kevin abosch on how blockchain technology is reshaping the art world at NFT ART DAY ZRH

kevin abosch on how blockchain technology is reshaping the art world at NFT ART DAY ZRH

NFT ART DAY ZRH’s inaugural edition


The inaugural edition of NFT ART DAY ZRH, the first annual NFT and metaverse conference in Switzerland, took place last Sunday, June 12, at the Auditorium of the Kunsthaus Zürich. During an insightful afternoon of talks, leading figures from the field of digital arts and the art market explored different topics related to NFTs within the wider realm of the history of digital art. One of the topics of the conference, titled ‘On NFTs and the Value of Art’ and moderated by Anika Meier, brought together internationally acclaimed artists and professionals, including Kevin Abosch, Georg Bak, Sarah Friend (joining virtually), and Leander Herzog, who discussed NFTs as an art form, ranging from conceptual, photography, and sculptural NFT artworks.


As media partner of NFT ART DAY ZRH, designboom brings you selected interviews and news from the conference’s inaugural edition. Following our interview with the conference’s co-founders, Katharina De Vaivre and Georg Bak, we caught up with conceptual crypto-artist Kevin Abosch to discuss how blockchain technology is changing the art world. The CryptoArt pioneer has been working with the blockchain as a method since 2013 posing ontological questions and responding to sociological dilemmas. Abosch’s work has been exhibited throughout the world, often in civic spaces, including The Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, The National Museum of China, The National Gallery of Ireland, Jeu de Paume ( Paris), The Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina, The Bogotá Museum of Modern Art and the Zentrum für Kunst und Medien (ZKM). Read our conversation with the artist in full below.


kevin abosch on how blockchain technology is reshaping the art world at NFT ART DAY ZRH
all images courtesy of NFT ART DAY ZRH, photos © Shkelzen Konxheli, unless stated otherwise

header image: Sun Signals (2021) by Kevin Abosch



INTERVIEW WITH kevin abosch 


designboom (DB): what is the focus of your NFT ART DAY ZRH talk and what do you hope visitors will take away from the conference?


Kevin Abosch (KA): As much of my work as an artist challenges conventional notions of value, so too has the emergence of blockchain tech and NFTs. I look forward to comparing notes and sharing some of my own findings.


DB: what attracted your interest in crypto art and when did you first start working with it?


KA: I first started using the blockchain as a method in my work in late 2012. I have a fondness for alphanumerics and the idea of generating these magical strings of letters and numbers that were stores of value sent me down a hole of exploration. Ten years later and I still find new ways to engage with blockchain technology itself not just as a carrier or delivery system but as a method in my practice.

kevin abosch on how blockchain technology is reshaping the art world at NFT ART DAY ZRH
Kevin Abosch at NFT ART DAY ZRH



DB: why do you think artists and collectors are moving towards NFTs? do you see any negative aspects?


KA: For decades artists working natively in the digital realm and their collectors found friction in the process of transferring the works from one custodial entity to another. NFTs have brought an elegance to the process of changing custody of a digital work. Some seem upset by what could be characterised as an enormous decentralised gambling game that has people trading or betting on NFTs, in the hopes of profiting from market dynamics. They go further to describe ‘pump and dump’ scenarios and other forms of market manipulation, but I would say this is nothing new to the art world — But with blockchain tech and crypto, it’s all been amplified.


DB: do you believe there is some kind of limit to the way humans can connect to crypto art, as opposed to ‘real-world art’, or art that is capable of being perceived by more senses besides eyesight and hearing? 


KA: Art is art and I neither compare photographs to paintings nor virtual to physical. 


DB: do you feel NFT art is something that came to stay or is it just a trend of the era?


KA: I don’t think ‘NFT art’ is a thing. NFTs are just a delivery system and that’s it. People will find novel ways to build around the node we call an NFT. Ultimately, we will probably drop the acronym altogether.

kevin abosch on how blockchain technology is reshaping the art world at NFT ART DAY ZRH
Sun Signals (2021) by Kevin Abosch is comprised of 1010 NFT works, informed by analysing sun cycles and solar radiation on Earth and training on this data with deep-learning algorithms



DB: what’s your opinion about the metaverse and its impact on the NFT market?


KA: The metaverse benefited greatly from the COVID pandemic. Its evolution was accelerated by five years. It’ll be interesting to see how it will progress as people are no longer bound to their homes. NFTs connected to virtual assets in the multi-verse should continue to see popularity as well as in gaming. I’m only interested in this insofar as the platforms, the NFTs and the experience can be understood as art in its entirety.

kevin abosch on how blockchain technology is reshaping the art world at NFT ART DAY ZRH
Sun Signals by Kevin Abosch #0921, listed on OpenSea

kevin abosch on how blockchain technology is reshaping the art world at NFT ART DAY ZRH


project info:


conference name: NFT ART DAY ZRH

location: Auditorium Kunsthaus Zürich

date: 12 June 2022

participants: Kevin Abosch, Refik Anadol, Georg Bak, Erick Calderon, Primavera De Filippi, Alex Estorick, Patrick Foret, Sarah Friend, Jonathan Ledgard, Anika Meier, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Penny Rafferty, Markus Reindl, Margit Rosen, Laurent Sauveur, Kenny Schachter, Paul Seidler



NFT ART DAY ZRH is a collaboration between E.A.T. / Engadin Art Talks and Tokengate. It aims to spotlight crypto art within the wider realm of the history of digital art, whilst building bridges with the art world. NFT ART DAY ZRH envisions a series of conferences and other gatherings that focuses on the relationship between art and NFTs, through the innovation of blockchain technology, historical digital art since 1950s, its market performance, and other components of this complex ecosystem.

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