Digital art archiving is nothing new. In the Arctic ice for centuries, there are, among others, works by Olga Tokarczuk or Wisława Szymborska. Securing the NFT in this way will ensure data durability on an unprecedented scale. Our descendants will find classical artists there, but also art created by artificial intelligence. Today, we can rediscover the forgotten works of artists to whom the NFT technology gave a second life.
Digital items are easy to copy and are therefore not the best investment instrument. The solution is the Non Fungible Token (NFT), which is a non-exchangeable token representing various intangible items (e.g. equipment in games) and tangible items (e.g. paintings on canvas). NFT is a kind of digital certificate of ownership, based on a secure and decentralized blockchain technology. NFT representing works of art can achieve dizzying prices. So far, the most expensive, for USD 69 million, was the NFT painting by American artist Michael Winkelmann "Everydays: the First 5000 Days". Such valuable NFTs need special protection.
How to protect NFT? Best by burying in permafrost
The startup Top Dog Studios, which included them in the Arctic World Archive (AWA), also known as the Library of the End of the World, decided to use an unusual method of securing the NFT. AWA is run by Piql and a Norwegian mining company that hosts an old coal mine that stores Piql's 120 GB photosensitive rolls that can store data for 500 to 2000 years. In March, Top Dog Studios hosted the popular NFT Curio Cards, MoonCats and Boss Beauties collections as well as representations of works by artists such as Alycia Rainaud, Blake Kathryn and Mad Dog Jones. Previously, the AWA collections included "traditional" digital versions of the most important works of art for mankind, such as Dante's Divine Comedy or the painting The Scream by Edvard Munch. The AWA collection also includes a record of 4299 pages of Olga Tokarczuk's prose and the entire work of Wisława Szymborska.
- Depositing NFT in an arctic archive is about more than just media hype. It is equating this technology with other digital solutions, and even admitting that it is thanks to tokens that we can protect our memory about culture in the fullest way - says Bartosz Bilicki, from the startup SmartVerumthat tokenizes art through the stock exchange Mintiq and creates an artistic metaverse.
A work of artificial intelligence recorded for posterity ...
Top Dog Studios decided to make their "NFT crypt" available for a fee. Their latest client is the Israeli startup Art AI, responsible for the Eponym project. The company has developed an algorithm that generates images when you enter text. The code allowed for the creation of the NFT collection co-created by 10 people. Anyone who deposited about $ 000 could enter any sentence that was within the 300-word limit. Then, in a few dozen seconds, the image was created. In total, Art AI earned $ 66 million in just a few hours. The success of Art AI caught the attention of Top Dogs Studios, and the companies, after months of talks, decided to secure the creativity generated by Eponym and its users in the NFT Crypt. The founders of Art AI traveled to Spitzbergen to attend the ceremony of depositing rolls with photos of Eponym's project work and QR codes with NFT metadata.
- The very way the Art AI software works is fascinating - he notes Karol Belina-Brzozowski, co-founder and creative director of Kleks Academy, a startup working on the innovative multi-D NFT, which is part of the technological universe around the new version of the film Akademia Pana Kleksa.
- Eponym is based on generative competitive networks (GAN), a technology developed in 2014 by Ian Goodfellow. Until then, neural networks were pretty good at recognizing images, but by creating their own, they created psychedelic nightmares, such as Deep Dream by Google. The problem was avoided by introducing a large amount of data, which was verified with the help of people, e.g. therefore we recognize images when verifying CAPTCHA identity. With the help of scientists from the University of Montreal, Goodfellow improved his project, and their joint work is today one of the most cited scientific articles and a source of inspiration for developers - discloses Karol Belina-Brzozowski.
Let's explain. Goodfellow's solution uses two networks: a generator (Artist) and a discriminator (Krytyk), from which the Artist proposes new works, and the Critic rejects those too deviating from the norm. Then the virtual creator tries again until it succeeds.
… And resurrected for the present
Generating art by artificial intelligence can also bring closer the works of artists who, for natural reasons, cannot create anymore. The British Museum, i.e. the national archive located in London, already offers the opportunity to purchase NFT collections, which for the next five years will be created by the Paris startup laCollection, founded by Jean-Sébastien Beaucamps in early 2021. Thanks to this, it was possible to sell the woodcut of Katsushiki Hokusai, a nineteenth-century Japanese artist. The NFT featuring her work was sold in January 2022 for more than $ XNUMX.
- In this case, we are talking about converting an available work into the NFT. However, the artist's death leaves us with one more mystery. What to do with works that were not published during his lifetime? It is often the subject of many years of disputes and it is not always about succession. Often, families do not want to publish works hidden in a drawer, because they are afraid that their poor technical quality, e.g. resulting from improper storage, will ultimately negatively affect the reception of the work and the author's legacy. The NFT can dispel many of these doubts - Bartosz Bilicki from SmartVerum points out.
This was the case, for example, in the case of the works by the American painter Lee Mullican. The late artist, in the 80s, created some of his works on the first public computers, but never printed them because he was not satisfied with the available technical solutions. As emphasized by the owners of the company that archives Mullican's works, it was only the NFT technology and the use of artificial intelligence that guaranteed that the world would be shown real art. NFT Mullicana are appreciated by critics and collectors because they are valued at around one ether (ETH), or around two thousand dollars.
Photos of August Sander are also stored in NFT technology. This German photographer became famous for his "People of the XNUMXth century" photo collection. His works were largely destroyed. They were engulfed by fires during the fights of World War II, but also the Nazis themselves destroyed photos of their compatriots. Sander's portraits differed significantly from the vision of "pure race". Over the years, Sander's family collected and archived copies of their ancestor's photos. Also here, artificial intelligence allowed to improve the quality of copies, prints and slides. The NFT collection was made public at OpenSea, one of the largest NFT galleries. Viewers can scroll through the grid of prints like a researcher browsing an artist's archive. The portfolio includes outstandingly composed portraits, but also hazy, random landscapes and interiors. There are handwritten notes around the edges of the paintings that identify the subject of the portrait, the location, or the approximate dates when it was taken. There are also visible frames from the negatives - reminders about the physicality of the photography. Each collector is, as the artist's family emphasizes, "the steward of August Sander's legacy", but can also manage the physical version of the prints based on the NFT. Today, the collection is worth a total of about $ XNUMX million, and the family systematically adds more photos to it.