Modern and contemporary art have redefined the relationship between information and matter. Whether in the readymade's scrambling of the categories of art and commodity or Conceptual art's translation of matter into information, the artwork is embedded in a dynamic multi-media discourse. The NFT, or non-fungible-token, reverses this long genealogy of contemporary art by hijacking the category of art as nothing more than a tool for designing a new asset class, ripe for exuberant speculation. In short, the readymade—whose purpose was to demonstrate the fungibility of artworks when shifted from one discursive category to another—has been reversed.
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© 2021 October Magazine, Ltd. and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
October Magazine, Ltd. and Massachusetts Institute of Technology