Whether you’ve just heard about the Metaverse or have already created an enviable NFT collection, the role of the world of IRL art in the Metaverse will come to mind for many art lovers. In the wild world of NFTs, it can be difficult to know which direction to look, but some key players are already shaping the future.
Among them are Sydney Xiong, director of the APENFT Foundation, which integrates art and finance in the Metaverse, and Cryptovoxels, a virtual world with the Ethereum blockchain, home to many art, music and cultural events. There is Ben Nolan. .. Earlier this year, APENFT hosted an open-call NFT exhibition “Second Lives” at Cryptovoxels. The exhibition was attended by renowned NFT artists such as Beeple, Fewocious and Pak and up-and-coming talent. The work was auctioned at Live Art, after which APENFT’s Art Dream Fund distributed $ 100,000 to the 13 up-and-coming artists selected for the call.
I recently talked to both Xiong and Nolan about the fact that NFTs are becoming mainstream and the most exciting things about Metaverse art.
Earlier this year, AThe PENFT Foundation held an NFT open call for participants exhibition “Second Life”. APENFT ART MUSEUM At Cryptovoxels. Please tell us about this exhibition, especially the theme.
Sydney: All artists in the exhibition are united by using digital media in exploring the alternative realities of the Metaverse. The open call for participants “Second Life” was actually inspired by a game where people could create their own avatars and experience Second Life in an online virtual world. The artists we chose for the exhibition presented a variety of creative visions inspired by the ideas of Second Life. Some are visions of the future of the space era, some are biological, and some are more playful. I was impressed with the creative and energetic ideas that artists have for the future.
Please tell us about the winners of the open call for participants. Who are the NFT artists we should ride on the radar?
Sydney: The open call for participants was really successful. There were more than 500 applications. Some came from professional artists. Others are art students and some come from creators working in other areas such as design, music and marketing. These artists use a variety of media, from traditional media such as copperplate photography to GIF and digital animation. It was a lot of fun to talk to them individually and get to know their process and the ideas behind each piece.
Among the award-winning artists, WMD Studios, an art collective founded in 2021 based in Berlin, is attracting attention. The team works in a variety of media, including VR, video and installation, and is dedicated to exploring the future of many other new art forms.
Artists also recommend Lil E who announced the work Apocalypse 2077 Like the artist Jansword Zhu An artist and art historian interested in exploring new materials, his work is very organic and bright.
Why did you decide to host the exhibition Crypto voxels??
Sydney: We actually planned a physical exhibition in Shanghai, but it had to be canceled the day before the opening due to Covid. This postponement of the physical exhibition forced us to consider another option, as the direct exhibition became so difficult at that moment.
The APENFT Museum in Cryptovoxels was all online and was the best option we could think of as it was easy to adjust during this uncertain period and could create a very unique and truly enjoyable virtual experience. In my view, all the works in the show were JPEGs, GIFs, moving graphics, etc., so it’s a great place to see digital art.
While exploring crypto voxels, I was amazed at the number of art galleries, museum spaces and music events. place. Why did this happen? Was it a conscious decision to respond to the cultural sphere, or did it happen organically?
Ben: I don’t know how I did it! We started out as a really technical blockchain and this small group of artists will be doing NFTs in early 2018. One morning someone asked if I could add support for displaying NFTs in a gallery-like setting.
I really like the aesthetics of the gallery with tall white walls and nice lighting and shadows. Early on, it was easy to target graphically. And when people brought these huge numbers of NFTs, we were already in the Ethereum ecosystem, but it was very easy to show those NFTs to the world.
After that, I was able to open the gallery through Covid. This allowed 10 or 20 people to come together to display a new collection when the NFT scene was completely small and no one knew about us. It really worked. And I thought — the gallery is amazing. The distribution of creators is also wonderful. We have many women and men, and people of different ages and different backgrounds. We are devoted to it as what looks really good.
I believe in the Metaverse network. Not just one metaverse, but different metaverses for different purposes. For example, some are very suitable for playing shooting games, some are very suitable for visiting art galleries, and some are very suitable for listening to music. Cryptovoxels has arrived at a space for galleries and music events. I love being in that space. amazing.
for Those who are just learning about the Metaverse enjoyed using Cryptovoxles to start exploring without having to register anything. “Barriers to entry” is a popular idea in the art world. Is this what you are thinking from the perspective of the Metaverse?
Sydney: In the future, everyone will have a cryptocurrency wallet. There are no major barriers or issues with logging in to explore crypto voxels or purchasing NFTs using OpenSea. People really get used to the digital parallel universe.
There are many things that can be achieved in the virtual world than in the real world. There are no restrictions on the shape or shape of the building or what you can put in a museum or gallery. I really enjoy how people can work together. I’ve heard a lot of projects where multiple artists and designers work together and are doing architecture and design. It facilitates this interdisciplinary dialogue that is intriguing to me.
Ben: Syndey agrees that barriers will be reduced in the future. However, we intentionally created crypto voxels so that we can be in the world as soon as we arrive. There is no login. You don’t have to select a character. There are no instructions. You start exploring the physical space, “I can look around, I can walk, oh, there is art. I can see these other people here. Can talk to them. “I didn’t want to limit who had access. It is designed to work with all types of devices. In short, it looks like a 15-year-old game because you’re trying to use the simplest technology.
For example, there are now many events that require a specific NFT for admission. Yes, but I wanted to create a world where people would explore and be full of things. In many of these virtual worlds, you’re a character who immediately asks, “Are you a woman or a man?” We didn’t want to do that. Everyone just gets the default avatar in a neutral walking position, so unless someone actively declares their identity, it’s unclear whether it’s male or female at these events. Everyone exists.
The Metaverse is still very well-formed. What are the underlying principles of each of your projects that are guiding you as you move forward?
Ben: The sovereignty of the user and the people who own the art, own what they create, and own what they collect. We also welcome everyone and do not exclude anyone. We really want to respect people’s privacy and data. Currently, there are ways to fund the continued growth and development of Cryptovoxels. You don’t have to track people or cash out all aspects of them. It’s very important to me. I want to offer our service cheaply so that it can be offered to many people for free. And anyone who can’t buy to participate in cryptocurrencies can participate, build, create and do all this. And those who have more resources can contribute to the financing of the world and build the value they acquire and retain for themselves.
Sydney: I have exactly the same opinion. It’s about maintaining privacy, owning your own content, and allowing you to make money from it. As a foundation, we have recently invested in many NFT projects — more than 30 in the last 6 months. In addition to nurturing and supporting native cryptocurrency artists, we have invested in many NFT projects focused on growing the ecosystem, trying to attract traditional and Web 2 people to our website. I am...
What do you think is the future of the world of traditional art and the Metaverse?
Sydney: Our foundation aims to be a bridge between the world of traditional art and the so-called Metaverse or the online world of the future. I am convinced that these two worlds are fused. Digitization and the digital presence of exhibitions will be widespread in the future as they will be accessible to a larger audience and there are no restrictions on what artists can create.
Actually, I’m planning another offline exhibition in April, and I hope I can do it this time! The exhibition is structurally divided into two parts. One is composed of the works of the artist, and the other is an enclosed LED wall space, where the Crypto Voxel exhibition is held in conjunction with the offline exhibition. I really think it will be so cool — and I will be able to share more important things next week.
What do you think are the main benefits of NFTs?
Sydney: The difference between artists is very obvious. Traditional galleries split revenue into 50/50. Here, it’s your own profit and you can earn royalties every time a transaction is made at work.
Ben: It’s also more fluid.If you purchased Sydney art Wall She needs to remove it from the wall, put it in a crate and send it to New Zealand. Then she takes two weeks to arrive at me. Or you can buy the artwork right away and put it in your wallet in seconds. That way, as long as your keys are secure, you’ll have a safe and easy place to store them. There are some drawbacks such as carbon, but those problems have been solved and are being solved.
What do you say to NFT skeptics?
Ben: Many people don’t mind hating NFTs, so spend more time building a great ecosystem in this space before everyone realizes that this is a great way to actually move forward. I think I will give it. I don’t want to run on the Ethereum mainnet using terawatt power. We do not want to concentrate all our capital on a small number of specific people who enter early and dominate the entire market. However, these are two anomalies in the system. There are many good things about owning your art in a distributed ledger, sending it freely, collecting it, and getting it back. There are some absolutely amazing things about this technology.
I was surprised that the NFT took off because I thought it was too geeky. We have been participating since 2018 and never expected NFTs to become mainstream. I’m really, really happy.
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