Pieces of Me
Transfer Gallery x left gallery
Apr 1, 2021 - ∞

I am showing work online in Pieces of Me, “an exhibition of offerings to the aggregate hype of the emerging global NFT marketplace.”

The work is File, a tokenized work that Nora N. Khan commissioned for left gallery in 2016. At that time the concept of tethering art to a blockchain wasn't known by its acronym and so the questions prompted by the technology were better able to surface. Rather than questions about the acronym and what the acronym purported to signify, they were basic questions about ownership and value, which haven’t changed except for how they manifest on the back end.

In the File I cautiously circle around and poke at the idea that a person would want to own something of mine, in a manner that is permanent, which imparts a finality to our relation. File begins to spell out a lexicon to address this finality, and lands on a notion of a "contingency reserve" that essentially says: my work is me, and you can buy a piece of my work, but my work is tethered to me.

I continue to update this work, sometimes by making new works, and each update is an act of deferral of “ownership”. The File continues to be available on left gallery as a tokenized artwork, but I’m also giving it away in Pieces of Me, knowing that no one will fully own it.

Installed in the show is an interactive preview of the File that redirects the user elsewhere.

Update on 5/29/2021: Wade Wallerstein and I recorded this File demo for an episode of NFTV!

Apart from this, Transfer Gallery and left gallery seem to have developed a genuinely equitable infrastructure for tokenizing artworks, with an emphasis on artist rights and ownership (over desperation and excess). Read Harm’s take on NFTs and sustainability.