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The artwork is a digital file, yes by Pau Waelder – a new Foreword for Daata Editions

In Art Basel, Art Video, Collecting, Collector, Daata, Daata Editions, daataeditions, David Gryn, NADA, Pau Waelder, Uncategorized, Video, Video Art on 16/11/2018 at 11:26 am

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The artwork is a digital file, yes

by Pau Waelder

A new Foreword for Daata Editions

When considering how to collect digital art, we come across two preconceptions: what an artwork must be and what digital files are worth. First, it is commonly assumed that an artwork is an object with unique attributes, original, and irreplaceable. The object routinely goes from the artist’s studio to the gallery, where it is acquired by a collector. There is no doubt that it is always the same object that trades hands, and it is finally the collector who decides where the artwork is placed and who has access to it. Conceptual and performance art has challenged this notion again and again, but the artwork always finds its way into the market and the collector’s home in the form of a more or less stable object. Thus, if an artwork (a) is not an object, (b) can be copied, (c) can be accessed or experienced beyond the control of its owner(s), and/or (c) requires a computer, software and display to be at all perceivable, some may find it “difficult,” “challenging,” or even not worth collecting. This relates to the second preconception.

Our computers, tablets and smartphones are constantly storing digital files. Most of them we have created ourselves, others we have downloaded for free or for a fee. They fill the device’s storage space and force us to either copy them to other devices, store them in the cloud or delete them. Digital files are therefore constantly moved around, copied and erased, both a necessity and a burden. In most cases, we don’t know what to do with them, they just linger in folders and hidden directories until detected by a cleanup app or simply obliterated when the device that stores them reaches the end of its service life. Digital files, therefore, tend to be considered expendable in the sense that there should always be another copy somewhere. In fact, a growing segment of the entertainment industry relies on selling access to content on digital files that we temporarily store in our devices and swiftly remove when we are done watching the film, tv series, or documentary; listening to the song or podcast; reading the book, graphic novel or magazine. Many times, the file is not even downloaded, it is streamed and thus disappears the moment it is not used anymore, without leaving a trace. When we pay for the content, we either rely on it being safely stored by the provider and always conveniently accessible or we just want to experience it and never care what happens to it afterwards, because there will always be more, newer content ready to be clicked on.

My point is that artworks and digital files seem to be incompatible, due to how we tend to conceive artworks and our daily experience with digital files. Artworks are forever, digital files are ephemeral. Artworks are unique objects, digital files are immaterial worthless copies. However, an artwork does not need to be an object. In fact, a painting is not an object, it is an image that becomes a physical object because the pigment needs to be placed on a surface and canvases make it easier than walls to create, move around and sell the images. An artwork created in a digital format (a video, sound, jpeg, gif, 3D animation, browser-based piece or what have you) is not only always a copy but also the result of a software interpreting a file on a certain display, so every time it is experienced it turns out to be, in a way, a unique performance. Of course, one has to make sure that the software works with the file and that the display shows the piece as intended, but that’s all part of the artwork being something other than a static, physical object –which would nevertheless require certain conditions of placement, lighting, humidity and so forth. Finally, the artwork may be available to others even if it is safely at home and a certificate of authenticity, kept in the safe, states that no one else owns it. Artworks have a life of their own as they are viewed in exhibitions, reproduced in photographs and videos, distributed in magazines, books and blogs. Most of the art we know and love, we have never owned and will never own – even big collectors know and love much more art than they have bought. A large part of that art we have seen through reproductions, mostly on screens. It is still part of us, and for those who were lucky, smart or powerful enough to buy it, the more people who feel that the artwork is part of them, the better. For what good is it to own something that no one else knows about, that none can appreciate, that cannot be shared?

Digital art allows us to own and at the same time share an artwork – not only its reproduction. This can raise some eyebrows and insecurities. It may be argued that if the artwork is available elsewhere or that it can be copied, it loses its value. However, in addition to what I have already stated about the nature of a digital file, let us consider what Nelson Goodman found to be the difference between an original artwork and a forgery: its history of production. A digital artwork that has been purchased from a reputable source with a valid registry of authenticity has a history of production that can be established from the artist to the collector. No matter how many copies of the artwork may circulate, only the collector – or collectors if the artwork is editioned– can claim ownership and, more importantly, become part of the history of the artwork. This is not just provenance, which will matter to the next owner, but an active involvement in the existence of the artwork, its relevance and also in supporting the work of the artist. This is where Daata Editions comes in. Daata commissions art that is sold through its online platform in limited editions. The artists are paid to produce artworks that anyone can buy with a few clicks. The buyer can download the artwork and store it in her computer, on the cloud, wherever, make copies and display them on any device she owns. The rest of us can see the same artwork – watermarked – on the platform, appreciate it, maybe feel the urge to own it too. But we won’t be part of the artwork’s history, only those who bought it do. And those who are lucky or smart enough get the first edition.

Pau Waelder is a curator, writer and researcher whose work focuses on contemporary art and new media.

https://daata-editions.com/

Daata Editions at LOOP Barcelona 4-6 June 2015

In Art, Artprojx, Artworld, Barcelona, Collecting, Daata Editions, Empower, LOOP, Spain, Video on 20/05/2015 at 12:07 pm
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Screen grab of the Daata Editions website

Daata Editions

A new online platform for the sale of artist commissioned 

video, sound and web art editions

http://daata-editions.com

Daata Editions Season One 

Artists: Ilit Azoulay, Helen Benigson, David Blandy, Matt Copson, Ed Fornieles, Leo Gabin, Daniel Keller & Martti Kalliala, Lina Lapelyte, Rachel Maclean, Florian Meisenberg, Takeshi Murata, Hannah Perry, Jon Rafman, Charles Richardson, Amalia Ulman, Stephen Vitiello, Chloe Wise.

at 

LOOP Media Lounge, Barcelona

Fair June 4-6, 2015

http://loop-barcelona.com/

Daata Editions is a new online platform dedicated to the support, promotion and collection of artists’ digital moving image and sound works. Founded and directed by curator David Gryn, and developed with London based web and design agency Studio Scasascia, this new and innovative way to collect art is designed specifically to be a native platform to a new generation of artists who are working with video, sound, and web. Daata was born of a need seen by Gryn via his work as Curator of Film, Art Basel in Miami Beach, noticing the concerns of galleries, institutions, and collectors interested in artists working in moving image and sound. Daata Editions remedies this challenge, a new venture and distribution model that commissions and empowers artists to develop new work, creating a seamless and playful platform for collectors and viewers to access and experience this material.

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Screen grab of the Daata Editions website – featuring a still from Takeshi Murata’s OM Making it Rain

Daata Editions launched Season One by commissioning 18 artists to create six new video, sound or web artworks each. All of the works will be available online for sale and research in editions of 20.

Daata Editions Season One artists are: Ilit Azoulay, Helen Benigson, David Blandy, Matt Copson, Ed Fornieles, Leo Gabin, Daniel Keller & Martti Kalliala, Lina Lapelyte, Rachel Maclean, Florian Meisenberg, Takeshi Murata, Hannah Perry, Jon Rafman, Charles Richardson, Amalia Ulman, Stephen Vitiello, and Chloe Wise. In addition to the commissioned editions available for purchase, all subscribers to the platform will receive a free Jon Rafman artwork, made specifically for Daata Editions. Art writer and curator Lucy Chinen has written the first texts for the website.

Daata Editions recently launched to great artworld acclaim in New York, at NADA New York and a Frieze Art Fair VIP event and a month-long related screening program at Soho House, New York (until June 15). In addition, passers by on the New York Lower East Side can view The Digital Revolutionaries – The Shiboogi Version program on the Salon 94 Bowery video wall, next to the New Museum and online at www.salon94.com/ (until June 30) 

Daata Editions Trailer https://vimeo.com/124940117

LOOP bcn B&N

LOOP is an independent platform dedicated to foster video art, artitsts’ films and moving image practices. Founded in 2003, the platform is -since its creation- a pioneer experimental space open up to innovative attitudes and approaches that offers a specialized audience a curated selection of video-related content from challenging perspectives.

LOOP teams up with an international community of gallerists, artists, curators, collectors and institution directors to develop projects worldwide which aim to explore critically the capacities of video and film in today’s contemporary art discourses and contribute to the exchange of ideas that drive the artworld forward.

Every year, LOOP hosts LOOP Barcelona, the main meeting point and highlight for the international video art community that through its three sections: Fair, Festival & Studies, brings together an accurate selection of contemporary video art works, premieres new productions, features exhibitions, specific projects and screenings, and displays a large programme of talks dealing with current discussions and positions of video art. Throughout the year, LOOP undertakes a myriad of projects that develops in collaboration with leading international agents and that materialize in different formats and locations: from commissioned projects to touring exhibitions in leading venues, programmes of talks and screenings, among others. http://loop-barcelona.com/

Contacts:

David Gryn / Danai Papdimitriou info@daata-editions.com +447711127848

Media Contact: Molly Rowe / Andrew Huff at Third Eye

molly@hellothirdeye.com / andrew@hellothirdeye.com www.hellothirdeye.com

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