The world that is being crafted and paved by new technologies affords many opportunities for various cultural and creative entrepreneurs to evolve in their craft and widen their reach. There is space for entrepreneurs within music, film, fashion, and art along with all the other sectors and industries to tap into this world being crafted by new technologies. Technology continues to be a vehicle that drives the cultural and creative industries overall, as it has always been. Last week we explored the way technology is helping to shape the music industry and, in this instalment, we will look at art.
Art has evolved and has been integrating technology for some time now. The emergence of digital art around the 1980s, began a wave of artistic expressions using various digital software. The modern artist has opportunities through virtual reality, the metaverse and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Virtual and Augmented Reality and Art
Art has always been part of Jamaica’s creative expression and each generation has put their mark on it. In Jamaica, there are various opportunities for art to be expressed and for that expression to be monetised. Virtual and augmented reality are ways that new technologies are shaping how art can be experienced. Augmented reality alters your surroundings by adding digital elements to a live view, often by using the camera on a smartphone. Meanwhile, virtual reality is a completely immersive experience that replaces a real-life environment with a simulated one.
Kingston Creative provided both experiences. Kingston Creative is a nonprofit arts organisation started in 2017 by a team who believes in using Art and Culture to achieve social and economic transformation. According to Kingston Creative, “Our projects are centred around creating an inclusive Art District and a Creative Hub and ultimately growing the creative economy. Our ultimate goal is to develop a healthy creative ecosystem in Jamaica, and we undertake projects that achieve this goal. We work through partnerships – collaboration is how we get things done.”
Kingston Creative launched Jamaica’s first augmented reality mural in 2019 in downtown Kingston. In an article from the Jamaica Observer, it is said that “This will allow people to visit the murals in different communities on self-guided tours and use this technology to get the history and culture behind the location. The mural on Harbour Street features the theme of revival dance and is animated using AR technology to enable the dancers will come to life.” Also on the group’s website is the ability to do a virtual tour of the various murals, where you are able to “virtually walk” the streets and see the names of the artists, the titles of the pieces and how to find them. This merging of technology and art can allow modern artists to make their expressions immersive and interesting.
NFTs in the World of Art
NFTs are described as “A unique certificate of registration of a digital asset or a one-of-a-kind digital asset that belongs only to you. It is a unique unit of data employing technology that allows digital content to be logged and authenticated on cryptocurrency blockchains, primarily Ethereum. Once the content is logged onto the blockchain, every transaction from transfers to sales is recorded on-chain, creating an easily accessible ledger of provenance and price history.” – Jamaica Observer
Forbes details the benefits of NFTs for the artist in an article titled Can artists still benefit from NFTs? by Andrey Drobitko, Forbes Council Member. He explored the benefits creatives can receive from NFTs amidst a recent cryptocurrency crash and said “There are a lot of benefits to trading digital art via the blockchain, and the market is growing. According to DappRadar, in 2021, NFT sales volume totalled $24.9 billion compared to $94.9 million in 2020.”
He went on to state “NFTs help creatives prove the authenticity of their digital works, thus making it possible to trade them. Another awesome thing about the NFT art market is that it eliminates gatekeeping of the traditional art market that usually comes in the form of curators, galleries and art dealers who decide what artists are worth the attention and the money. NFTs make it possible even for aspiring creatives to profit from their art and get recognition.” The opportunities for modern artists are quite vast and creative entrepreneurs would do well to explore what is available through NFTs.
Animators have a huge space within these new technologies and the metaverse can see these entrepreneurs thriving through avatar creation and designing other virtual immersive experiences. The possibilities are endless.
The breadth of new technologies and the opportunities they have the capacity to provide are inexhaustible. Lisa Hanna in an article written in the Jamaica Observer concluded well by saying “Therefore, this is a call to action for our Jamaican artists, musicians, and content creators to monetise their content by leapfrogging their minds to this new reality of digital ownership, management, and sale.”