$8,793 Worth of [Art]

$8,793 Worth of [Art]
Pau Waelder
165 pages, ebook (PDF), 768 x 1024 pixels

Edition of 100, each numbered & signed
First 25 copies £2.00, then price rises £0.50 per 25 sold.
Current price £2.00

Published by Merkske

Sedition is an online platform that sells “digital editions” of artworks by a growing number of artists, in two categories: a “curated” section and an “open platform”. Each artwork is sold in a limited series of copies (from several hundred to several thousand) at prices between 6 and 100 dollars, although some editions reach higher amounts.

When a collector acquires an artwork at Sedition, he can access a digital copy on his iPhone, iPad, computer or TV set. The file is permanently stored at Sedition’s server (the “Vault”), the collector being able to view the artwork or re-sell it if the edition is sold out and becomes available at the online platform’s “Trade” section. The only document stating the ownership of the artwork is a “digital certificate of authenticity” displayed as an image on the collector’s profile page. A preview of this digital certificate is also displayed on the page of each artwork being sold on the website. The preview and the real certificate are, in appearance, indistinguishable.

Between 30th October and 16th November 2013, I copied the preview certificates of all artworks being sold in the “curated” section of Sedition. These “false” certificates display my name as owner and a fake edition number, just as if I had bought them, although all I did was access the website. I added to these certificates several real certificates from artworks I bought on the platform.

$8.793 Worth of [Art] is a collection of 159 real and false certificates of authenticity. The title refers to the exact amount that would have been paid if all of the works had been bought as the certificates apparently attest. It is the result of a very simple “hacking” of the website, that includes glitches and alterations: some artist’s signatures are missing, and at some point the website administrator eliminated edition numbers in the previews. These documents open up a questioning of the notion of ownership and authenticity in the digital era, as well as the traditional methods of the art market.

More information:

Buy your copy at Merkske
Interview by Régine Debatty at We Make Money Not Art
Interview by Filippo Lorenzin in L’identità aumentata

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