Artist Ai Weiwei Uses Ethereum to Make Art About ‘Value’

Christine Kim
Aug 17, 2018 at 17:35 UTC
Updated Aug 17, 2018 at 17:36 UTC
NEWS

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has partnered on a new art project that utilizes a pair of newly-minted ethereum-based tokens.

Motherboard reported Friday that Ai – well-known for his criticism of China’s Communist government as well as his art installations and photos – is working with Irish conceptual artist Kevin Abosch.

Together, Ai and Abosch have created two new tokens, freely distributable, in an effort to (as they describe it) illustrate how worth is perceived and imbued within modern society. And it’s an area that Abosch has already been working in – bridging the worlds of art and cryptocurrency through his work – as the New York Times previously reported.

The project, dubbed PRICELESS (ticker symbol: PRCLS), involves twin tokens, one of which is made publicly available to the extent that, in theory, every person on the planet could own a fraction. The other token, according to Motherboard, is locked away and inaccessible to anyone.

“It’s not about a potential for creating art, but, rather, to question the existing system and the potential to create a new system outside of the established one,” Ai told Motherboard.

As Abosch said to the publication:

“From the moment we’re born, people try to ascribe value to us — ‘Oh, that boy is so full of potential, or oh, that girl is worthless’ — it’s something society does to us and it’s something we do to ourselves … Our project is just another thing to engage people in the hope that they will spend a little bit more time reflecting on the perversity of how most of us ascribe value to things.”

Wallet addresses holding nominal amounts of the PRCLS token have already been printed on paper and sold to buyers, with each wallet address representing different “priceless moments” shared between Ai and Abosch, illustrating how the token can represent value.

Ai revealed in an interview with Motherboard that, for him, blockchain represents “an opportunity to set up a new system that could dismantle the old system, or at least offer a new possibility for communication.”

Ai Weiwei image via Shutterstock