Speaker: Amy Whitaker, Assistant Professor, Art and Art Professions New York University, Steinhardt School
How is it possible to ensure the integrity of digital artworks that can be copied indefinitely? Which tools from other fields can be adopted? How does one track the provenance and authenticity of digitized or born-digital artworks? Newer technologies, including the distributed ledger structure of blockchain, can offer novel tools with which to document the artwork’s identity, to record the conservation process, and to acknowledge complexities of open-source work. These technologies engage with larger questions of authenticity, degradation, versioning, and intellectual property around conservation of time-based media works.
In exploring time-stamped records of artworks’ identity, this talk offers a primer on blockchain technology as a digital signature and dating tool, and draws a line from the history of artists’ contracts—most notably The Artist’s Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement of 1971—to chain of custody, reproduction, conservation, and identity of digital art.
Amy Whitaker is an assistant professor in Visual Arts Administration at New York University’s Steinhardt School. She is the author of two books Museum Legs andArt Thinking, and holds both an MBA and an MFA in painting. Amy speaks widely on art and blockchain including at the College Art Association, Fast Company Innovation Festival, and NYU courses in both the art and business schools. Her research concerns fractional equity and collaborative economic structures around art. Her essay on the co-inventors of blockchain appeared in the Wall Street Journal.