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Now you can truly say you own nothing

nothing final.jpg


Nothing in a cardboard box

NFT (A non-fungible token)

4" x 4" x 4", (101mm x 101mm x 101mm)  

Hand signed cardboard box 1/1 

Supplied in a handmade wooden box for preservation

Part of Series: How rich is rich featuring the $1 bill

© Caddelle  (CC Faulkner)

NFT, Art, and the Value of Nothing

By: Nick Webb

The digital boom has seen a rise in the market for computer-based sales. No longer do we necessarily have to possess tangible objects for the things we buy, as digital downloads have overtaken physical sales in things ranging from music to books to computer software. The rise of NFTs in contemporary art and recent publicity from pieces being sold for $70m at auction has led to increased interest. However, in this subscribe-and-download world, what do we actually own? Do we, in fact, own nothing? 

With the rise of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), having full ownership of something that has no presence in the physical space has become a reality. You can now, own nothing.  

But what is “nothing”? People with overflowing wardrobes regularly bemoan of having “nothing to wear”, large proportions of the world are in a situation of being able to open a full refrigerator and claim there is “nothing to eat” … 

In this space, Art stands to be able to imitate life. As the value of products rendered purely in binary code has increased, the focus has shifted away from physical pieces to be hung or displayed on a wall, to the 3D and digital realm, where it is slowly becoming more popular for artists to love, rendering modeling, animation and images in purely digital forms to be sold to the highest bidder. While reproductions are, if anything, more readily available in the online space than before, ownership of the original file in its’ entirety through blockchains has become big business. But as this is becoming the norm, what is the value of physical art? 

Artist Caddelle explores this concept of “what is the value of nothing” with a new physical work where you can literally buy… Nothing. Is an empty cardboard box really nothing? Physicists would argue that there is no such thing as nothing, what is nothing to someone is something to someone else. An empty box can represent space and peace that is being looked for, it could be something that is ready to be filled with treasures, owning nothing could be a cleansing in preparation for a fresh beginning, or maybe you just really needed a box.

Being the latest tech trend to split from cryptocurrencies, NFTs allow for speculative investors to “own” the original file of a piece, the same as owning an original piece of art, allows for collectors to not only own modern works, it also allows them to help fund and support contemporary artists. This new platform of being able to fully own digital assets also allows for potentially younger investors to pull off a “cool factor” in owning original, contemporary art within a cutting-edge medium.

NFTs are a novel solution to an art world essentially shut down by Covid-19, with galleries and art fairs unable to open. The ability of these to provide the uniqueness and novelty of being able to own a singular piece of “nothing” offers a regeneration and updated ability to maintain a more current outlook while maintaining a flow of money through the economy. 

This increased worth of an idea, a non-physical piece of art may reduce the idea of the worth of more traditional forms, however, it also opens the doors for newer artistic mediums to gain traction and be able to raise funds for future projects. Through NFTs, the ability to own what boils down to nothing in the real world, is a creative extension of a traditional collection which, with well-curated exhibitions, will lead to a future of traditional art pieces sitting alongside NFT work in galleries and shows.

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