Brian Eno has offered an artful deconstruction of NFTs and the crypto arena.
The NFT – non-fungible token – has become the term du jour for artists looking for different ways to monetise their work, ranging from underground talent to huge acts such as Kings Of Leon.
Brian Eno has remained at the forefront of music and technology for decades now, once spending months designing the instantly-recognisable start-up music for Windows 95.
However he isn't a fan of the crypto arena, and has some harsh words about the NFT concept – and its execution – in a new interview.
Speaking to American writer Evgeny Morozov, he elucidated on the potential appeal of NFTs to those of a libertarian nature:
I can understand why the people who’ve done well from it are pleased, and it’s natural enough in a libertarian world to believe that something that benefits you must automatically be ‘right’ for the whole world. That belief is a version of what I call ‘automaticism’ – the idea that if you leave things alone and let something or other – the market, nature, human will – take its course unimpeded you will automatically get a better result than you would by tinkering with it. The people who hold beliefs of this kind don’t have any qualms about tinkering themselves but just want a situation where nobody else gets to tinker. Especially the state.
Yet he also dismissed what he termed the Ayn Rand leanings of some in the crypto community, adding:
The idea that Ayn Rand, that Nietzsche-for-Teenagers toxin, should have had her whacky ideas enshrined in a philosophy about money is what is terrifying to me. But I still don’t really understand what it is they think they’ve done. Maybe I just don’t get it!
As for a potential Brian Eno NFT in the future… don't hold your breath.
I’ve been approached several times to ‘make an NFT.’ So far nothing has convinced me that there is anything worth making in that arena. ‘Worth making’ for me implies bringing something into existence that adds value to the world, not just to a bank account. If I had primarily wanted to make money I would have had a different career as a different kind of person. I probably wouldn’t have chosen to be an artist. NFTs seem to me just a way for artists to get a little piece of the action from global capitalism, our own cute little version of financialisation. How sweet – now artists can become little capitalist assholes as well.
As ever with Brian Eno, the full interview is well worth reading – find it HERE.