Every few decades, technology challenges the question, “what is art?“.
Most people would agree that it’s not the medium, and yet here we are again with “tokenized JPEGs can’t be art,” the same argument that was applied to every new medium and style of art in modern history.
We find ourselves in the middle of a changing of the guard, an artistic revolution driven by a distribution of the memes of production to the masses.
1. Accept that Memes are the Real Modern Art
Art was already democratized before GPT brought it to our fingertips via AI breakthroughs — artists just don't want to admit that internet memes have made a greater cultural impact than their modern art.
Then we figured out how to tokenize the art and have even more fun, while pushing the Overton window with humor.
Tokenizing led to tighter communities grouping around vested interests. And vested interests led to greater collaborative energy over the long term.
And now, with AI, we have the tools to actually make our memes aesthetic!
What does this mean? We don’t know, but good things come from fun and forking. Really, whether it’s art or code, it’s all just about experimentation.
In my humble opinion, we just need to keep it going.
Disclaimer: I’m being a bit contentious, and good art speaks louder than the best internet meme.
2. Build the Leading Countercultural Marketplaces
Art has historically played a leading role in challenging the status quo and dethroning politically- and socially-entrenched powers.
It has summoned the chaos from which a new and better order has emerged. Unfortunately, this sword has been held for too long by the reigning powers themselves.
We have a unique opportunity to participate in building a new marketplace of art (and the captured ideas therein) that gives artists a platform, where they might otherwise be socially ostracized.
And, at the same time, give artists back true ownership of their work.
3. Onboard the World
Sounds simple, and I think it will be. Everyone wants to go where the fun is.
There’s a major shift happening in Web3. Where all of the FOMO used to revolve around investments, that is no longer the case.
People are joining social token communities out of shared interests or for access to private, exclusive content.
They’re joining because their friends and colleagues are. Not just to make a fast buck.
This is Web3 in its most pure form. Collaboration as a foundation, then compensation flows from that collaboration.
If this trend continues as barriers of entry drop, the world will walk through the wide open door. It’s just a matter of landing the right user experience.
4. Expose Outdated and Immoral Copyright Law. Then Provide a Peaceful Alternative.
You can’t own knowledge, and state-sponsored enforcement over who can use certain knowledge has set us back in a way we will never be able to quantify.
Technological innovations, medical advances, improvements in quality of life, and new ideas have been stifled in the interest of preserving the barriers of entry that protect corporations and the entrenched interests of agents of the state.
Additionally, the state has not kept up. It often takes almost a year to get a copyright and there’s not even a modern system in place where people can track and get notified of potential infringements.
Copyright enforcement cannot keep up with the exponential increase in ideas and content, even without AI-generated output.
NFTs and distributed computers illustrate beautifully the issues with the current system. We have a golden opportunity to experiment in building systems that honor creativity without relying on coercion.
And most importantly to show the world (or the subset that wants to listen) that it’s possible!
5. Support More Opt-in Protocols and Policies
Like the example above, we have presented ourselves with a stage on which to exemplify working systems outside of the realm of controls and regulations.
It is more meaningful than ever to support and use aggregators that honor royalties, build new reputation and accountability structures to help people weed out bad apples, and encourage others to do the same.
I’m more bullish than ever about NFTs, and this is completely regardless of whether the price bubble has popped or not. There are better and more meaningful things to focus on.