By Niko Kipouros, Founder of 4ARTechnologies
“Beauty will save the world.” Fedor Dostoevsky
Art industry continually pushes the envelope in both form and function, yet oftentimes feels absolutely immune to any type of evolution or digitization. What mesmerizes me most is the act of creation and a continuous drive for innovation, built on centuries of tradition.
“What is possible in art becomes thinkable in life.” Brian Eno
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the way we live, work and communicate. Despite the pandemic’s adverse effects, there is a silver lining. As our world cautiously tries to regain its balance and come back to the old norm or the new norm, one thing is evident: more aspects of our lives are en route to becoming digitized. The Covid-19 may just have redefined our attitudes towards digitization.
Across different companies, it became equally important to focus on increasing and maintaining productivity by digitizing certain processes, according to Deloitte’s guide on how to stay resilient during the current crisis. The digital economy is on the rise and the Covid-19 pandemic is the catalyst.
Despite being forced to innovate and digitize, transformation is not easy. It usually comes with an array of complications and considerations. What type of technology to implement, how to keep critical data safe, whilst ensuring communications security for remotely located employees? It is a common understanding that digitization will bring about new opportunities. Therefore, in order for our future to shine as bright as our screens, we need to embrace the digital world and the possibilities hidden in its maze of circuits.
“I wanted to start a revolution, using art to build the sort of society I myself envisioned.” Yayoi Kusama
As an art aficionado, I am pleased to see how governments and institutions pledged their support to the artists and the art industry. Canada’s Center for Arts and Creativity (BANFF) rolled out a myriad of tools for artists. Similarly, the European Parliament adopted a resolution, supporting “the culture sector is suffering because of lockdown measures introduced across the EU to tackle the spread of coronavirus”. What’s even more exciting is that, in a bid to preserve and foster creativity, the European institutions launched a digital platform where creative stakeholders can unite and act together. These developments are possible due to the widespread use of technology.
The innovation out of necessity does not stop here, however. The current crisis is redefining the way we engage with art as well. Sol Rogers at the Forbes Magazine writes: “crowded art shows and galleries, auctions, and fairs seem a distant memory. The global COVID-19 pandemic has radically impacted many industries and art is no exception.”
In late March 2020 Sam Orlofsky, Director of Gagosian Gallery, had the following to say on this topic: “At least 75% of the conversations we are having right now are brainstorms about how best to present art online.” Galleries and art fairs are accelerating their online presence, much more than any other area of the art industry.
Austrian gallerist Thaddaeus Ropac shares his thoughts on art consumption, being disrupted: “I was never in favour of going online; I thought it distracted too much from the gallery. But now that I’m working from home it has my full attention”.
“I just wanna make the world a better-looking place. If you don’t like it, you can paint over it!” Banksy
As a Founder and CEO of a technology company, which operates in the art industry, I oftentimes contemplate what the future of art would be like. Will artificial intelligence replace artists and create stunning pieces of art, optimized to evoke the deepest of emotions? How will we interact with art — would we enjoy most exquisite art pieces in augmented and/or virtual reality?
Technology is changing the way art is both created and consumed. What remains unknown is how far will we take it?
Clearly, we need to adapt. We need to drive this change effort. Can we make technology more expressive? What would progress mean for the art sector, being ripe for evolution?
“Every authentic work of art is a gift offered to the future” Albert Camus
Enter 4ARTechnologies, a technology company, set to define what the future of the global art world would look like. The technology infrastructure my team and I are building allows artists and art collectors to share their works publicly or with specific individuals. Through our app the artwork can also be viewed in virtual reality, enabling access to global showrooms for artists and gallerists of any size, anywhere in the world. The VR showrooms, integrated into the 4ARTapp are free to use. Our users will be able to show the artwork to friends or potential buyers anywhere, once they register the artwork’s passport. Galleries are customizable too, so the number of unique gallery experiences are endless.
With ‘digital’ and ‘remote’ effectively being the new norm, one of the most important components is security. Our technology allows users to manage collections or manage employees, by giving them different levels of authorization and access, and even manage the company account and keep complete control of everything that happens remotely. All of this is done with full privacy and security — only the artwork owner has access to the collection, artwork passports and documentation.
What I am particularly proud of is the biometric passport for artworks, combining immutable documentation and track & trace with our unique digital fingerprint. We built the first truly usable passport for artworks! Artwork’s digital fingerprint creates a unique identification by analysing the artwork surface structure. Our technology can reliably distinguish between serial prints or photographs, even when artworks look identical. Digital condition reporting & comparison functionality creates highly detailed artwork condition reports, able to spot any changes.
The biometric passport’s digital protocols track location changes, transfers of possession, ownership or property rights, condition reports and important events. The data is automatically recorded and additionally secured with the blockchain-enabled tamper-proof timestamp.
4ARTechnologies provides the artworld with necessary tools to validate and track artworks, whilst our virtual reality features are an evolution of the way the art is accessed and enjoyed.
Through these functionalities, we are creating a digital toolbox for the art world, where all participants of our ecosystem choose the exact tools they need, attaining the greatest benefit for their work or passion. With our secure and interconnected digital infrastructure, we are enabling others to create their visions of the future.
And what about the future of Art & Blockchain? Olaf Hannemann, Co-Founder of CV VC comments: “We see two main use-cases for blockchain in the art markets: Provenance & Certification and Decentralised Marketplaces. Most projects we see work towards these categories, both of which are highly relevant for a more secure, transparent and liquid art market long-term. In addition, through the growing importance of digital art, which can often serve as the first, most natural, use case for blockchain technology, new art categories have been and will be emerging as well as new types of investors. Some from the traditional art field may criticize new forms as “digital collectables” and see “these people not wanting to buy traditional art but finding another way to make money”. However, ultimately pushing the boundaries and creating new outlets of creativity and attracting new and different investors should actually be at the core of what art is all about.”