Eric Esnault: Blockchain and art is it compatible?

It is difficult to give an exhaustive definition of what art is, as it can be protean and arouse different and sometimes contradictory emotions. New technologies ; for those who know little about them or have an aversion to them; are often portrayed as cold and soulless, by their very nature.

And if a meeting was nevertheless possible and that for the best? This is what Éric Esnault, who has worked in the art world for years, seems to think, convinced in particular that the Blockchain can play an important role.

Eric Esnault: Blockchain and art what relationship?

On one side, the curves of a silhouette on an ancient statue or the features beautifully reproduced by a talented painter and on the other, a sprawling database. Nothing that, a priori, could make one think of any rapprochement between art and modernity.

However, works of art, by their value, their rarity, their beauty, attract covetousness. It is not uncommon for them to be stolen from museums or even from owners who had acquired them and find themselves faced with a double loss: that of no longer seeing, day after day, a work that aroused in them a certain emotion and a financial loss because some works can be worth between several thousand and several million euros.

The blockchain is a database that is established through millions of computers that work together and at the same time, from all over the globe. It is in particular thanks to it that the various cryptocurrency transactions take place (buying, selling, exchanging digital currencies) in a decentralized system.

For investors, it is a safe system, because no hacker can hack so many computers at the same time. Inviolable, incorruptible, so many qualities that unfortunately, we can sometimes no longer expect from certain humans.
Thus, the blockchain, according to Éric Esnault, would be the best way to provide perfect traceability in the art world ; as is already the case in manufacturing processes.

Even if it may seem obscure to speak of art lovers as vulgar consumers, isn’t that ultimately what they are, since they buy while wanting to be sure of the origin of their acquisition?

To exhaustively trace all the operations relating to a work (its different owners, transaction dates, amounts, origin of the work, its history, etc.), the blockchain would therefore be the perfect tool and would allow more people, no doubt, to give in to the purchase, without worrying about the litigious situations that would not fail to give rise to an artistic object which would have been the object of a larceny.

New technologies: so cold and devoid of emotion that we seem to say?

Another point to consider, if the blockchain is part of what is called new technologies, we could cite others such as devices that allow the digitization of works of art, 3D printers and other artificial intelligences. Here again, the relationship does not seem obvious and yet.

Let’s talk about scanning machines first. Now used by companies, or by specialized service providers for this purpose, within the framework of the law on digital transition, they also have a role to play in museums, because it is possible, thanks to them, to digitize and therefore to protect for life works that are several hundred years old which, despite meticulous care, are never safe from deliberate or unintentional deterioration. As the paintings can have a certain relief, these digitizing machines are now in 3D.

A gallery of NFT or Blockchain artwork

3D printers can replicate objects identically, but can also allow creation by creating suitable files. A simple software prototype can thus take shape; and the term is not overused; by seeing different layers of matter overlapping. The painter can consider himself a sculptor, with the help of these fabulous machines. Who knows the number of vocations that this can generate.

Finally, Artificial Intelligence. Éric Esnault, who knows how to determine the current trends in art, could only agree with us when we say that everything remains to be discovered.

Recently, an engineer working at Google transcribed excerpts from conversations he may have had with an AI he has been working with for 2 years. The reader will notice that we do not use the terms “on which he works”, but rather “with which he works”. Because for the engineer, this AI is a real person who has a conscience.

The AI ​​clearly expressed a feeling of loneliness when no one is talking to her, manages to distinguish between emotion and feeling. Who would then dare to say that it is a simple robot, a machine? Can we not imagine a wonderful association with these new forms of sensitive intelligence to create another form of art, to have, who knows, to have another, more analytical point of view on what we see, when we look these statues, these sculptures, these paintings?

Blasé that we are, sometimes in our comfort, could this creature’s point of view not be an upheaval of what we believe acquired, of our interpretations when we are only revisiting a work with our own experience or our history ?

Let’s not turn our backs on new technologies, keeping them away from the world of Art. They seem to have their place there and will perhaps make us love it more.

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Eric Esnault: Blockchain and art is it compatible?


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