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© 2020, KurFutureLab by Natalia Kur

The Power of Sharing

Natalia Kur, the founder of the KURFUTURELAB foundation, conducted an Instagram live broadcast with Olga Dvoretskaya, the producer of the DisArtive contemporary ART+TECH festival. They discussed the sharing economy in digital art. It is very valuable that teenagers familiar with contemporary art took part in the conversation. Analysts say that Generation Z does not want to own, but to use. Young consumers express the opposite point of view. A new generation of owners of art objects is ready to increase social status, thanks to the possession of unique art works. The sharing economy takes the form of selling digital art by subscription.

Consumers are willing to pay for the opportunity to become involved in the idea. A spirit of openness and accessibility reigns in the world of digital art. More unique objects are valued more. However, the collector will have to get used to the idea that, owning a virtual work of art, he possesses an object that others also enjoy. There is something to ponder, is not it?

To begin with, people have always been engaged in joint consumption. They invited relatives and friends to visit, allowed them to spend the night, and for a while shared things they did not use. Today, millions of people around the world already use the Airbnb rental service, the BlaBlaCar travel app, the Uber taxi booking service, the eBay online auction, and other products.

Museums, cinemas, theaters are the most important locations of the sharing economy. We pay money for a ticket to become involved in the idea, to experience emotions, to observe someone else’s life played out by actors, and also to receive answers to long-standing questions. Another example: it has become not so important for us to have music files on your phone or on your hard drive, as to have round-the-clock access to content, and this is possible thanks to a subscription to a music service.

The benefit of the sharing model is financial stability, which is built on human relationships, trust, and kindness. Sometimes, starting to share, you quickly realize that there are many opportunities around. They open when you overcome fear of strangers and understand that most people want to do good.

Recently, the sharing economy concept has been on the radar of the art world, mainly within the digital arts sector, prompted by the rising popularity of online platforms using blockchain to record provenance, as well as online marketplaces allowing artists to sell directly to collectors. As this area continues to develop, it’s worth taking a look at the models that are already working within the art market and explore where we can see this evolving.

One could claim that the sharing economy is not a new concept for the digital arts: new media artists are accustomed to sharing their work online and also providing code for common use within open source communities and forums. Recently though, the market has introduced new business models allowing artists to monetize their digital pieces and trade limited editions of digital works on blockchain-powered online marketplaces.

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