july 19, 2021 - Ludwig Museum

The First NFT Work in a Hungarian Museum Collection

It is the first time that a so-called NFT work has become part of a museum collection, a network piece by the BarabásiLab (a group of researchers and artists led by Albert-László Barabási).

In recent years, the #ludwigmuseum – Museum of #contemporaryart has paid special attention to the archiving, collection, presentation and conservation of new forms of art, including media art. Unsurprisingly, the Museum was among the first to start collecting new technology, and what else could the pioneering work of the digital museum be than a data set that repeatedly reflects on the medium of its creation, e.g. the life-world of Hungarian art?! The work in the collection of the #ludwigmuseum was recently on display in the museum, it is a network visualization made for the exhibition BarabásiLab: Hidden Patterns. The Language of Network Thinking, which is also the subject of a recently published handbook, entitled Élek mentén. The work linking the institutional elements of the Hungarian art network displays the systemic connections of all Hungarian museums, exhibition venues and galleries appearing at the data level. In addition to the artist and curator network processing the data of the art scene, the institutional network is a key factor of the art scene, which processes hundreds of exhibition venues and institutions.

In the case of an NFT work, it is difficult to give a clear answer to the question "where is it?". It is not tied to a physical location, it basically exists in virtual space, it can be viewed on any screen, and anyone can access it via the internet. The NFT work is tied to a digital platform, which can be self-managed but also managed by others. The Ludwig Museum's NFT is linked to an existing digital ecosystem and did not come into the museum's possession as a sale of a file in an online marketplace, but through a donation.

The work can be viewed at the following link: (CLICK HERE)

The Ludwig Museum's NFT collection (containing one object for the time being) is available here:

What is NFT?

NFT (non-fungible token) is a digital protocol, a technology that allows digital files to be personalised, sold, and owned. In the digital art market, the buyer pays directly to the artist, using a blockchain based cryptocurrency (mostly Etherum). Cryptocurrency automatically associates an authentication certificate with the purchased work, and the trace of the transaction remains in the blockchain, indelible, indicating who issued the original copy of the digital work, when, and for how much.

Collectors maintain a blockchain-based archive of the ownership of artworks so that originals can be owned, transferred, and tracked. Owners of the original works can create online galleries and museums in NFT marketplaces so anyone can browse their digital art collection.

NFT is in fact a digital seal, a series of symbols, which acts as an authentication certificate and a document certifying the purchase, thus expanding the references of the (art)work from aesthetic-artistic value to ownership and royalties. An NFT-based work is at once a sign, a data and a business, which has become a trend nowadays, and through which approx. $ 250 million worth digital artworks are changing hands.

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