With many museums and commercial galleries still closed, art fairs cancelled or postponed and auctions almost all being conducted online, Talking Sustainability: Digitization for the Art Market will look at the trends — especially digitization and online selling — being accelerated by the pandemic.

Until this year the digital space was largely treated as an afterthought by the art world. But the cultural sector has had to act rapidly to try and transform events and exhibitions into digital experiences. Meanwhile, digital-first artists, whose works are specifically designed to be experienced online, have finally come into their own.

But most people argue that online exhibitions in their current state leave a lot to be desired. Can art be presented and curated online to create enjoyable experiences that complement or even substitute for visits to museums, galleries and art fairs? Can fairs and galleries truly embrace the potential of the online realm to promote arts and culture to wider audiences?

The session will be moderated by tech entrepreneur and author Dinis Guarda, Founder and CEO of Ztudium, a blockchain, software, data research and artificial intelligence company.

The session will start with a discussion with Thaddaeus Ropac, Founder, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, one of the world’s leading galleries with five spaces across three cities, Salzburg, Paris and London. The gallery represents more than 60 artists and a number of renowned artists’ estates, and shows at major international art fairs. He will talk about the challenge facing galleries in translating art and exhibitions from the real to the digital world, including his gallery’s recent 360-degree online tour of its Daniel Richter exhibition. He will also talk about the gallery’s Instagram Live “Tea with Julia” series and its lockdown “From the Studio” newsletters.

Kamiar Maleki is a collector, patron and philanthropist and the Director of the Volta art fairs. He has developed a significant interest in emerging artists and is a founding member of the ICA’s Young Patrons group. He will talk about Virtual Volta, which he describes as “a curated online art gallery” promoted across Volta’s website, social media and newsletters.

Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani are well-known collectors, Co-Founders of the Samdani Art Foundation, the Dhaka Art Summit and a new publicly-accessible sculpture park, the Srihatta-Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park, in Bangladesh. They are on the boards of a number of major museums, to which they regularly lend works, and are the only South Asian art patrons to receive the prestigious Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award. They will discuss how far digitization can compensate for a lack of real-world experiences. Can online platforms give Bangladeshi and South Asian artists — whose profiles they have been credited for raising—international exposure if events like the Dhaka Art Summit are curtailed because of the coronavirus?

Sophie Neuendorf is Vice-President, Strategic Partnerships at Artnet, one of earliest successful digital art businesses, with a history stretching back 30 years. Artnet provides online auctions, its Gallery Network, a sales and promotion platform for art galleries — a model subsequently copied by others, most recently Sotheby’s—as well as data and marketing tools. She will discuss ways of developing online selling, building trust and providing relevant information to help galleries build their business and take the art world forward.

Ai-Da is a robot that creates artworks and poetry. Ai-Da’s creators describe her as “the world’s first ultra-realistic AI robot artist” adding “her artist persona is the artwork, along with her drawings, performance art and collaborative paintings and sculptures”, positing the robot itself as a work of art. She is named after the Victorian mathematician Ada Lovelace, often described as a “prophet of the computer age”. Ai-Da will “discuss” the types of work she does and why she “likes” doing them.

Art + Fintech 2.0 will hold a Pop-Up Music & Art Festival as a closing party, in collaboration with DAO Records and NIFTIES at the Cryptovoxels Sugar Club. The audience will be able to enter this virtual “world” in the form of avatars, so they can explore the space. Afro-beat, hip-hop artist Napoleon Da Legend and Africa's foremost “cryptoartist” Osinachi have created limited edition audio non-fungible tokens (NFTs)—minted by Mintbase—specially for the event. The audience will be guided through the space and will be given assistance to buy the audio NFTs. These will be available in the cryptocurrency Ether, which can be converted to US dollars for those wishing to use a credit card. All proceeds will go back to the artists and DAO Records.
  • 14:00-15:30 UTC I Panel Discussion I Crisis VS Opportunity: Is Digitization the Answer to a Sustainable Art Ecosystem?
  • 15:30-15:45 UTC I Live from Nifties VR Studio in Los Angeles
  • 15:45-16:15 UTC I Pop Up Music & Art Festival in Cryptovoxels
  • 1590597458-6c5de8d50070eb70
    Sophie Neuendorf
    VP Strategic Partnerships Artnet
    New York, USA
  • 1592092954-8240838e735a1e09
    Thaddaeus Ropac
    Founder Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
    Salzburg, Austria
  • 1592092917-0fbd122298b14f62
    Kamiar Maleki
    Collector, Patron & Philanthropist
    London, UK
  • 1592092890-8799f4b4c8f42a23
    Robot Artist
    London, UK
  • 1592093132-bc5948a7ba1d730e
    Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani
    Co-Founders Samdani Art Foundation & Dhaka Art Summit
    Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • 1592093560-1c2271f832b1574b
    Dinis Guarda
    Founder & CEO Ztudium
    London, UK