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Jonas Lund
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How to make money off art, one ad at a time

Want to invest in net art? Jonas Lund is peddling advertising space on his new site as a commentary on the art world

Jonas Lund's art has a clear focus on community and interaction. His last piece, We See In Every Direction, enabled multiple people to control a single browser simultaneously, making for a chaotic race through the internet, an exercise in people jamming together to make for an evolving artwork that can never be replicated.

His latest work, Return Of Investment, looks at the financial rules of the contemporary art world, turning an online exhibition platform called Link Cabinet into an advertisement space that anyone can purchase. Once you've bought the ad space, your ad stays up there until another "investor" comes along. Once that happens, you make your money back, plus 15% on your initial investment. It's a playful send-up of how the contemporary art world works. Do you buy pleasure for art, patronage or investment? 

"There's is no roof on how high the price can go, but once the exhibition is closed, Return Of Investment will be disabled," Lund told us. "Once it's exhibited again, the starting price will be reset to 1 dollar for the first ad. So the last investor before the exhibition closes will not receive at 15% return of investment."

Return Of Investment investigates the ways we communicate and share online experiences – when we make money from people we never see, what or who are we investing ourselves in? "There's tons of artists that make great work, but the successful ones usually have a great PR machine behind them," he explains. "I'm not saying an artist should invest money into ads for their work, I think that would most likely be frowned upon by the art world, but there's other ways of reaching an audience and establishing a hype surrounding your works, like.....making great work."

Is there a possibility that art can become too commodified? There are warning signs, like the existence of ArtRank, an algorithm-based site, advises buyers on which artists to buy, sell or "liquidate". But Lund remains hopeful. "I think art was always commodified, art can be both a good investment and something enjoyable," he says. "I think that the recent focus on art flipping and the effects thereof might turn out poorly for the artist, but to quote Omar: 'it's all in the game, yo'."

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