2022 Isea Frontispiece With Headshots

Wrestling with NFTs and TikTok in 2022

NFTs and TikTok, two of the biggest digital trends in recent years, came under fire in 2022. Research by Still Water researchers helped to explain their advantages and vulnerabilities in over a dozen venues, including publications from Wired to Forbes and presentations from London to Shanghai.

2022 Istanbul Blockchain talkBlockchain and its vulnerabilities

Still Water Senior Fellow John Bell presented the preservation challenges of blockchain-based artworks at two major conferences with Regina Harsanyi and Jon Ippolito: Right-click To Preserve (18th International Conference on Digital Preservation, Glasgow) and Preservation, NFTs, and Distributed Ledgers” (ISEA, Barcelona).

Ippolito focused on the potential use of blockchain to preserve Andy Warhol’s digital artworks in remote talks for the conferences Blockchain and The Future of Digital Culture, Istanbul and 6th Annual Network Society Conference, Shanghai, and published his findings in the peer-reviewed journal MDPI Review of Machine Art and a related review of Distributed Autonomous Organizations (DAOs). He also participated in talks on Blockchain and Museums, The Future of Collecting: From Museum to DAO, and Circumventing NFT Platform Constraints.

Crypto-preservation and the Ghost of Andy Warhol presentationThe controversy over NFTs intensified during the crypto crash of 2022. Still Water faculty were quoted in related articles such as Forbes (“Costly Doodles”), The New York Observer (“Despite an NFT Downturn, Christie’s Just Launched a Venture Fund to Improve Technology in the Arts”), ARTnews (“Christie’s Auction of Warhol NFTs Raises Questions of Authenticity Among Experts”), Cointelegraph Magazine,” (Andy Warhol would have loved (or possibly hated) NFTs), Right Click Save (“What Can Web1 Teach Web3?”), Built In (“Stoner Cats, KBots and CRYPTOSQUIDS: How Artists Are Adapting in the NFT Era”).

Closer to home, the Portland Press Herald quoted Ippolito in Maine academics, artists and entrepreneurs delve into the NFT art market and ‘Hopeful’ became a sign of the times. Now, artist Charlie Hewitt is focused on the future.

TikTok as security risk

Futures Past presentationIppolito was quoted in stories about TikTok’s success in Wired (“TikTok Duets Are Reviving the Exquisite Corpse”) and The Bangor Daily News (“A Maine couple’s off-the-grid homestead is famous on TikTok”). He also appeared on CBS affiliate WGME-TV to explain its risks (State, local police adapt to determine credibility of social media threats and As more states ban TikTok from government devices, Maine still ‘evaluating’ if it’s needed.

Cultural permanence

Still Water co-director Joline Blais presented Design and Cultural Permanence at the Cultural Center of Belgrade) and John Bell was a panelist in Used to Be Different, Now It’s the Same? The Post-Pandemic Makeover of Museums. Ippolito gave talks for Arebyte gallery in London and UCLA and was interviewed by Ben Fino-Radin for the podcast Art and Obsolescence.

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