The Unique One Network Team didn’t know what to expect when we released the news of the Burned Picasso on mainstream media — The responses were a mixed bag ranging from elation to horror:
“This is epic!”
“Welcome to the Multiverse!”
“What? You’re burning a Picasso?”
“What a stupid idea this is, it should be punishable by law.”
Unfortunately, some commentators may not have had the benefit of a more thorough explanation for why anyone would want to “destroy” a work created by a renowned master.
The idea is to preserve the piece by making it immutable and transferring the value from the real world into the NFT Metaverse. — Decentricity
This is exactly how Flobo Boyce responded in a fascinating interview on Knew Amsterdam Radio with Unique One Network’s Art Curator, Pandu Sastrowardoyo, (or @decentricity as she is known in the Multiverse.)
But the purpose of this message to the Unique One Network Community is to both respond to some of the questions asked — and to further explain the mysterious Burned Picasso project.
Who is Burning a Picasso?
Over ramen and sake in the RiNo Arts District of Denver, a UON Team founding member and a founder of the art collective Fractal Studios agreed to auction the Burned Picasso NFT on the Unique.One Art Marketplace.
To be clear, The Burned Picasso project is the brainchild of Fractal Studios, the Unique One Art Marketplace is merely the venue for the NFT auction.
The authentic work by Pablo Picasso was displayed in a gallery in Denver. At the end of its viewing in the gallery, the piece was burned and put on auction on the Unique One Art Marketplace v2.
But an interesting event occurred during the burn. According to Fractal Studios, the Picasso itself was still recognizable in its ash form, and next to Picasso’s still legible signature, a perfect heart appeared.
So, Fractal Studios gathered up the ashes and an additional NFT of the post-burned work was minted and added to the auction.
The winner of The Burned Picasso NFT will receive both the pre-burn and post-burn NFTs.
The auction is set to end roughly 20 days from the date that this article is published. To make a bid, go here.
Now let’s get to the why…
Why the f*< would you Burn a Picasso?
When Flobo questioned Decentricity about burning great works of art in the above-mentioned interview, he had an excellent point.
“Why the burning?… Why do the one thing that is basically married to censorship when it comes to destroying art and destroying parts of the culture?”
That “burning” itself is indeed related to “censorship” throughout history can’t be denied. But “burning” and “censorship” are merely correlated there. To burn is not necessarily to censor.
We ask you to set aside this relationship as a semantic ambiguity in order to understand a different kind of phenomenon that occurs in the blockchain space where burning can mean more than destruction — It can mean creative destruction.
What is reality?
Could you say that the internet is a part of your daily reality? If you’re reading this, we’re going to assume that it is.
It’s a rare individual today who’s not at least leveraging Web2.0 to foster social connections, engage in gaming and metaworlds, conduct business, and streamline services. For this reason, it’s not a controversial statement to say that there are a variety of digital realities we spend time in.
If there is one thing we’ve learned from the pandemic, it’s that a meeting of minds does not require physicality. In fact, physicality can actually detract from it. — Decentricity
Human connections are real. Take social media and chat apps for instance — Aren’t these all just mini low-quality Metaverses on their own? Aren’t these real relationships? Don’t they exist?
The art of human relationships is a meeting of minds. The Metaverse takes it a step further than just applications — The social experiences are real.
Transference of Value via Creative Destruction
While a blockchain in and of itself can be decentralised, separate blockchains generally live in silos in that they can’t really talk to each other or transfer value and data. Blockchain developers around the world are feverishly working on solutions to create a purely decentralised, interoperable, blockchain ecosystem.
One way to move assets back and forth across blockchains today is to use a cross-chain bridge. But to move assets back and forth from one blockchain to another via a bridge requires a bit of creative destruction.
In a typical decentralised cross-chain bridge scenario, tokens from one chain are locked on their native chain via smart contract. Then an equivalent number/value of tokens are minted on the new blockchain.
But what happens if the token holder wants to move their tokens back to the native chain? In this case, the new tokens are burned to release the locked tokens. In general terms, the burning of one token initiates the existence of another.
It’s important to note in this example that the value of the token isn’t burned, it’s transferred.
Reality as a Metaverse
With the Burned Picasso, Fractal Studios is taking it a step further by acknowledging reality as a chain. By burning the Picasso and minting its corresponding NFT, the NFT becomes the store of value and the provenance of the original artwork passes to Web3.0.
An artwork’s provenance is what helps create its value. Physical objects can have provenance, but provenance requires a chain of knowledge to exist. If not recorded or remembered, provenance is unknown. As humanity moves towards creating more prolific digital realities, what happens to physical provenance for future generations?
Data on the blockchain is immutable. It cannot be forgotten. (If reality has less proof of provenance than the blockchain, is it less real?)
The focus, then, is not on the destruction, it’s on the transition. It’s actually a coincidence that the physical act of “burning” is also related to “censorship.” From the blockchain perspective, burning is what we do to transform value from one side to the other.
So, while it may mean different things to different people, from Fractal Studios’ and Unique One Network’s perspective, the destruction of the Picasso is required to bridge its value and provenance to another version.
In this respect, moving aspects of our life from in-world to Web3.0 doesn’t destroy them, it transforms them. And for those enthusiasts who believe in the inevitable supremacy of Web3.0 and blockchain interoperability, it preserves them for future generations.
Who will Survive the Web3.0 Revolution?
The artists we worship today are only great in our reality because we know about them. We’re aware of their provenance. But a child does not learn about Kandinsky through osmosis. The knowledge must be recorded somewhere and handed down.
Obsolescence for any artist can be a kind of artistic death. In a technological revolution, those antiquities and great works that survive through digital transformation can avoid obsolescence.
In this respect, one might consider it an honour to make it across the Web3.0 bridge and live on forever in the Multiverse.
Perhaps that’s why the heart appeared next to Picasso’s name after the burn.
The Metaverse is real just as much as Bitcoin is real. If you don’t think Bitcoin is real, send me your Bitcoin. — Decentricity — 15UdQzkFiDhHeWZqk4oPCLMPZv21o6mmyk
Picasso’s extensive works were beyond influential. The Burned Picasso is preserving a single piece by making it immutable on the blockchain forever.