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Archive for the ‘Bytes for Sale’ Category

Notes for Bytes for Sale – Talk in Helsinki

In Bytes for Sale, Daata, Daata Editions, daataeditions, David Gryn, Digital, digital art, Helsinki, Kiasma, Uncategorized on 09/11/2018 at 5:24 pm
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Ollie Dook, Animal Stories, Daata Editions

 

Bytes for Sale

A talk by

David Gryn, Daata Editions

At Kiasma, Helsinki

Organised by AV-arkki http://www.av-arkki.fi/

Daata – what is it:

Daata is a commissioning platform ostensibly for artists who work with digital mediums, primarily video and sound. It exhibits and distributes online and shows the work world wide in collaboration with art fairs, galleries and museums. We have over 70 artists online and over 400 artworks.

Daata emerged from my many years focussing on showing artists moving image in the context of the cinema and leading art fairs worldwide – and realising that more needed to be done to support artists and to galvanise a somewhat reticent market place. It is designed as ‘a’ model, hopefully one of many and its aims are to be empowering (to artists, the medium, audiences etc).

https://daata-editions.com/

This talk can be summed up in two words:

PAY ARTISTS

But I was asked to speak for 40 minutes so here goes:

Is there a digital art market – in a nutshell ‘no’, but below – I will elaborate.

Community, Collaboration, Chemistries

It is a people business

I have seen many people come and go – since setting up Daata.

But the people who really care about empowerment, mutual support and collaboration survive.

Many people approach Daata to collaborate. They want to rub shoulders with the ‘cool’, with digital. They also often want Free content.

They have a unique business plan to raise millions and make billions from a dot com or major retail enterprise.

The collaborators often want us to promote their wares – but not much or nothing in return.

These are not community builders.

It is time for comprehensive unity.

This isn’t really a new thought. As I have been doing something like this for almost 20 years. Starting off with mostly analogue materials, and over time transmogrifying into digital process.

I have always dwelled on how to increase the audience/market position and the profile of digital media and this is definitely not new to me.

I have observed that the use and display of analogue or digital media at international art fairs has declined – where now you will see almost none. This is due to the fact that the the art market does not know what to do with digital media, how to sell or display digital media.

The irony is that most artists touch on digital media. Most galleries sell via digital platforms. Most museums and galleries and artists communicate via digital marketing and information.

They update their systems every so often and redesign and so on. But when you talk to Museums about collecting digital media – they are fearful, controlling, and nervous about how to protect, display, archive, sustain digital media over the next 100 years.

My simple logic is always – if I gave a Museum a Picasso or indeed a shredded Banksy – they will find a way to do all the above. Because they value it and believe in its extrinsic and intrinsic worth. 10 years ago I would not have been having the same regular conversations about VR/AR/Blockchain – but somehow the museum wants the understanding of longevity with digital mediums that absolutely no one else can know or control. 

There are those who are artists, gallerist, curators, collectors and they often purport to being really interested in collaborating – but when it gets down to it – they are mostly interested (either buy necessity or by design) in rubbing shoulders with the wealthy, the big art brands, the big sponsors, the famous artists, the big dinners etc

In working with Art Fairs over many years – I have seen a trait. They want to work with me/us to empower the medium, galleries and artists and always start off on a really great moral crusade/position. Then when it gets nearer to the actual fair – there is a lot of forgetting and not bothering that goes on. Reason: it isn’t the main feature, it doesn’t bring revenue, and audience may not connect. Art fairs missions are get galleries to pay and wealthy audiences in to buy and general public to buy tickets.

A market thrives on competition and mutual interdependence of the many. And we need to face a different joined-up approach to create audience interest and market power.

Artist relationships and support

It is a very human business and my role is to find best outcomes for the artist and those that support them too. This works best when we all collaborate best. The artists who are a delight to work with are those that you continue to work with and that works both ways. Bad reputations stick.

Control, dominance and power:

Those with hyper success and market dominance do well and survive – but that is the very extreme – the names we all know – not all artists, curators, gallerists are cut out to run multi national corporations.

Entities entering the digital space want this, the archaic market place wants this, it is a barrier to greater influence.

This is the way: so many entities want to be the market leader or power broker or in fact – there is only one solution and it is there’s. This occurs time and again with individuals saying they have the ultimate technology, the ultimate contract, the ultimate methods … it is strange that when it get to technology so many people want to have the dominant solution that we should all use.

Bizarrely the entities that say they have the ultimate contract (as an example) don’t share their contract templates, same with technologies that we should all use. In tech circles open-source is common – in art circles the sharing gene diminishes radically.

The niche collector. Sometime the video art collector is a quirk – it delineates an art form, but gives them niche power as the ‘video art collector’. Just Be an art collector, with something like a leading interest in tech mediums.

The issue with internet and digital media – is that it has its own history of market dominance, hyper valuations, ambitions to become one of the multi billion dollar elite businesses (google, facebook, amazon etc etc). However the art world does not work according to norms of business. I have watched some companies shoot for the stars and go out of business – whilst others can survive – based on their aspirations being artworld realistic.

Dedication, longevity, passion and commitment:

I believe my 30+ year duration in working in an area of limited financial reward is based on my integrity to deliver the best projects for limited resources. I have reaped recognition from years of experience and focus. This is based on my unswerving passion and commitment to make a difference in much the same way an artists has to make artworks regardless of the final sale/exhibition. My reputation is always my last project.

technology, delivery, simplicity

Making projects happen is what I have been doing. However, the value in complex set ups is hard to achieve a return. So my work uses ready made/existing materials/equipment/online/Internet/cinema and deliver usually in single screen/single file formats.

Promotion, marketing of projects:

Fence sitting doesn’t work. If you agree to work with an artist, or be in a fair, or organise anything. Give it your all. There is no value to engaging with what you are doing. There is no one else will promote your project or work as well as you. Or usually no one else promotes that which they opt to collaborate with. Which is very strange.

Solutions:

-More competition.

-Clusters of digital entities teaming up along lines of art fair models.

-marketing investment

-create ideal situations (whatever that means

-Pay artists. It provides trusted integrity to the people we purport to support.

-true collaborations

-create ‘a’ model not ‘the’ model. Semantics are key.

-Find your confidence

-Help nurture confidence

-Social-ist

-Not Capital-ist

-Don’t aim to dominate – but to collaborate

-Contracts are only any value if all parties benefit from the agreement.

We revert back to the human experience. Thru this we aim to build support systems for artists, ways to enhance the audience experience and look for best outcomes for all and conversely we strive to avoid avarice and corruption, which is an inevitable consequence of aims at huge profit and market dominance.

My model is to pay artists and/or look out for best outcomes for them. To keep a company light and limit its overheads.

My discussions with all future partners is – team up by paying artists and you have a deal.

The big collectors, collections understand the eco system and treat artists and galleries with reverence

How does he see the international art world developing and the role of galleries for digital media art in the future?

Fantasy world idea:

Museums and galleries shall usurp the art fairs and auction houses in terms of perceived dominance. The market can be led by the integrity of those who’s mission is to best serve art. To have the dominance the other way around – means that art is driven by its market powers and not its true intrinsic value of the quality of the aesthetics. To think that a Banksy artwork is of great value because of how it is sold at an auction – is indicative of the current demise we are in – but this also means that we can learn from this an react positively by shifting the focus from auction house shenanigans to museum/gallery.

I have worked with art fairs and auction houses – because they have become the dominant focus and attention for art events and exhibition – the one stop shops for audience to see much at the same time. Easy, sometimes lazy, economic rationale, it hitherto works (for some – usually the big players).

The art fair does not mean that art shown is the best – it means it is the work that is most likely to sell.

This logic – means that digital art mediums have incrementally reduced their visibility at art fairs over the years – till now there is almost none. Art fair costs are higher and the cost/income ratio has reduced – therefore the risk factor of tricky art mediums to sell are too high.

Galleries have to reclaim control of the art market from the auction house and art fair or those entities have to give back the power – by admitting that they (the galleries) have the most interest in supporting the role of the artist. The gallery business model is from selecting, exhibiting, selling and distributing the best artists. The art fair interest is to invite Galleries and audiences who pay money to be there. The auction house has no integral interest in supporting the gallery system as it predominantly benefits from the secondary market.

We need the experts of art/artist organisers, bright curators, facilitators – who’s interest is chiefly the support and promotion of artists.

The future:

Galleries and museums (and art fairs and such like): to treat digital mediums in equal terms to all other mediums.

The value of the ephemeral:

The future will be the age of the ephemeral/near-invisible art object – the digital file. The music, gamer and film industries understand the value of the download, the online link/file. Their value is in the potential volume of audience. Hitherto the artworld has never had this potential audience, as the contemporary audience is niche, and its strength has often been based on the rarity of the object and the value is centred on a very small wealthy elite audience. But our work is to either achieve the audience of those other art forms or utilise elements of it and evolve solutions to earn revenue and reward artists.

I personally don’t believe in (excessive) ownership and have always deeply valued music, dance and performances. I can pay 99c for a track of music that I value equally to any multi million dollar artwork.

I end as I began. There is only one way to work and engage with artists and that is:

PAY ARTISTS

I have to add a proviso – that this is not always possible due to restricted budgets – but if it is an aim – then it comes across and is fairly obvious to the arts community. If you can’t pay – find the best way to enable and empower artists to benefit from you working with them.

https://daata-editions.com/