Tangible Data


Tangible Data is a hypermedia post-internet on-going project about my engagement in an emerging online community building a virtual market for a cryptocurrency-hungry crowd. Allow me to lay down how those buzzwords correlate with my work.

This summer, I wanted to work on a simple and playful project that would double as a way to sharpen my 3d physics simulations and rendering skills. In my work, I highlight the materiality of technological devices by giving them properties defying the laws of physics. Influenced by daily renders and other online trends, those shorter projects would go straight to social media. For the internet, by the internet. Somewhat inspired by "satisfying" animations, I created hypnotic seamless loops that benefit from repeated viewing as they leave behind the restrictions of a more traditional time-based media with a fixed length. On Reddit, some users compared them to hallucinogenic drugs. Great!

The project took a wild turn when I figured those loops could work well as marketable "crypto art". This is when I lost my initial aspiration to work on a simple and playful project.



Rabbit Hole


What is "CryptoArt"?

Cryptoart is a term used by a niche online community to refer to digital content made to be sold online over a blockchain transaction. This process uses the same technology as cryptocurrency in order to associate artworks to blockchain inscriptions. Those unique inscriptions are called non-fungible tokens (NFT). The expression "to tokenize" or "to mint" an artwork are often used to describe this action.

Despite its virtual roots, everything about cryptoart seems in place to tie it back to the material world. As the internet allows unlimited instant access to content, the cryptoart platforms rarify this immaterial substance in order to allow a collector to claim their rights on the artwork. This operation asserts the monetary value of the intangible digital work.

This blockchain use also guarantees the tokenized artwork's creator will keep track of offers and transactions involving their work. Smart contracts are set to allow a royalty fee system in the event of a secondary market sale. More importantly, all this information is publicly available in real time and promoted on social media so the community witnesses bidding wars and transfers of ownership. These events punctuating the work inject the collectors in its history.

The Community

This specific context is what unites artists, collectors and enthusiasts with different backgrounds and values in an online community connected by the #cryptoart hashtag. The diversity of this group, the pseudo-anonymity and fast-paced interactions provided by the social networks obviously make this community prone to internal drama. Some are still troubled by what is or isn't art. Others are concerned about copyright issues. Platforms organize "drops" to incite collectors to buy quickly. Artists announce they will "burn" the unsold editions of their work to create more hype. Collectors try to corner the market and create their own "museums" or their own cryptocurrency specifically designed to buy art. These events follow one after the other as they unveil a trend. In the cryptoart world, as I currently experience it, everything must ultimately lead to a sale. An unsold piece can go unnoticed and forgotten in less than a week.


Cryptoart Drama

#metaworks

I created the #metaworks in order to share my point of view (literally) on this community. These animations document my work in relation to the collectors and other artists in the scene. By tokenizing those meta artworks, the collectors are immortalized as I embed them in my work. Created as VR mock-ups displayed using a first-person camera point of view, the #metaworks serve a second purpose. They allow me to visualize the main series in a gallery setting. Ultimately, Tangible Data invites the Web in an IRL exhibition context.

These prototypes also lead me to the creation of an LCD sculpture allowing me to shift from an online world to the real world. The original tokenized animation is cherished by an unnecessary skin made of fabric and padding reminiscent of a laptop pouch. This protective layer connects the work with its blockchain history via a computer integrated between the inside and the outside layers of fabrics. A smaller LCD, sized like an exhibition cartel, fetches the bids and transactions associated with the main work by connecting to the SuperRare platform and periodically requesting information using their API. Made to catch attention or trigger a reaction by how ridicule it looks, the augmented pouch and LCD sculpture is an effort to reveal the dynamics at work in this community.

This website acts as both a virtual exhibition space and a means to document my experience. It will be updated as the project evolves. The animations shown here serve as prototypes for a physical installation planned for 2021 and reflect the transmedial and evolutionary nature of a project that is already unfolding within three distinct exhibitions: the group exhibition Principia Discordia presented by SuperRare x Felt Zine, the online exhibition [The art happens here] by Annka Kultys Gallery and the online exhibition Re|Search by the Archiver le Present Collective. This project was possible with the help of Premiere Ovation Art Numerique.

You are invited to visit those links and explore by yourself.

baron lanteigne online portfolio
@baronlanteigne on instagram
@baronlanteigne on twitter

my work on SuperRare
tangible data one
tangible data two
tangible data three
tangible data four
tangible data four (alt.)

long dialogue on Reddit about artificial rarification.
article about Digital art, Blockchain Certification & NFT's on Medium.
a "Museum of Crypto Art" on twitter.
live streamed visit of the MoCA in Somnium Space.
ROBNESS #TRASHART MEME CREATOR on twitter.
FrenetikVoid's Discord server to update his collectors about his work.
CypherChthonic, a social network sharing & reposting Discord server by Red Scanner.