Summary: This concept is a way to interlink the wellbeing of artists within a scene, while also redistributing funds within that scene from the winners to those who in some part, inspired or enabled them.
During a call with Jon Dones of Haute to Death, who I am encouraged to own and launch an Artist Working Group in Edgeware, we explored the idea of “Scenious” — the collective genius. We also discussed the winner-take-all nature of art economies, and how many artists even when successful are not compensated in a sustainable way.
- Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson
- The Ecstasy of Influence, Jonathan Lethem
- Reality Hunger, David Shields
- The Myths of Innovation, Scott Berkun
- Insanely Great, Stephen Levy
- Infringement Nation, John Tehranian
- Reclaiming Fair Use, Patricia Aufderheide & Peter Jaszi
- Patent Failure, James Bessen
- Naval interviews Matt Ridley on How Innovation Works
While Jon has an incredible vision of the world that artists could live in through financial innovation, I started conjuring simple ways we could begin engaging the mission: TokenSets but for Scenes.
TokenSets are a way to hold a token that is composed of multiple assets. One token might be made of 75% Bitcoin and 25% ETH, and it might even rebalance to manage risk using Dai or other cool tokens. It’s not only convenient but has these smart derisking properties that don’t require any more service fees than just owning the underlying assets outright, other than the occasional smart contract interaction fee. (the ‘Democratization of Finance’)
What does this have to do with art and artists?
We can leverage the concept of token sets to bind up the wellbeing of artists within a collective, and also bind up those collectives. In the process, we enhance interdependence, reduce the winner-take-all-dynamic, acknowledge the nature and phenomenon of scenious, and derisk and improve financial wellbeing for all those artists that participate.
Instead of traveling to Miami or LA or NYC for art fairs, you might attend a digital art fair, or simply OpenSea.
You buy a Detroit Art Scene $DETROITART token. It’s composed of fractional shards or tokens of several art collectives that act in Detroit, let’s call them $HTD, $MACHO, and $THOTS. (This is a Detroit inside joke, hope someone gets it.)
$HTD is also a token set, composed of NFTs of the artists in the HTD collective. Same for the others, $MACHO and $THOTS.
Those groups are technically competitive for buyers and collectors in the art world, but now that they can be bundled up at no transaction cost, we can ensure that when one wins, they all do — and enhance their media exposure as well through added token powers, for instance, clicking your asset will show you all the works you own shards of, and you may have only known one or two artists originally.
Buy one token, and you de-risk your art portfolio, and the communities of artists derisk their livelihood.