Surfing with Satoshi. Art, Blockchain and NFTs now available in English!

Surfing with Satoshi, Texts

I’m happy and proud to announce that my book Surfing with Satoshi. Art, Blockchain and NFTs is now available in English! Scheduled for release on May 25, the book can be pre-ordered on Aksioma’s online store with free shipping, alone or in a special combo with Hyperemployment. Post-work, Online Labour and Automation (2019), funnily named “Combo 40”.

Produced and published by Aksioma, Ljubljana, Surfing with Satoshi. Art, Blockchain and NFTs is the English version of my book Surfing con Satoshi. Arte, blockchain e NFT, published in Italian by Postmedia Books in June 2021. Printed in a limited release of 300 copies, this English version features a new design by Superness, color plates and a “Foreword to the English Edition” that offers a major update of the book, and that can be downloaded for free from this link.

Collezionisti e valore dell’arte in Italia

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Sollecitato da Alberto Fiz, ho contribuito al libro Collezionisti e valore dell’arte in Italia 2022, prodotto da Intesa San Paolo in collaborazione con Skira, con un breve saggio su collezionismo e arte digitale. Di prossima uscita, il volume è stato presentato oggi con un video in streaming presentato da Luca Beatrice, che ospita anche (dal minuto 35.30) una breve conversazione tra me e Alberto sul tema degli NFT. Non sono mai fiero delle mie performance verbali, ma lo splendido sfondo delle Gallerie d’Italia e il logo dell’Ansa valgono ben una condivisione.

Truthless Trust

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Francoise Gamma, Fractura, 2021. Animated GIF, 488 × 584 pixels, 301 frames

On the website of Spike Magazine you can now read an edited excerpt from my book Surfing con Satoshi. Arte, blockchain e NFT, translated into English by Anna Rosemary Carruthers. The excerpt offers a good chance to announce the upcoming English version of the book, that will be made available in spring by Postmedia Books and, in a limited edition designed by Superness, by Aksioma, Ljubljana. Meanwhile, enjoy Truthless Trust!

Domenico Quaranta, “Truthless Trust”, in Spike Magazine, February 1, 2022

The Aesthetics of Non-Fungible Tokens

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Dmitri Cherniak, A slight lack of symmetry can cause so much pain, 2020

The Italian magazine Civiltà delle macchine, published by Fondazione Leonardo, asked me to write an essay about NFT aesthetics. I accepted the challenge. The piece is now available in Italian and English on the paper version of the magazine, which is also available as a free download pdf (pdf download). With some minor changes, the English version of the article has been also minted on my Mirror blog.

Domenico Quaranta, ”L’estetica dei Non-Fungible Token”, in Civiltà delle macchine, n. 4, Dicembre 2021, pp. 66 – 71. Versione inglese “The Aesthetics of Non-Fungible Tokens”, pp. 89 – 91.

Curating Digital Art

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curating digital art (Ed. by Annet Dekker)

Curating Digital Art – From Presenting And Collecting Digital Art To Networked Co-Curation is an extensive publication edited by Annet Dekker and published by Valiz along 2021, featuring a number of interviews with artists and curators. I’ve been included with an old interview discussing medium based definitions, online / offline exhibitions, open source, the future of museums, and my 2011 exhibition Collect the WWWorld. The Artist as Archivist in the Digital Age (catalogue still available here).

NFT changed my life! La blockchain sta reinventando il futuro?

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Qualche settimana fa NOT ha pubblicato un paio di estratti in italiano dal volume Surfing con Satoshi. Arte, blockchain e NFT (Postmedia Books, Milano 2021), con un breve cappello introduttivo. Lo trovate qui:

Domenico Quaranta, “NFT changed my life! La blockchain sta reinventando il futuro?”, in NOT, 6 ottobre 2021.

The Link Art Center Closes Down. Interview with the Founders

Debate, Texts
Collect the WWWorld. The Artist as Archivist in the Internet Age at 319 Scholes, New York 2012. Curated by Domenico Quaranta

What follows is the English translation (courtesy Google Translate, with some editing by yours truly) of an interview originally published in Italian on Artribune, about the end of the Link Art Center (here the official announcement). Together with my long time partners Lucio Chiappa, Matteo Cremonesi, Fabio Paris, I discuss with Valentina Tanni about the increasing awareness of digital cultures in mainstream contemporary art, media art institutions, collaboration, curating, publishing, and working on all this from Italy…

Valentina Tanni, in Artribune, September 19, 2019

After eight years of editorial, curatorial and exhibition activity, the Link Art Center, a cultural association engaged in the dissemination of new media art, announced its closure. We spoke with the founders – Domenico Quaranta, Fabio Paris, Lucio Chiappa and Matteo Cremonesi – to take stock of this important experience.

Let’s start with the inevitable question: why do you stop? Why now?

Domenico Quaranta: The Link Art Center was founded as a cultural association in 2011, with the mission to foster, at national and international level, a greater diffusion and awareness of the “arts of the information age”. At the time we perceived this mission as a burning necessity. We were spectators of a dynamism of the artists that did not find an adequate response in the institutions, in the magazines, in the market. We had to do something, and we did it. But on this front, from 2011 to 2019, there have been enormous changes, both at the artistic level and at a more general level of society, in Italy and in the rest of the world. Just visit a mainstream contemporary art event such as this year’s Venice Biennale to perceive the scale of this change. Themes that once would have been defined as “digital culture”, such as artificial intelligence, are now on the agenda, and not just in a discursive niche; languages ​​that once would have been defined as “new media”, such as virtual reality, are placed in the hands of contemporary art veterans such as Marina Abramovič or Anish Kapoor.

Net Art Anthology

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Michael Connor, Aria Dean, Dragan Espenschied (eds), The Art Happens Here: Net Art Anthology, Rhizome, New York 2019. Image courtesy Rhizome

A long review I wrote about Rhizome’s Net Art Anthology, that takes off from the online initiative to consider the New Museum exhibition and the publication as well, is out in Camera Austria: Domenico Quaranta, “Net Art Anthology”, in Camera Austria International, Issue 146, pp. 81 – 82. Download pdf

In a recent comment about his ten years old project Post Internet, Los Angeles based author Gene McHugh says: “What was so vital then, often appears dated now. That fact, it’s becoming more and more clear, is the ontological condition of post-internet art. Most of it is an art of the right now and quickly becomes dead, at best a historical example. That sounds disparaging, but I don’t exactly mean it that way. At the time it mattered more than anything.” [1] Post Internet was a blog project started on December 2009, thanks to a grant of the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program. Using one of WordPress’ default templates, from December 29, 2009 to September 5, 2010, McHugh posted – sometimes on a daily basis, sometimes less frequently – his notes about the online practices of a generation of artists he felt akin to, often gathering around online communities they called “surfing clubs”, that – following the definition suggested by artist and Rhizome’s curator Marisa Olson [2] – he described as Post Internet artists (a definition that would later become viral).

Exhibition Strategies For Digital Art: Examples And Considerations

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Written in Stone. A net.art archaeology as partially re-enacted for net.art Painters and Poets, Mestna galerija Ljubljana 2014 (curated by Vuk Ćosić & Alenka Gregorič)

Published in: Lorenzo Giusti, Nicola Ricciardi (Eds.), Museums At The Post-Digital Turn, Amaci — OGR — Mousse Publishing, Milan 2019, pp. 177–198. Buy the book here

The aim of this contribution is to contest itself — or, rather, its title. It is to demonstrate that, at the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century, we have reached an evolutionary phase in the so-called digital arts in which there is no longer any point hypothesizing about whether it is necessary to develop specific exhibition strategies that may facilitate public presentation in the display spaces of contemporary art of works that make use of digital media in their production or distribution, and/or make reference to the themes, aesthetics, and procedures that have emerged alongside digital media. [1] Further radicalizing the matter, this text sets out to show that today, the “problem” with digital art lies in the very use of this term, and in the artificial logics of merging (of works and artists that have little or nothing in common) and of segregation (from the rest of contemporary art) that its use reflects, and at the same time contributes to maintaining and consolidating. [2]

Art numerique: un art contemporain

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Exhibition View, Hito Steyerl, Hell Yeah We Fuck Die at Kunstmuseum Basel Gegenwart 2018 / Photo: Marc Asekhame / Courtesy: Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York

Written for and published in: Documents — Collecting digital art — Volume 2–2007–2018, Les presses du réel, Dijion, November 2018. Preface by Florian Bouquet and Marie-Claude Chitry-Clerc. Foreword by Valérie Perrin. Texts by Cécile Dazord and Domenico Quaranta. Co-published with the Espace multimédia Gantner. English — French, ISBN: 978–2–37896–019–3.

“Today, one must struggle, not — as Greenberg did — for the preservation of an avant-garde that is self sufficient and focused on the specificities of its means, but rather for the indeterminacy of art’s source code, its dispersion and dissemination, so that it remains impossible to pin down — in opposition to the hyperformatting that, paradoxically, distinguishes kitsch.” i

Digital art (at the time, mostly identified as Computer Art) came about in the early Sixties as an artistic response to the emergence of the computer and digital media, and as an articulation of one of the most interesting moments in the history of contemporary art — the one that, as it is widely recognized, shaped the contemporary art world and the very notion of contemporary art as we know it. In the effort to go beyond the Art Informel / Abstract Expressionist esperanto, that dominated the previous decade, artists started to look back at the Avantgardes, and to build upon that part of their legacy that was left discarded by the artistic movements active between the two World Wars: their attempt to merge art and life, to bring art everywhere and to make it with all the available means, thus rejecting the traditional media of modern art and experimenting with all available media, either borrowing them from other artistic fields (such as theatre) or from the world of industrial production, mass communication or technological innovation.