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Crypto Artists Bring Collaborative Art to New Heights


A group of thirteen crypto artists with a passion for blockchain-powered digital creations have made something that adds a completely new dimension to collaborative art. The painting has different layers, each made by an individual artist and tokenized on the blockchain. The owner of these tokens can alter them, resulting in an ever changing masterpiece of digital art.

This collaborative piece of art is called First Supper, in reference to the artists involved being among the first of a new generation of ‘internet painters’. First Supper consists out of 22 different layers, ranging from backgrounds to characters and decorations. One person owns the entire artwork, while potentially 22 different people own the separate layers.

It’s a collaboration and interaction between artists and collectors. Each part of the painting has specific immutable rights. Therefore the owner can change the rotation, scale, XY position, visibility, opacity, hue and RGB. The company behind this project calls all this ‘reprogrammable art’. The complete creation sold for $85.100 (366.4 ETH). Currently eight different people own the 22 layers and the master version of the artwork.

First Supper is actually one of six collaborative crypto artworks available on Async.art. This platform launched after artists and programmers came together.

How does reprogrammable art work?

Async.art can be best described as a digital art gallery. Digital artworks sold on their platform consist out of a Master and multiple Layers. The Master is the complete painting, which contains different Layers. Collectors and artist can own the Master and the Layers separately, because they are all tokenized on the Ethereum blockchain. Once the artwork is live on the blockchain, it will continually check the status of the layer tokens. The looks of the Master artwork depend on the input of the Layer owners.

The matter to which Layer owners can change their tokenized part of the Master artwork, depends on the contributing artists. The artist is free to let owner change his work as much as he wants. Because digital art is reprogrammable, it could be based on any kind of data input. For example, the weather in a piece of art could change based on your local weather.

Async.art is the first platform for reprogrammable digital art powered by blockchain technology, but it’s unlikely to be the last. This could usher a wave of innovative, never ending and ever changing art forms. The crypto art community already brought lots of amazement, but this is an whole new level of ‘wow’.

Why digital images can be art

Definitions of art attempt to keep two facts in mind. Firstly art has important historical or cultural features, and has trans-historical and pan-cultural characteristics that come together in something that’s simply the aesthetic appearance of art.

Until a couple of years ago it was impossible to find a truly original first edition of a digital image. Timestamps in a search engine could help, think about a timestamp made when you created an image. However, we can easily alter these numbers. Computers allow users to make one thousand copies of an image with a click of a button. There’s no real originality there.

Value is hidden in the fact that the uniqueness and originality of a piece of art is verifiable. We need to be able to tell it’s the original. For example, a poster of the Mona Lisa is worth $2.50, but the real thing is far more valuable. It’s not the image that counts, but the fact that it’s the original. That part is now also possible on the blockchain.

Digital art is part of our modern culture, and really represents something about our current cultural time frame. Technology now allows us to address authenticity in digital art, which makes digital art in its current form a potentially great investment. The rise of blockchain technology and the concept of digital ownership has given birth to a new wave of artists embracing technology to its fullest.

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Also published on Medium.

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