Since a 5,000-image digital file was sold at Christie’s for $ 69.35 million, NFT (non-fungible token) technology has interested the art market, which sees it as a way to certify digital works. Interview with Mulhouse artist Hao Jingfang.
Chinese artist Hao Jingfang works in duo in Mulhouse with Wang Lingjie. After obtaining their engineering education in industrial design at Shanghai Maritime University, they decided to move towards plastics and continue their studies in France. In 2008, they joined the École Supérieure d’Art de Lorraine.
Could you present the work NFT One and seven billion moonscreated with Wang Lingjie?
This work looks a little naive now, but I still love it. It is a work created as we had relatively little knowledge of NFT. Now I have a different understanding of it. The starting point at the time was precisely to question this question of uniqueness. If you are painting a picture in the real world, there is no way to copy it perfectly: the paint and the temperature are not identical. It can only be two different paintings in the physical sense, while a digital image or video can be copied indefinitely. I was very skeptical of the uniqueness of this type of work.
The philosopher Walter Benjamin believes that the aura of works of art gradually disappears during their process of technical reproduction. However, the essence of digital works is only made of 0s and 1s … An infinite copy will always produce exactly the same image without any pixel change. How can we say in this case that a work linked to an NFT is unique? So we created this work with the title One and seven billion moons. Seven billion represents the human population on earth. We draw a moon in the virtual world, then we copy it seven billion times so everyone can get one. If we assume that the aura of the original work exists, since the codes are the same, the aura of all its copies is exactly the same. If it is a work of art, then now we can share a work of art without loss of aura.
Unfortunately, I have since realized that the cryptocurrency market is deliberately maintaining the scarcity of works linked to NFTs, in order to make money.
NFT does not seem to be accepted by contemporary art circles. As an active artist in this medium, what do you think of this new art form?
Because it is necessary to immerse oneself in the virtual world for a long time to understand NFT deeply, most people in the contemporary art circle do not understand it very well. One cannot judge the universe of encrypted art by those that apply to the world of contemporary art.
What future do you envision for NFTs in art?
If we really want to combine art and digital, then we need to integrate technologies as they evolve. Whether NFTs can represent a new stream depends on their spread. I think there is hope, but we still need to find a good connection between art and this encryption technology.