We welcome Sophie Auger for a research residency in our documentation center from May 3 to June 11, 2022. Sophie Auger is interested in the impact of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the experience of a work of art as well as on the notion of archives and provenance. She works to represent the effects of this new technology on our interpretation of the value of works.
Her research project at LA CHAMBRE BLANCHE is divided into two parts. First, its about the idea of an indelible image and the notion of uniqueness in the cryptoart market, then the second part involves the analysis of the experience of the work of cryptographic art. The NFT experience is through a screen; materializing it would only produce a derivative of its original.
On the blockchain, nothing can be erased. What is uploaded there becomes permanent. NFTs are mostly images (JPEGs, GIFs, videos) that exist only in the context of their transaction in the cryptoart market. The content of what constitutes the history of cryptographic art thus far has little to do with the image, and everything to do with its market value. With NFTs, the work is a derivative of its archive.
The aim of her residency project is, first of all, to establish a dialogue with the practices of artists and theoreticians whose approach is similar to hers through research in the documentation centre. Sophie Auger's intention with this research is to situate NFT in a broader theoretical discourse to offer an interpretation of this very recent technology beyond its economic scope. Creating a historical dialogue between past and contemporary discourses will also serve to determine how NFT can challenge traditional notions of originality and reproduction. Any image, whether original or reproduced, when authenticated as a non-fungible token on the blockchain, is automatically considered unique.
Her research proposal is intended to develop a critical analysis of this system of image dissemination for the benefit of its transaction and in an attempt to deepen the questions that drive her recent artistic practice. The NFT market is in a way a hypercapitalist extension and essentialization of the traditional art market. However, although the context is similar, conceptions of the value of the work and its archive are changing. It is these notions in transformations that she wish to determine and restore at the center of the discourse on the NFT.
Sophie Auger is an artist from Quebec who lives in New Jersey. Her work aims to deconstruct various image diffusion technologies by operating through screens and projectors, places of diffusion and art markets. Through video installation, publication and experimentation on the blockchain, she questions the systems for assigning value (symbolic and monetary) to images. Sophie holds a BFA in Studio Arts from Concordia and an MFA in Design from Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts.
Photo credits: Token Provenance. Digital printing, tinted wood frame, LED lamp. Sophie Auger, 2021.