Alexander E. Brunner, a digital asset and blockchain specialist, is one of the forces behind the ‘Etter Edition 01’ NFT project along with Christian Etter, co-founder of the Digital Art Museum in Zurich. Together they created a work that connects blockchain-technology and digital interactive art with the physical world, intimately joining generative art with decentralized tokens and expanding the NFT universe into the physical realms.
Alexander has a vast knowledge on the subject and he put together the framework needed for this project to happen, in an effort to also give collectors the joy of acquiring an ever-changing physical object and the confidence of a digital token that validates ownership. We took the opportunity to ask him some questions in relation to his work:
1. What made you get involved with crypto in the first place?
Well, pure luck. Back in 2016 I worked for a family office in Zurich. Someone told me about new and unknown crypto startups in Zug. So I went to have a look. That is how I fell down the proverbial rabbit hole of crypto and blockchain!
2. How do you see crypto and art connecting going forward and what made you decide to work on an NFT project?
Technology has been shaping our lives for many years. I have been a patron of artists for many years and when I saw the intersection of art and technology in the form of NFT, I knew I wanted to be involved in a collaborative effort. The amazing thing about NFT projects is that it allows for fantastic co-creative projects at the intersection of new technology and fine arts. It is so democratic and open!
What NFT has done for the digital or generative art ecosystem is it brings into prominence and enables new ways of collaboration as well as commercial outreach. In fact, it has brought an entire new generation of people to art, making them collectors.
I am not an artist by all means but regard myself as a co-creator. NFTs allow me to collaborate with fantastic artists while enticing an entire new set of audience. It is so creative, I love it!
3. It seems that traditional collectors are sometimes doubting the value of NFT and the metaverse in comparison to physical works, so they prefer to collect the latter. What is your take on this?
Historically generative or digital art always struggled to get the same recognition as traditional art. Even though there have been amazing artists, among them the Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist, who have been using new media. You can argue that the aesthetics have changed but art always was interested in digital expressions. NFT has changed that perception!
I understand that the speculative and highly volatile side of the recent NFT boom has created some critics. However, art should be a response to new trends in our society. Therefore, I see NFT not as new art per se but as a new instrument to express conceptual ideas around collaboration, community, ownership and how work is being distributed.
4. Are Swiss people investing in NFTs and are they confident buying or doing transactions in cryptocurrencies?
Switzerland is at the forefront of the blockchain technology. It is a fertile ecosystem with successful entrepreneurs and investors. Many of them have taken a big interest in NFTs. The NFT boom has generated an immense interest even among traditional institutions such as the Zurich art museum. So absolutely yes, I have seen very strong interest in our NFT projects that is novel in the sense that it operates at the intersection of physical and digital art.