2 2 96-110 2016

Contemporary art, capitalization and the blockchain: On the autonomy and automation of art’s value

Laura Lotti

Abstract


This article addresses contemporary art as a means to investigate how, and to what extent, financial logic impacts upon the socio-cultural sphere. Its contribution is twofold: on the one hand, the article shows that contemporary art’s valuation practices increasingly reflect the logic of capitalization; on the other hand, it assesses the emancipatory potential of blockchain technology for the cultural sphere. In relation to the latter I argue that, in spite of the technological novelty of blockchain-based art projects, these nonetheless fail to challenge a received logic of finance. This exposes the limitations to technological determinism as a means of countering financial power in the socio-cultural sphere, and points to new problems for art’s valuation methods in relation to the liquid logic of algorithmic finance.

Keywords


Contemporary art, valuation, capitalization, computation, blockchain

Full Text:

PDF HTML

References


Akkermans, A. (2016) Hints of the real world in Art Basel’s elitist bubble. Hyperallergic, 22 June. Available at: . Accessed 23 June 2016.

Altman, A. (2015) Buy, sell, hang on your wall. Bloomberg [Online], 12 November. Available at: . Accessed 26 July 2016.

Amato, M. and Fantacci, L. (2011) The End of Finance. Cambridge: Polity.

Antonopoulos, A.M. (2014) Mastering Bitcoin. Sebastopol: O’Reilly Media.

ArtRank (n.d.) FAQ: ArtRank. Available at: . Accessed 8 April 2014.

Artsy (n.d.) About: Artsy. Available at: . Accessed 24 March 2016.

Batycka, D. (2016) The 9th Berlin Biennale: A vast obsolescent pageant of irrelevance. Hyperallergic, 24 June. Available at: . Accessed 26 June 2016.

Bazzichelli, T. (2006) Networking Art: The Net as Artwork. Aarhus: Digital Aesthetics Research Center.

Bazzichelli, T. and Cox, G. (eds.) (2013) Disrupting Business: Art and Activism in Times of Financial Crisis. Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia.

Bernstein, J. (2016) The art of secrecy. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 7 April. Available at: . Accessed 21 April 2016.

Bessy, C. and Chauvin, P.-M. (2013) The power of market intermediaries: From information to valuation processes. Valuation Studies, 1(1): 83-117.

Bjerg, O. (2016) How is Bitcoin money? Theory, Culture & Society, 33(1): 53-72.

Bollier, D. (2015) The blockchain: A promising new infrastructure for online commons. David Bollier: News and Perspectives on the Commons, 4 March. Available at: . Accessed 1 October 2015.

Bryan, D. and Rafferty, M. (2010) A time and a place for everything: Foundations of commodity money. In: Amato, M., Doria, L. and Fantacci, L. (eds.) Money and Calculation: Economic and Sociological Perspectives. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 101-21.

Bryan, D. and Rafferty, M. (2006) Capitalism with Derivatives: A Political Economy of Financial Derivatives, Capital and Class. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

Buterin, V. (2014) DAOs, DACs, DAs and more: An incomplete terminology guide. Ethereum Blog, 6 May. Available at: . Accessed 1 February 2016.

Cascone, S. (2016) Panama papers reveal Ganz Collection secret. Artnet News, 8 April. Available at: . Accessed 11 June 2016.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (2015) CFTC orders Bitcoin options trading platform operator and its CEO to cease illegally offering Bitcoin options and to cease operating a facility for trading or processing of swaps without registering. CFTC [Online], 17 September. Available at: . Accessed 25 September 2015.

Constine, J. (2014) Monegraph uses Bitcoin tech so internet artists can establish ‘original’ copies of their work. TechCrunch [Online], 9 May. Available at: . Accessed 20 December 2015.

Cooper, M. and Konings, M. (2015) Contingency and foundation: Rethinking money, debt, and finance after the crisis. South Atlantic Quarterly, 114(2): 239-50.

Croggon, A. (2016) The 70% drop in Australia Council grants for individual artists is staggering. The Guardian, 18 May. Available at: . Accessed 28 May 2015.

Dash, A. (2014) A Bitcoin for digital art. The Message, 9 May. Available at: . Accessed 26 April 2015.

Deloitte and ArtTactics (2014) Art and Finance Report 2014. Available at: . Accessed 19 November 2015.

Dunn, C. (2016) Dirty little secrets: Inside the ‘Wikileaks’ of the ultra-rich and ultra-powerful. Fusion. Available at: . Accessed 14 April 2016.

Farago, J. (2016) Welcome to the LOLhouse: How Berlin’s Biennale became a slick, sarcastic joke. The Guardian, 14 June. Available at: . Accessed 26 July 2016.

Farago, J. (2012) Artsy and the myth of the online art market. New Republic, 22 October. Available at: . Accessed 24 March 2016.

Foucault, M. (2008) The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978–1979, trans. G. Burchell. New York, NY: Palgrave.

Goldstein, A. M. (2015) ArtRank founder Carlos Rivera on why he’s leading the Flipper Revolution—and why it can’t be stopped. Artspace, 11 June. Available at: . Accessed 26 July 2016.

Hearn, M. (2016) The resolution of the Bitcoin experiment. Medium, 14 January. Available at: . Accessed 15 January 2016.

Heidenreich, S. (2016) Freeportism as style and ideology: Post-internet and speculative realism, Part I. e-flux, March. Available at: . Accessed 3 May 2016.

ICIJ (2016) The Panama Papers. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, April. Available at: . Accessed 10 May 2016.

Ivanova, V. (2015) Art’s values: A détente, a grand plié. Parse, 2: 91-105.

Kinsella, E. (2016) What does TEFAF 2016 Art Market Report tell us about the global art trade? Artnet News, 9 March. Available at: . Accessed 12 March 2016.

Leising, M. and Robinson, E. (2015) Blythe Masters tells banks the blockchain changes everything. Bloomberg, 1 September. Available at: . Accessed 19 September 2015.

Lury, C., Parisi, L. and Terranova, T. (2012) Introduction: The becoming topological of culture. Theory, Culture & Society, 29(4/5): 3-35.

Malik, S. and Phillips, A. (2012) Tainted love: Art’s ethos and capitalization. In: Lind, M. and Velthuis, O. (eds.) Art and Its Commercial Markets: A Report on Current Changes and with Scenarios for the Future. Berlin: Sternberg Press, 209-40.

McAndrew, C. (2010). An introduction to art and finance. In: McAndrew, C. (ed.) Fine Art and High Finance: Expert Advice on the Economics of Ownership. E-book. New York, NY: Bloomberg Press.

Mirowski, P. (2014) Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste: How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown. London: Verso.

Monegraph (n.d.) NEW Inc. Available at: . Accessed 1 February 2016.

Morris, J.W. (2015). Curation by code: Infomediaries and the data mining of taste. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 18(4/5): 446-63.

Moss, C. (2013) Expanded internet art and the informational milieu. rhizome.org, 19 December. Available at: . Accessed 20 December 2013.

Nitzan, J. and Bichler, S. (2009) Capital as Power: A Study of Order and Creorder. London: Routledge.

Okhaos (n.d.) Plantoid. Available at: . Accessed 10 December 2015.

Piironen, P. and Virtanen, A. (2015) Democratizing the power of finance: A discussion about Robin Hood asset management cooperative with founder Akseli Virtanen. In: Lovink, G., Tkacz, N. and De Vries, P. (eds.) MoneyLab Reader: An Intervention in Digital Economy. Amsterdam: Institute of Networked Cultures.

Popper, N. (2016) The robots are coming for Wall Street. The New York Times, 25 February. Available at: . Accessed 21 March 2016.

Rizzo, P. (2015) CFTC defines Bitcoin and digital currencies as commodities. CoinDesk, 17 September. Available at: . Accessed 25 September 2015.

Roio, D. (2013) Bitcoin, the end of the taboo on money. Available at: . Accessed 30 April 2014.

Son, H. and Collins, M. (2016) The rich are already using robo-advisers, and that scares banks. Bloomberg.com [Online], 5 February. Available at: . Accessed 6 February 2016.

Sutton, B. and Voon, C. (2016) Panama Papers shed light on the shadowy art market. Hyperallergic, 12 April. Available at: . Accessed 14 April 2016.

Terranova, T. (2004) Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age. Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press.

Torque and Furtherfield (2016) Artists Re:Thinking the Blockchain. Available at: . Accessed 25 July 2016.

Troemel, B. (2013) Athletic aesthetics. The New Inquiry, 10 May. Available at: . Accessed 29 March 2016.

Troemel, B., Vierkant, A. and Vickers, B. (2012) Club kids: The social life of artists on Facebook. DIS Magazine. Available at: . Accessed 29 January 2014.

Velthuis, O. (2014) ArtRank and the flippers: Apocalypse now? Texte Zur Kunst, 96: 35-49.

Vidokle, A. (2010) Art without artists? e-flux, May. Available at: . Accessed 25 March 2014.

Vierkant, A. (2010) The image-object post-internet. Available at: . Accessed 17 January 2012.

Watts, R. (2016) Arts budget 2016 doesn’t hurt (much) but doesn’t heal. ArtsHub Australia, 3 May. Available at: . Accessed 2 June 2016.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.2218/finsoc.v2i2.1724

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.