WTF! The Whitworth mints NFTs, encourages culture of pissing electricity away

The Whitworth might as well have minted a chocolate teapot.

The Whitworth just minted 50 NFTs of a multispectral scan of William Blake’s the Ancient of Days. I know this to be true because I checked my temperature and pinched myself, and I’m quite sure it’s not a fever dream. One month after hosting the Museums and Galleries Responding to the Climate and Ecological Crisis 2022 conference, the Whitworth went ahead and minted 50 NFTs, which you can buy for about £2k a pop.

You could say this is using art for social change, if by social change you mean the collapse of the planet as we know it. Before you say anything, I know that they’ve minted it on Tezos, a low carbon coin, and I could not give a toss.

Feeding the NFT beast is a bad thing. It does not matter if you’re doing it on a greenwashed blockchain or not. The Whitworth has decided to lend its considerable reputation to legitimize the world of NFTs, and open the floodgates for other UK museums to start churning out NFTs. Do you think the other museums are going to carefully select a low-carbon blockchain to host their NFTs? Do you think museums should use a financing model based on buy low/sell high, to-the-moon-and-screw-whoever-gets-left-holding-the-bill technologies, that exploits the inexperienced to make profit and has already aged like milk? For social practice? 

I have to wonder what thought process got the Whitworth here. I guess it went like this: ‘Yes, I think a growth based mindset is going very well for us as a species actually, and perhaps those dutch people were right about those tulips and NFTs are definitely not a massive bubble/gambling ring. In fact, they might even be the thing that saves us. No, I won’t show my working on that.’ Pepe le Pew, labelled 'The Whitworth', gets ready to seduce Penelope, labelled 'my sanity'. Penelope is standing on the edge of the cliff and looks worried she might fall off.

It is unfathomable to me. I feel like left and right I can watch institutions turn into Pepe Le Pew with dollar signs in their eyes. Endorsing a high-carbon, high-risk, high-injustice technology, at best to seem hip and at worst to knowingly get in early and separate the savings from the hands of late investors. That doesn’t sound like the future calling. That sounds like herbalife.

Please don’t make me tap the sign.



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