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Nearly a year ago, Baron Lanteigne joined and investigated the emerging cryptoart ecosystem through his Tangible Data project. Through surreal animations, Tangible Data explores the materiality of technological devices that we manipulate. The artist then built virtual galleries in which the artworks meet their collectors. Created in virtual reality, those “meta artworks” show the artist’s point of view as he received bids on his works. The #metaworks were used as sketches for subsequent IRL exhibitions.
While rooted in its digital and web origins, the project took a multidisciplinary turn over the year as the artist created a sculpture, a virtual reality experience and video installations. All of which connect to the original NFT artworks in real-time using the SuperRare API.
By uniting different mediums in the same physical space, the artist’s proposition shifts from 3D animation to a depiction of his relation with collectors and the community. This relation, usually ephemeral over the constantly evolving social media networks, is now immortalized as a part of this work.
At the project’s core, the artist proposes a sculpture, the Augmented Protective Pouch.
This physical artwork is the first sculpture that connects in real time to its NFT counterpart to display the metadata being built around the digital work, on the blockchain, as collectors interact with it. A large display hosts a looping animation that was initially tailored for social media. The animation, presents a hard drive, soft and flowing like a liquid, as it is manipulated by a large hand.
Reminiscent of a laptop pouch, the sculpture forms a skin for the animated work. It represents the NFT process grafting itself to the artwork, now worthy of protection, as it becomes artificially scarse. Like organs within the skin, small electronics and a single-board computer embedded in the pouch are fetching the NFT’s data in real-time. The artwork metadata, such as the current owner, list price and bid history, is displayed on the sculpture itself in a smaller display reminiscent of an exhibition cartel. By hanging and folding the sculpture in a specific angle, the sculpture is associated with the artist’s 3d works found in the VR and animations of Tangible Data. In that sense, the sculpture is the materialization of an internet-native phenomenon.
Tangible Data is presented at Art Mûr Gallery in Montreal, Canada starting April 3rd 2021 until May 8th 2021. This exhibition was curated by Samuel Arsenault-Brassard.
Established in 1996, Art Mûr has evolved into one of the largest private contemporary art galleries in Canada. The gallery represents both emerging and established artists with practices ranging from painting and sculpture to new media and performance art. Well-known for its dynamic programming, which includes both solo and thematic group exhibitions, Art Mûr plays an important role in the diffusion of contemporary art in Montreal. It is a cultural hot spot where collectors, curators, artists and clients coalesce.