In a period of increasing activity for digital art services, an established art dealer and internet entrepreneur have teamed up to bring limited edition digital art works by well known artists to the online market place for the first time. S[edition] launched this week offering digital editions by leading artists such as Bill Viola, Tim Noble & Sue Webster and Damien Hirst. Dazed caught up with the creators Harry Blain and Robert Norton to find out more and the future of art on the web.
Dazed Digital: Will intellectual property in fine art follow the same fate as IP in music, cinema and literature?
Harry Blain and Robert Norton: One thing that differentiates art from media even online and in digital format is the clear concept of collecting and the relationship between the owner and the object. At s[edition], we have set about building a vibrant community of collectors and encourage people to view collecting as a fun, open and social experience. It's too early to make predictions but we encourage a responsible community of collectors and use a range of technologies to help foster this environment. For example, we monitor use of the art from your vault, we re-format works specifically for your connected device and we require you to open an account and enter your credit card details prior to the purchase of any art.
DD: How do you see the technology and the variety of interfaces evolving in the next five years? Will these digital art works be available in 3-D versions for instance?
Harry Blain and Robert Norton: We are extremely excited about the rapid changes in technology and display possibilities. This year at CES (Consumer Electronics Show), we saw a massive push for 3-D TV and Connected TV and these look like they are here to stay. Improvements in display, screen resolution and graphical interfaces are all positives for s[edition] and we welcome these advances. We very much hope we will have 3D works on offer in the next few years.
DD: Are you targeting collectors on virtual platforms such as second life? If so, is it only new works that are currently available or can we expect to see other digital reproductions also available in the e-art market place?
Harry Blain and Robert Norton: Right now we are concentrating on works by the world's leading contemporary artists and this will not change in the short term. We have not got any plans to offer works to other virtual worlds at this stage. Sounds like an interesting idea though and I could imagine a time when people's art collections could move with them seamlessly as part of their online identity through a variety of different digital networks. We are also currently in talks with some of the worlds leading museums to offer limited edition digital art works.
DD: Art works are essentially 'ideas' in the sense that they are not confined to any particular medium or format to be appreciated or transferred/passed on. What do you think will follow from here in terms of artists practise and exhibition format options?
Harry Blain and Robert Norton: The artists will have to decide that for themselves but I do think new technologies give artists additional tools they can explore if it makes sense for their practice.
DD: Will s[edition] do for art products online as i-tunes has done for music online, i.e. make medium quality content available cheaply and widely for a nominal price?
Harry Blain and Robert Norton: We would love to be as successful as iTunes but for now we're just focused on creating a great user experience and giving people to access to art in a new format and at prices that are more affordable than the physical works.