The blockchain company, Injective Protocol, had acquired Banksy ‘s “Imbecilli” (White) screen printing from a New York gallery last January for 96,000 dollars (just under 80,000 euros). But two days ago, they decided to burn it in Brooklyn and posted the video of the event on social media. “We see this event as an expression of art in and of itself,” said company executive Mirza Uddin before setting the piece on fire during a live broadcast from Burnt Banksy’s Twitter account. The provocation of the gesture is apparent, and even the work is not accidental. Indeed, Morons (White) represents a scene from an art auction that makes collectors fun by calling them “imbeciles”.
“If this work were not burned, its value would lie mainly in the physical piece,” Uddin explained. “By destroying it to transform it into an NFT (Non-fungible token), we guarantee that no one will ever alter the work“. Its value is transferred to the NFT, which will be the only way to own the work. The authenticity of the burned work, a 56 cm high by 76 widescreen printing, has been confirmed by the office that manages the careers of Banksy (Pest Control). It is number 325 of the 500 existing replicas.
The Injective Protocol representative stressed that he had opted for a piece by Banksy because the same artist had already done something similar in the past. How can we forget when in 2018, the famous work ‘The girl with the balloon’ was voluntarily destroyed during a Sotheby’s auction. It was sold shattered.
But what is a blockchain? A blockchain (literally ‘chain of blocks’) is a shared and immutable data structure. It is defined as a digital register whose entries are grouped into “blocks”. These are then concatenated in chronological order, and the use of cryptography ensures integrity. Digital objects are called tokens, and they have their own unique and non-replicable code. They are sold in cryptocurrency, which can then be converted into real money.
Can we consider crypto art a new artistic current? Indeed revolutionary but not inauthentic. The creation of a digital work does not take away the artist’s authorship but rather declares his immortality. Furthermore, a virtual work with NFT will never be damaged or deteriorated as it happens in physical art.