFTs on a screen and start experiencing it in the three dimensional world?”  

Not only do NFTs provide a kind of financial stability for artists, that prior to the NFT boom, they had never seen the likes of, it gives their work exposure and promotes community within people who genuinely care about their work. Pagotto remarked on the, “shift in paradigm: all those newly discovered artists, they do not want to be exhibited at the MoMA, they have other dreams–like creating a video game. There are more people in the world interested in Pokémon than in Damien Hirst.”

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Image courtesy Vienna Contemporary.

“Sales of NFTs are 90 percent aesthetics-driven. The art does not need to be contextualized like in a museum or gallery exhibition. Even if you do not know anything about art, but you are smart, you can find your way around Twitter and Discord, you can make a lot of money really fast,” continued Pagotto. 

By hosting on Discord and more thoughtfully getting active on social media, artists can easily collaborate and directly connect with people who have discovered them. In an age of physically decentralizing visual art, the Vienna Contemporary Talks aimed to inspire its visitors to imagine the City of Vienna and alternative venues as artistic spaces. 

NFTVienna Contemporary


Art |January 17, 2022

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