BCA Network SUN Bohan: On NFT Art & Decentralization
As blockchain technologies, crypto art, and NFTs play a pivotal role in the explosion of the digital art marketplace, the very notion of digital art is reshaped continuously and updated to encompass new forms of artistic creations elaborated by contemporary artists. The Parkview Museum is honored to invite Sun Bohan, founder & CEO of BCA (BlockCreateArt), curator and producer of the world’s first major institutional crypto art exhibition, Virtual Niche — Have You Ever Seen Memes in the Mirror? , to initiate a dialogue on crypto art and the conception of decentralization.
1.When did you start getting involved in digital art? Within the framework of digital art, what are the subject matters you are most interested in?
My interest in digital art started when I was very young, and it might have been generated by the influence of the environment I grew up in. The speed with which the human brain receives new inputs is connected to the environment, history, and personal experience. In the 1990s, the channels of information sharing and receiving, the thinking approach, and the behavioral patterns were undoubtedly influenced by the internet’s spreading. Therefore, we grew up differently from the previous generation, who grew up in a non-digital age. Technological development bestows the art industry with more nourishment and with innovative sources of inspiration. Digital art is not limited to the use of different materials and expressive forms. The new creative dimension generated by the combination between art and technology provides unlimited expressive possibilities.
I don’t have any specific subject matters I am particularly interested in. The large variety of artistic themes, the possibility of choosing specific subject matters, or the chance to select no themes at all are all established elements within the realm of contemporary art. I am more interested in how these subject matters are interpreted, in the breakthroughs and the innovations at a technical level. Without a doubt, the spread of digital technology and the internet age determined the emergence of a series of new subject matters which initially were not addressed or were discussed in a limited way, just by using traditional media.
Christiane Paul, “Digital Art”, 2003
In the book “Digital Art,” Christiane Paul indicates some of the main topics of digital art, including artificial life; artificial intelligence; telepresence and telerobotics; body and identity; database aesthetics and data visualization; narrative environment; gaming; tactical media, activism, and hacktivism; technologies of the future; redefining public space; augmented reality and mixed reality; social media and the Web 2.0 era. These are fascinating topics that enable us to rethink life in the real world.
2.As curator of the show, could you share with us your thoughts about the core concept of the Crypto Art exhibition? Could you also talk about the strategies in selecting the artworks?
I considered this exhibition as an artwork, and I tried to pursue breakthroughs starting from the existing environment. The exhibition’s theme was very innovative, not only in Beijing but also at a global level. In fact, this was the very first exhibition revolving around crypto art. The exhibition “Virtual Niche” comprises two parts, respectively identified with red and blue light.
Poster of the world’s first major institutional crypto art exhibition — Virtual Niche — Have You Ever Seen Memes in the Mirror?
The artworks in the red-light section display the most essential characteristic of crypto art, which lies in the fact that it originates from the representation of reality through Meme. These visual images, characterized by the Meme element, represent the starting point of crypto art: these works display a primordial character and the specific expressive language of blockchain and crypto art. Combined with fashionable elements, these innovative works bring the viewers a strong visual impact. Many of the participant artists are involved in blockchain technology. Therefore, their works provide a sound theoretical base and a high value in terms of collection to the whole exhibition.
Exhibition lighting in red & blue effects
Designed by Niko Edwards
The works in the blue-light section belong to a new artistic category and explore how artists of this era carry out conceptual artistic creations taking blockchain as a theme and using blockchain technology. The works of this section, characterized by a contemporary and social character, represent a reflection of real-life and social philosophy. They have aesthetic value while establishing a dialogue with the future dimension in terms of digital art development and perspectives.
With this exhibition, I hope to raise awareness among the public about crypto art, present interesting and beautiful crypto artworks, and provide art connoisseurs and crypto art lovers, as well as the public, with a conceptual framework to deeply understand crypto art. In the process of selecting the works for the red-light section of the show, we chose representative works and milestones of the crypto art, including Beeple’s “Everydays — The First 5000 Days”, “First Supper” (the first programmed crypto artwork), and Robert Alice’s “Portraits of a Mind.” In the blue-light section, many works represented a starting point to reflect upon crypto art and the future tendencies of digital art, including interactivity, artificial intelligence, new artworks created on blockchain technology like Liu Jiaying’s “Red and Blue.”
3.What do you think about the relationship between the concept of decentralization and art?
The notion of Decentralization and Centralization can be associated respectively with the concepts of separation of power and centralization of power. Decentralization means that every individual potentially can become the center while influencing and connecting to the other points. This concept implies a structure based on a flat, open-source, and egalitarian system. The relationship between art and decentralization can be analyzed from different points of view: contemporary art nowadays is characterized by an anti-elitist approach (think about street art).
Simon Denny, Centralization vs Decentralization hardware display: DELL/Bitcoin/GoL The Haunted Mansion, 2018
With the growing impact of movements for equal rights and post-colonial theories, artists from different ethnic groups emerged, determining crucial transformations in the concept of exhibitions, both in terms of selection of curatorial team and artists and in terms of selection of subject matters and themes: international exhibitions, one after another, started to shift their focus on the art of the third world. In line with this logic, decentralization is a movement of real globalization that provides the artists with new sources of creativity while accelerating the democratization of art, both in terms of creation and collection. This means that everybody potentially can become an artist and that designers, architects, and AI programmers can have the chance for their voices to be heard within the realm of the art market.
In the field of crypto art, the concept of a new right to speak and common knowledge is now being reshaped: many artists, who would not be able to be noticed within the traditional artistic environment, are getting known within the realm of crypto art.
4.Could you share with us your thoughts about the future of crypto art?
Crypto art is a new phenomenon not only in China but in the whole world. I am very pleased to notice that the development of crypto art is attracting the attention of many exponents of the traditional artistic arena. However, it still can be considered a new artistic direction. Therefore, it has a long way to go. In the coming 3 to 5 years, with the improvement of the basic infrastructure, the world of crypto art will be very different. BCA plays a vital role in this process: we aim to establish a comprehensive, efficient, and regulated environment for crypto art and NFT while improving the basic infrastructure of NFT and helping the development of the art industry.
Screenshots of MetaOpus’s website — an NFT platform under BCA (BlockCreateArt)
Moreover, in the future, the development of crypto art might be associated with the emergence of a system in line with the traditional art system, characterized by museums, exhibitions, curators, auction houses, and art fairs. So far, crypto art is not associated with a social mechanism based on market recognition, reputation, and value. Besides, from a juridical point of view, the copyright system of crypto art needs to be improved. The future value of crypto art might be achieved within the Metaverse, and BCA is concerned with this aspect.
Welcome to Cryptovoxels, a virtual world built on the Ethereum blockchain
We are looking forward to the arrival of Metaverse, as it might be the most crucial practical scenario for the future of the NFT art collection, and it might change the current interactive relationship between collectors and artists. With the fast development of crypto art and the NFT art collection, an increasing number of users will develop the need to have a platform to present their NFT collection: Cryptovexels started developing products to meet the market’s needs, and at the same time, it also fulfills the users demand in terms of collecting and presenting artworks. On CV, it is possible to present the collected NFT in a virtual world: it is possible to show the personal NFT collection online in 3D and to participate in online auctions.
5.Could you talk about your future projects?
Lately, through the collaboration between BCA and the independent art space IASC, we launched the exhibition project titled “Superimposition of the experience: a study of Beijing’s independent art spaces.” This project, inspired by an innovative approach, is carried out by BCA to expand the boundaries of blockchain art and help traditional artists get into the virtual world of Metaverse. The reason why the focal point of the exhibition is the notion of independent art space is connected to the perspective from which the art industry workers look at their occupation: independent art spaces are structures that are independent of museums, galleries, and art districts, and they are more focused on the current reality of art and society. They play a pivotal role in guaranteeing the balance of the overall art environment.
BCA x IASC “Superposition of Experience — Independent Art Space Chain of Beijing” First Online Exhibition on Cryptovoxels
Moreover, these alternative spaces, characterized by a popular base and a self-managed system, represent a reaction against the tendency of power centralization within the logic of artistic framework. This confrontational approach, in a certain sense, is ideally in line with the spirit of blockchain. If you are interested, you are welcome to visit our BCA exhibition space.
“Superposition of Experience —
Independent Art Space Chain of Beijing”
For more information:
Screenshots of “Superposition of Experience —
Independent Art Space Chain of Beijing” Online Exhibition
We are also planning an offline Blockchain Art Center, which is expected to be officially opened in September. Please stay tuned…
About the Interviewee：SUN Bohan
Curator and producer of the world’s first major institutional crypto art exhibition, Virtual Niche. Initiator of Art-tech public education project — CRYPTOULTRA NFT forum. Early blockchain investor, crypto art collector, and Art-tech pioneer. Graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), with his own artworks collected by CAFA Museum. Reported by CGTN, ChinaNews, artnet, BAZAAR ART, Art Ifeng, GQ, etc. Now engaged in promoting crypto art by building a completely efficient and standardized NFT ecosystem.