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02.11.22



 

EDITOR'S NOTE 

This latest edition of Jing Culture & Crypto is heavy with one thing: collaborations. For brands and individuals hoping to engage with NFTs or leverage the enlarged profile of NFTs, partnering with an established digital creator has become de rigueur as a way to unlock and gain traction with a vibrant community of buyers and enthusiasts. The way into the metaverse, it seems, takes a team. Keep reading for how the likes of Gucci, Mercedes-Benz, and Unit London are doing it.  

If you have a NFT-related tip to share, reach out for potential coverage in our upcoming issues.

THE BIG STORY


What's fueling the NFT art conversation

Image: Courtesy of Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana (Milan) and Cinello (Framed)

UNIT LONDON LAUNCHES NFT EXHIBITION SHOWCASING RENAISSANCE WORKS FROM FOUR ITALIAN MUSEUMS

WHAT HAPPENED: From February 16 to March 19, Unit London will present Eternalising Art History, an exhibition of six Italian masterworks by the likes of da Vinci, Caravaggio, and Modigliani — in digital form. Termed digital art works (DAW), these virtual pieces are minted on the blockchain, certified by a patented digital encryption system, and come accompanied by a screen and handcrafted frame for display purposes. 

The technology is that of exhibition partner Cinello, the digital art platform that also sourced the world-class works from four Italian institutions, namely the Uffizi Gallery, Pinacoteca di Brera, the Ambrosian Library, and Parma’s Complesso Monumentale della Pilotta di Parma. The digital paintings, each available in a limited edition of nine, are marked for sale, with 50 percent of the net revenue set to go to the museums’ conservation efforts, according to the London gallery.

WHY IT MATTERS:  As Unit London’s co-founder Joe Kennedy told Jing Culture & Commerce, DAW or NFT technology is enabling institutions to extend their storytelling beyond the confines of their galleries. But more so, these digital editions are emerging as a revenue stream for cultural organizations — in particular, Uffizi, which saw its visitorship dip from 4.4 million in 2019 to 1.2 million in 2020, previously worked with Cinello to sell a clutch of Michaelangelo, Botticelli, Titian works.

Unlike your standard NFTs, Cinello’s DAWs are packaged with a display screen and a frame (a painstaking replica of the original), which might slightly alter the view of them as simply digital assets and in turn, appeal to both emerging and existing buyers. 

 
NFTS FOR EVERYONE



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Enter Voice, a marketplace that makes NFTs accessible. Voice is carbon-neutral, free to mint, and easy to buy, allowing for credit card payments. This ease of use means the number of people entering the space can expand dramatically, benefitting both creators and collectors alike. Voice is also headed to a multichain future, where users can take NFTs onto other platforms as well.

NFTs are only just getting started. Be a part of taking this incredible technology mainstream by signing up for Voice today.

 
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NFT DROP OF THE WEEK


The release shaking up NFT art commerce

Image: @muratpak on Twitter

ARTWORK: Censored by Pak and Julian Assange

THE LAUNCH:
 On February 7, notably the same day that Julian Assange filed an appeal to the UK Supreme High Court to fight his extradition to the US, Censored was released on OpenSea in two parts over a 48-hour sale.

The first is a single-edition NFT entitled "Clock," a text-based timer logging the number of days Assange has been detained; and the second part featured dynamic open-edition NFTs, wherein buyers were invited to submit a unique message that will be blacked-out and tokenized, after which they could pay whatever they wanted for the NFT. Proceeds from the sale are earmarked for the Wau Holland Foundation, which supports Assange’s legal defense, and other organizations dedicated to information freedom.

THE RECEPTION: As expected when an in-demand digital artist and polarizing figure collide, "Clock" was acquired by the decentralized autonomous organization AssangeDAO for an astounding 16,593ETH ($52.85 million). The sale also saw 29,765 open edition NFTs minted, for which collectors paid a total of 670ETH ($2.08 million).

WHY IT MATTERS: That Pak opted to follow up their record-breaking Merge sale with a project of deep political and social resonance — and in turn throwing their weight behind Assange’s cause — bespeaks their view of the value of digital art. Or as they put it plainly to artnet, “Why would it be valuable if it’s not intriguing?” Notably too, like Merge before it, Censored activates the wider NFT community (so they too can get "censored") for a crowdsourced collection.

This collaborative release also echoes that of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht’s sale of a NFT collection that fetched some $6 million to contribute to his own freedom efforts. While not comparing the causes of Ulbricht and Assange, such projects have proven effective in riding the NFT wave to raise funds, awareness, and support. The pay-what-you-want framework ensures increased participation, while the involvement of a top-selling digital artist certainly doesn’t hurt either.  

THE WEEK'S TOP SELLING NFTS

In partnership with  

For the week ending 2/10. Source: Cryptoslam
WHAT'S TRENDING

Image: SUPERGUCCI
SUPERPLASTIC: SUPERGUCCI
On February 1, Gucci and entertainment company SUPERPLASTIC debuted their collaborative NFT project, a three-part series of “ultra-limited” collectibles. The 500 NFTs feature SUPERPLASTIC’s SuperJanky character clad in the luxury house’s Aria motif, with each purchase accompanied by a handmade sculpture. Fueled by exclusivity (and excitement across Twitter and Discord), the buyer pool naturally remains small, though as of February 8, the collectibles boast an average sale price of 12.818ETH, with the collection sitting ranking on OpenSea's top 20 best-selling collections.

What’s also interesting here is Gucci’s choice of collaborator: SUPERPLASTIC has been behind hype-powered collections like Janky and HEADTRIPZ (and an upcoming collaboration with Bored Ape Yacht Club), and can claim a fanbase of NFT enthusiasts. Teaming up with such a high-profile NFT player makes sense for a brand keen to establish itself in the virtual realm: in 2021 alone, Gucci partnered with Roblox to produce virtual purses and auctioned off its Aria fashion film as an NFT with a starting price of $20,000, making it one of the most expensive Gucci products ever.
THE INNOVATIVE WAY TO MINT
Created by creators for creators, CXIP is an eco-friendly and standardized NFT minting solution that promises true provenance, identity, and security. The software mints NFTs with unbreakable URLs, permanently stores NFT metadata via IPFS + Arweave technology, and requires each NFT to be signed or authenticated by its artist. Provenance chains are tracked to flag counterfeits, and additional copyright registration with the US Copyright Office is offered. Its PA1D smart contract further allows creators minting with CXIP to collect royalties across marketplaces. LEARN MORE
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IN THE HEADLINES

Image: Nifty Gateway
ART2PEOPLE X MERCEDES-BENZ
Mercedes-Benz has tapped five digital artists from the ART2PEOPLE collective to create an exclusive NFT collection based on the automaker’s G-Class range. Termed NF-Gs, these collectibles have been designed by Charlotte Taylor x Anthony Authie, Roger Kilimanjaro, Baugasm, Klarens Malluta, and Antoni Tudisco.
NFTS ARRIVE ON TWITTER
On January 20, Twitter’s premium subscription service Twitter Blue rolled out a new feature that allows users to set a NFT as their profile picture, which is displayed in a hexa-shaped frame and linked to a crypto wallet. It marks the earliest move by a social media platform (sorry, Meta) to engage with the NFT sphere.

NFT MEETS FAST FASHION
Over the past month, fast fashion giants H&M and Gap have entered the virtual fashion realm: the former launching a digital collection with DressX, alongside a global competition; and the latter unveiling Gap Threads, an “interactive digital collectible experience” inaugurated by a collaboration with artist Frank Ape.

Image: Sefridges
SELFRIDGES X PACO RABANNE X FONDATION VASARELY
Running at Selfridges London until March 31, the Universe exhibition showcases 55 works by Victor Vasarely alongside Paco Rabanne’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection, which was inspired by the op-art master's aesthetic. Attendees can purchase some of the artist’s works and the luxury brand’s goods, but also, corresponding NFTs.

TARANTINO NFT COLLECTION
Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has proceeded with the release of his NFT collection, built on the Secret Network blockchain and including the original screenplay for Pulp Fiction, despite an outstanding copyright infringement complaint brought by film studio Miramax. The outcome of the lawsuit though is bound to set a precedent for IP rights as they apply to NFTs. 


ADIDAS FOR PRADA RE-SOURCE
Hot off its well-received NFT debut, adidas Originals teamed up with Prada for a project that invites the public to contribute to a large-scale digital work inspired by the brands’ collaborative Re-Nylon collection. Proceeds from the January 28 auction of the final work were split between the participants, artist Zach Lieberman, who contributed 3,000 tiles, and non-profit Slow Factory.

EVENT SPOTLIGHT


Upcoming NFT events to watch

SATELLITE | MARCH 9 - APRIL 3 | SYDNEY
Billed as the first major NFT art exhibition in Sydney, Satellite will take over Bondi Beach for an immersive showcase featuring 40 crypto artworks from leading local and international artists. LEARN MORE
NON-FUNGIBLE CONFERENCE | APRIL 4 - 5 | LISBON
This event will activate the global NFT community for two days’ worth of talks, workshops, and experiences covering topics ranging from art to gaming. Digital pioneers Kevin Abosch, Obvious, and Mario Klingemann are set to feature. LEARN MORE

PERMISSIONLESS | MAY 17 - 19 | FLORIDA
Blockworks’ DeFi event gathers artists, developers, and industry experts, including representatives from Polygon, Axie Infinity, and Coinbase for a diverse conference exploring NFTs, the metaverse, gaming, and the future of finance. LEARN MORE

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ON OUR RADAR


What's on the NFT horizon

Image: Coachella NFT
COACHELLA KEY COLLECTION
Music festival Coachella has emerged with its own collectibles platform featuring mints of festival photos and iconic posters. More intriguing is the Coachella Keys Collection: 10 NFTs which grant their buyers lifetime access (plus other perks) to the wildly popular festival, representing a fresh NFT use case for the music industry and beyond. 
SOCIAL PLATFORMS MAP NFT PLAYS
On the heels of Twitter, other social media players are looking to embrace NFTs: Meta, of course, is laying the groundwork for a NFT platform, while YouTube is planning to “help creators capitalize on emerging technologies, including things like NFTs.” 
BYTEDANCE’S PARTY ISLAND
Meanwhile, in China, tech companies continue to push into the metaverse, with Bytedance recently launching its metaverse social app, Party Island. It bears out the fast-rising popularity of NFTs and the metaverse in China — a growth that’s outstripping the government’s attempts to regulate the space.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT


Catch up on Jing's NFT coverage

Alipay And 24 Chinese Museums Drop Chinese New Year-Themed NFTs
Featured as part of Alipay's annual Spring Festival campaign are 3D digital collectibles of tiger-related cultural artifacts.

For Its NFT Debut, The Belvedere Museum Is Fractionalizing A Klimt
A collaboration with artèQ, the Klimt NFTs drop on Valentine's Day, with proceeds set to support the museum's mission.

Why Collaboration in the Metaverse Could Define Luxury Marketing in 2022
There aren’t many examples of luxury brands being proverbial phoenixes, but Gucci has most new luxury attributes to make it back big this year.
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