PIG: (Art)Forum 2.0

Title
(Art)Forum 2.0

Team member names

S. Paul
Zollywood

Short summary of your improvement idea

As different mechanisms of self-published writing have entered the critical field (most notably with Letterboxd and Goodreads), there have been significant shifts in the role of the viewer in relation to perspectives, hierarchies, and legitimacy, and how meaning is constructed for individuals and publics. Our improvement would seek to leverage blockchain protocols to expand the self-published critical fields into NFT and contemporary art settings, creating research on how users interact with art and create meaning in each setting, and aiming to deliver the documentation of field testing of a mobile/web application with its own website and integration into Farcaster Frames.

Answers to the following questions. Please structure the body in explicit Q&A form.

  1. What is the existing target protocol you are hoping to improve or enhance? Eg: hand-washing, traffic system, connector standards, carbon trading.

We are interested in how the distribution of images of and writing about contemporary art affects their meaning and value, as well as looking at how people use mobile applications to interface with the art world. In contemporary art, See Saw is the dominant mobile application in the field — it is a barebones user infrastructure that functions as a registry of gallery shows, openings, and allows users to create maps of shows they are interested in seeing. In the NFT field, there are a number of platforms including Scatter, Opensea, Zora, and more, which are focused on minting and displaying collections, with little attention paid to critical practices and thoughts about why certain works are important.

We seek to improve the protocol of meaning-making in line with these artistic and cultural fields, hoping to reframe the rigor of certain NFT projects while also opening up spaces for dialogue in contemporary art which previously have only existed for short periods of time during Web 2.0 blog eras. This would be enacted through the creation of a user profile (wallet mechanism) that records reviews, rating (on a 5 star) basis, and logs works viewed, “want to see”, and “seen”, along with the creation of lists/canons — all of which would be recorded onto blockchain ledgers.

  1. What is the core idea or insight about potential improvement you want to pursue?

The core idea we are interested in is to reframe how meaning, and along with that value and legitimacy, are transferred in both contemporary art and NFT markets. By creating an infrastructure for criticism that is open, we seek to create a social protocol that opens up “the art world” to be defined by users. As such, the platform might not have the narrow scope of art magazines of the past strictly criticizing work at galleries or recognized institutions, but can also reach out into alternative art spaces, digital and/or NFT projects, and other projects on the fridges of other distribution mechanisms.

  1. What is your discovery methodology for investigating the current state of the target protocol? Eg: field observation, expert interviews, historical data analysis, failure event analysis

We plan on spending a significant amount of time in contemporary art galleries and museums (contemporary and broader i.e. The Met), doing ethnographic research on how individuals are interacting with art through both observations and interviews. We then plan on interviewing a number of actors in contemporary art including artists, curators, collectors, and workers. Branching off from there, we would then speak to contemporary artists who are involved in NFT/crypto projects and then bridge our ethnographic studies into a number of crypto communities including but not limited to Galerie Yeche Lange and the “Avant NFT” movement. Through field observation and expert interviews in these settings, we hope to create a rich data collection of how meaning and value are transferred and created in these various art economies.

Both team members in this project have also spent significant time in these fields working in the arts PR/communications apparatus, as well as in blockchain development roles, and have individuals who could be considered experts in the fields of blockchain projects and contemporary art to interview for insights.

  1. In what form will you prototype your improvement idea? Eg: Code, reference design implementation, draft proposal shared with experts for feedback, A/B test of ideas with a test audience, prototype hardware, etc.

We hope to first create a rich body of ethnographic information that would be presented to experts in these fields for feedback. From that point, we would move into the creation of a mobile/web application that creates an application similar to Letterboxd with prosumer profiles but one that utilizes blockchain ledgers and also seeks to integrate with Farcaster Frames.

At this point we would move onto creating a prototype application for a closed beta test that would be shared with a number of experts in the contemporary and NFT art fields, publishing our findings from these prototypes before ideally moving into a larger-scale launch and implementation following the SoP program.

  1. How will you field-test your improvement idea? Eg: run a restricted pilot at an event, simulation, workshop, etc.

We plan to field-test the idea through a restricted beta test to make sure all of the elements of the application are functional and to see what discoveries are generated through a number of various users’ experiences with our prototype. Following this, we hope to continue to develop this program and expand it into a more formal and widespread launch after making changes and adjustments based off of the data we have collected.

  1. Who will be able to judge the quality of your output? Ideally name a few suitable judges.

Mike Pollard (Nina Protocol CEO)
Francis Halsall (Author of Contemporary Art, Systems and the Aesthetics of Dispersion)
Seth Price (Contemporary Artist & Author of Dispersion)
Adina Glickstein (Editor at Spike Art Magazine with published research, essays, and lectures about cryptoart)
Jared Madere (Artist and Co-founder of Cryptoart gallery “Galerie Yeche Lange” (featured on Zora Zine))

  1. How will you publish and evangelize your improvement idea? Eg: Submit proposal to a standards body, publish open-source code, produce and release a software development kit etc.

We plan on publishing all of the ethnographic findings from our research and from our prototype demos. At that point, we would plan to then move from our prototype into the deployment of a blockchain-based mobile/web application along with a strategic communications campaign that deploys a variety of tactics across the crypto and contemporary art fields in order to disrupt current methodologies of communication and arts criticism and to onboard users.

At the conclusion of SoP we envision producing a high-quality dossier of research findings, along with a body of open-source code.

  1. What is the success vision for your idea?

The long-term success vision for our idea is a web and mobile platform that uses a blockchain ledger while creating a forum for people to write about art, and, by extension, formally protocolize parts of art worlds, a pre-existing system of capital exchange, regardless of whether they’re based on blockchains or in galleries and museums.

In the short-term, we hope to create a rich body of ethnographic research and a prototype application that field tests an improvement in the form of an application, and that the resulting data from demo-ing this prototype with experts would allow us to continue to work towards creating a new social protocol focused on art criticism and meaning-making.

For additional reference materials / information, please view materials tab of Protocols Portfolio

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