David Gryn blog

Archive for the ‘Collector’ Category

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

pau-waelder-2016-BN

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 feature in the International New York Times

In Art Basel, artists, Artprojx, Collection, Collector, Digital, Frieze, Hammer Museum, New York Times, NY Times, Sound, Video, Zabludowicz on 15/10/2015 at 6:10 am

International New York Times, The Art of Collecting, 14 October 2015, p.2 copy

International Arts – The Art of Collecting

Website Gives Stage to New-Media Artists 

By Ginanne Brownell Mitic

International New York Times

This is what a hit looks like in the age of digital art. 

A web video piece called “she’s so talented,” by the Canadian born, New York-based artist Chloe Wise, sold three copies within a day of being posted in May on Daata Editions, a digital art marketplace. 

The video, 1 minute 3 seconds and set in Boca Raton, Fla., features a gender-bending character in a variety of poses: drinking Red Bull in a pink velour zip-up jacket on the beach, sitting on a sofa in a high-rise condo, doing dance moves while dressed in a floral midriff top. The soundtrack includes conversational snippets overheard by the artist at last year’s Art Basel in Miami Beach, including “She’s so talented, she’s a real artist,” and “Listen, if you are on the wait list, that means you are in the liminal zone between being no one and actually being someone.” 

“Miami is a place of excess, of vacation and gluttony, but also the art market, with lots of consumerism going on,” said Ms. Wise, who graduated from art school in Montreal in 2013. “It is a really interesting place to overhear things.” 

And, apparently, to get on board with a new way to sell art. Miami is also where Ms. Wise first met David Gryn, a London-based curator who, along with the British collector and philanthropist Anita Zabludowicz, co-created Daata Editions. The website, which debuted during this year’s Frieze Art Fair in New York, combines the growing online art sales scene with the mushrooming market value of new media art. 

Ms. Wise was one of 18 new-media artists invited to be part of the inaugural group to show on the website. The group includes Jon Rafman, Takeshi Murata, Hannah Perry, Ilit Azoulay and Stephen Vitiello

“I have learned to say no to a lot in the art world, as you sense ‘I do not trust this person,”’ said Mr. Vitiello, a Virginia-based sound and visual artist who created sound works for Daata with names like “Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand.” 

“But you try and say yes to those that instinctively feel interesting, and I thought, ‘Why not give this a shot?”’ 

The idea behind Daata is simple. Once a year, 18 video, sound and digital artists will be commissioned to do six pieces of three minutes or less, 15 editions of each piece. The works are available to be purchased and downloaded from the site. 

Daata has a sliding price scale. Sound, web and digital works start at $100 and increase by edition to a top price of $2,800; for video, the starting price is $200, increasing by increments to a top price of $5,600. The price difference, Mr. Gryn said, is linked to the perceived higher market value of video. Daata keeps the revenue and pays each artist a 15 percent royalty on each sale. 

The website got an institutional boost in mid-October with the announcement that two museums had become benefactors. The Julia Stoschek Collection in Düsseldorf, Germany, has purchased the full set of new works, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles has accepted a full edition as a gift. The Hammer’s chief curator, Connie Butler, said in a statement that the pieces would “extend the museum’s history of collecting and displaying new media work.” 

Seed funding for the site came from Ms. Zabludowicz, who remains an adviser. The site is staffed by Mr. Gryn and a producer. Their intention is to break even by 2017. 

The first release took place during the Frieze Art Fair in New York, followed in June by a release during LOOP in Barcelona, Spain. After Frieze London, there will be three more releases during Season One, which will extend into early 2016. 

Mr. Gryn, who curates the outdoor film screenings at Art Basel in Miami Beach, said the idea for Daata grew out of his and Ms. Zabludowicz’s observations that collectors were hesitating to buy new media art and gallerists were struggling with how to show it. That, in turn, led to gallerists’ hesitating to bring new media works to art fairs because they tended not to sell well during such high-stakes, high-profile events. 

“We are all so very used to buying music and film online without having to own physical items we have purchased,” Ms. Zabludowicz wrote in an email. “The art mediums are not very different. There are natural similarities in these immaterial art forms. We are making it very simple to show and collect the works that have been commissioned.” 

The British artist Hannah Perry, who was one of the inaugural 18, acknowledged that the concept of collecting video art was difficult for some people to get their heads around. 

“Once you buy something, how do you display it or how do you share it?” she said. “I had a collector say to me once, ‘Do I put a monitor on the wall during a dinner party? Do I keep the sound down? How do I put the sound in?”’ 

When Ms. Perry sells a video work, she includes in the box not only with the certificate of authenticity but also a small silkscreen print related to the piece that the owner can display. 

The perception that video or sound art is difficult to grasp is something that Mr. Gryn hopes will change with Daata. 

“We are not a gallery — we are not art advisers,” he said. “What we are is a commissioning platform that works with artists who work in those mediums and who promote their art form and nurture awareness. My idea is that you make a self-sustaining business that commissions the next round of artists’ works.” 

By the beginning of September, all the inaugural artists had sold several editions of their works, and there were over 500 downloads of a free Jon Rafman video. By Mr. Gryn’s standards, “that is fantastic,” he wrote in an email, because it means the work is being seen and bought. 

Jessica Witkin, the director of the New York gallery Salon 94, which specializes in new media, drew a parallel with how collectors eventually warmed to photographic art, accepting the idea that more than one edition could be available. 

“I think it is really important what they are doing, supporting artists from the inside,” she said. Ms. Wise agreed, saying that if Daata had not commissioned her Florida videos for the platform, they would not have been made. 

“Basically,” she said, “they are pushing the cycle further and allowing digital to really be appreciated and have acceptability, viewership and be funded.” 

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/14/arts/international/website-gives-stage-to-new-media-artists.html?mwrsm=Facebook&_r=0

http://daata-editions.com