Little more than two years ago, a new art world appeared, and for many it came out of nowhere. This new world ignored museums, galleries, curators and critics (in short: the entire establishment), but arrived dripping with money and generated a lot of interest. The new art world (if it is indeed new) was based on a new technology (blockchain), had its own distribution system (Web3), unregulated aesthetic concepts (evident through NFTs), digital currencies (crypto currencies), new spaces for discussion, critique and promotion (Discord channels and Twitter) and new forms of participation. The reactions to this have been fierce, ranging from unbridled enthusiasm to categorical rejection, from exaggerated hopes to dark doomsday fantasies, from fascination with overnight wealth to criticism of energy consumption. The art world reacted indignantly with familiar accusations, “That’s not art!” or “It’s just commerce!” Years ago the bourgeoisie said the same thing about Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol.
Nevertheless, in the last few months more and more people were heard saying that maybe there was something to this movement after all. That there’s something interesting going on, and it has potential. They say that blockchain is here to stay, that it will be significant for the music industry, that NFTs might not catch on, that the technology allows novel forms of participation, that PFP (profile pictures) were cool but are already out, that the metaverse doesn’t really work yet and will be the next bubble, but that DAOs (decentralised autonomous organisations, a kind of digital global organisation technology) are the future, and so on. It is, in other words, an extremely vital, young, dynamic, contradictory, fascinating, problematic, creative, critical and critiqued field that many people want to know more about and are attracted to. The hunger is there, but many people haven’t found the information. For this reason, Kunsthalle Zürich has decided to dedicate one of the first ever institutional exhibitions of its kind to this world: DYOR.