BEYOND THE HYPE – NFTs & BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGIES AS PIONEERS FOR A DECENTRALISED MUSEUM WITHOUT WALLS
We can see that contemporary museums are enjoying great opportunities as a result of NFTs when we examine the technologies behind them instead of the hype surrounding them. Not just in the context of online exhibitions, which have gained popularity anyway due to the pandemic, but especially in the context of building a new community in museum communication and in the democratization of institutions. For example, the tokenisation of annual passes or museum memberships could attract different groups of visitors. And through experiments with new forms of curatorial creation, a museum for participation could emerge. This new model of curating can be tested through museum DAOs, allowing the community to get directly involved in the process. In this way, institutional exhibitions could develop in the future that emerge from a decentralised community. Such swarm-curated exhibitions or work shows from a co-curating network, however, correspondingly shake up the distribution of roles in institutions. The curators would have to get rid of their decision-making power and institutions would have to open their doors wider than they do now. The idea is not revolutionary, as participation in net art and media art projects is common. But through DAOs in the museum context, the idea of democratisation and decentralisation of museum structures can gain momentum again.
Ugo Pecoraio is head of communications at HEK (House of Electronic Arts, Basel) and involved in all web 3 and blockchain based projects as well as in the development of the online exhibition formats at HEK.