Create unique art pieces thanks to the NFT method
DIY instructions are plentiful online. But buying instructions of a designer object and later being able to call the homemade work an original is new. The so-called non-fungible tokens (article in German) make it possible. They give digital pieces of art a virtual signature so they can’t be duplicated. Canadian brand Bocci is using the NFT method for the first time to generate DIY kits of its limited edition 64 candle. This doesn’t just make the candle unique but is also the only way it can be sold in the analogue world.
So far, sculptures consisting of 280 individual spherical glass lamps suspended on copper threads 30 metres from the ceiling has been no problem for Bocci. The lighting and design company with an adjacent glass manufactory is known for their elaborate light installations that border on artwork. But the design of the 64 candle from 2018 presented a challenge for designer and creative director Omer Arbel. Not the development of the prototype, but its sale: the candle is created gradually by pouring hot wax into a container filled with shards of ice and letting the wax cool in it. As a result, numerous delicate strands are formed, which risk being broken easily during transport.
For collectors to receive the wax artwork intact, the candle would have to be poured into a solid block of ice and then transported like fresh fish to its destination where the ice could melt on site, Arbel explains in an article on Dezeen. This would be too time-consuming and expensive. With the advent of NFTs, however, the idea behind the design for this special candle could now travel.
Since the end of March, the secret DIY formula, limited to 64 copies, can be purchased for 0.05 ethereum (ETH) (article in German) – the cryptocurrency that this system uses – on the rarible platform. That’s roughly 80 francs. Every DIY kit is linked to one NFT and includes instructions and a video showcasing the work process. Unlike a bitcoin, it’s not exchangeable, but uses the same blockchain technology you know from cryptocurrencies. This makes a virtual artwork unique and gives many artists the opportunity to earn money with their digital work on the Internet. And design fans can now collect digital designs such as the 3D renderings of artist Charlotte Taylor, which previously had no market to sell on.
In the case of Bocci, you can make the exclusive designer piece yourself after buying it. Nevertheless, the whole thing has one or, to be precise, two catches. On the one hand, reselling the 64 candle in the «real» world without ice-block technology will be difficult. On the other hand, critics such as the British artist Memo Akten criticise the high-power consumption required for the creation – so-called mining (article in German) – of a single token. To be able to pay with ethereum, you first need to get hold of this currency. This requires a lot of computing power, which generates massive amounts of CO2. As extraordinary as it may be, this could soon put a damper on the booming art sale using the NFT method, provided that artists emphasise the sustainability of their works.
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«There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. I believe in the latter.» – Albert Einstein