Aura & Transvestment1 | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Themed Issue: ‘On Modes of Participation’
  • ISSN: 1477-965X
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9533

Abstract

Aura & Transvestment is a transmedia project consisting of a series of generative images, an experimental form of cryptomedia and a video essay. By describing its own powers and contradictions, the work explores notions of value, ownership, authenticity, artificial scarcity and abundance in the digital realm. The project is a critical analysis of non-fungible tokens used as proof of ownership for digital art, taking Walter Benjamin’s concept of aura as a starting point. It argues that, for tokenized art, cryptography serves as an artificial source of auratic power that reverts the political potential of reproducibility falling back to a magical and ritual notion of aura. This time around the ritual performed is that of property, authenticity, ownership, markets and commodification. Finally, the article outlines alternative uses of cryptography and distributed ledger technologies to support artistic labour and proposes transvestment as a temporary counter-action for the reallocation of value from capitalist forms of production and into commons-based models of social coordination. Submitted to this journal is an adaptation of the script for the video essay, alongside other elements of the project. Please visit: https://aura-transvestment.art/.

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2021-11-01
2024-04-23
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): artificial scarcity; aura; labour; NFTs; value; Walter Benjamin
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