Culture – What if you bought press cartoons in the form of NFTs to “support freedom of expression”?

This is, by the very admission of the project’s stakeholders, a “first”. A “great first” even, which should lead, in the coming days, weeks, months, to the sale of press cartoons in a new form: that of NFTs (non-fungible token or “non-fungible token” in French). Press cartoons not in physics, on a board as traditionally, but by means of an authenticated digital file.

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day this Tuesday, May 3, the International Center for Caricature, Press Cartoons and Humor of Saint-Just-le-Martel, graffiti (“world’s first NFT platform for press cartoons, humor and caricatures”) and France-Cartoons (association of Francophile press cartoonists) will thus offer drawings in the form of these famous NFTs. A “militant” operation to “defend press cartoons and their cartoonists”, summed up as follows by the project leaders: “NFTs at the service of freedom of expression. »

Why this sale?

From this Tuesday, May 3, NFT cartoons will thus be offered with “the challenge of opening press cartoons to the general public”, explains Jancry, cartoonist, co-founder of Grafonage, treasurer of France-Cartoons and “obviously very close to Saint-Just for a long time » (to smile).

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“The idea is for people to make their own media,” he continues. The NFT as we see it, is not to lock it in a safe. On the contrary, it is to say: “I claim this theme which is approached on the drawing and I present it”. […] Because from the moment we buy, we sanctify it in the blockchain. So we say to ourselves “not only am I buying it, it’s mine, I’m supporting a designer” but also “I’m putting this drawing in the blockchain and we can’t take it away”. There is a whole somewhat militant approach. »

But this operation also represents new resources to support the profession.

“We all thought together about what we could do to help press cartoons and above all help cartoonists, does not hide Philippe Henry, one of the co-presidents of the Saint-Just-le-Martel Center. And we found this way. It’s a new form of marketing that can compensate and help designers. It is also an opportunity to highlight a profession, works because they are works. It’s a way to help them, to bring out the drawings, to show them, to protect them, etc. »

How will the sale go?

This first sale of press cartoons by Grafonage will take place this Tuesday on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day. Sales of NFT drawings will be spread over time via the Kalart platform, where everyone can buy their work in euros, at a starting price deemed “accessible”: €100. “And then, as the NFTs are bought and resold, it is the successive acquisitions that will make the value of the NFT, while remunerating the artist”, explains Jancry.

This Tuesday, May 3, a selection of a “hundred of boards” is planned for sale, “but we will work in series”, continues Jancry. With works by designers from all over the world: Mexico, Ukraine, Russia, Switzerland, Syria, Burkina Faso… and “of course a lot of French designers”, he adds.

“What we are doing does not exist,” he recalls. Will it work, won’t it work? We have no idea, but we are betting that people will take over the project. »

And thus outline, on the web, the first forms of what could constitute the future of “free” press cartoons…

premium Original drawings by Anne-Gaël Vautrin at the Atelier du Pont des Arts in Limoges

Small glossary necessary to try to understand the phenomenon…
Because it is not always easy to find your way around the NFT universe and therefore “crypto”, blockchain, crypto-art, etc. (don’t worry, we purposely get you lost) , there are so many anglicisms, here is a little lexicon that could be useful…

NFT. What does the term NFT mean? Answer : ” non-fungible token », or in French « non-fungible token ». It is, to put it simply, a single digital object/file (“not fungible” therefore) with a certificate of authenticity (because it is registered in the blockchain).

Blockchain. These famous NFTs are based on the technology of the blockchain (chain of blocks, in French). A technology “for storing and transmitting information” which “makes it possible to keep track of a set of transactions, in a decentralized, secure and transparent manner, in the form of a chain of blocks”, summarizes the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Recovery. It is therefore this blockchain which makes it possible to “authenticate” the NFTs and to follow the transactions related to them.

Cryptocurrencies. Made popular by Bitcoin, certainly the most emblematic of them, cryptocurrencies are dematerialized currencies that can be used for purchases on the Internet (but also sometimes in everyday life) which, as their name suggests, are “encrypted” and therefore secure. Cryptocurrencies (5,023 in number in 2021) are also based on the system of blockchain and are often (but not necessarily) used to buy the famous NFTs.

Crypto art. Portmanteau word, crypto-art refers to all the works of art gathered around the phenomenon of NFTs (and therefore the blockchain and/or cryptocurrencies). Some of his digital artworks can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars, to put it mildly.

Jean-Adrien Truchassou

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Culture – What if you bought press cartoons in the form of NFTs to “support freedom of expression”?

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