The COVID-19 pandemic forced the art world to adapt and find new ways to showcase and share art. Physical spaces for art exhibitions were limited due to movement restrictions and lockdowns, but this led to a surge in online art activities and the emergence of digital art.
Art Fair Philippines, a well-known event in the local art scene, quickly shifted to an online platform for its 2021 edition. The event highlighted digital art, which garnered triple the number of visitors compared to its physical exhibitions. This revelation was a testament to the presence of a strong digital art and crypto art community in the Philippines.
The pandemic also opened doors for newer and younger artists who may have been overlooked in the traditional art system. Galleries and festivals recognized the potential of the digital world as a breeding ground for talent and adjusted to the times embracing technology. Many galleries started integrating the best features of technology into their existing art systems, allowing for innovative approaches and interactions with art.
Blockchain technology has also been explored as a means to combat art forgery. Fundacion Sanso is looking into using smart contracts to verify the authenticity of artworks. By documenting the works on the blockchain, the provenance of each artwork can be preserved every time it changes ownership.
Artificial intelligence (AI) tools have also become valuable tools for artists. ChatGPT and Midjourney, among others, provide artists with new ideas and help them execute their artworks in traditional ways. However, there are concerns about plagiarism when these tools draw heavily from publicly available works without the original artists’ consent.
To address these copyright issues, galleries like Galeria Paloma only allow artists to use AI tools if the data sets fed into the tools are created the same artist. The goal is to legitimize the digital art community and ensure proper recognition of their work as fine art.
While online platforms have played a significant role during the pandemic, physical spaces remain important in the art world. Art Fair Philippines acknowledges the joy of appreciating and perusing art live, which is why they anticipate a big comeback of their audience in 2023. Malls, which have transformed their spaces into exhibition areas, also recognize the value of immersive experiences and plan to continue providing them.
The pandemic may have initially created challenges for the art world, but it has also paved the way for innovation and the integration of technology. The digital art community is flourishing, and the collaborative efforts between the traditional and digital art worlds have the potential to benefit the greater art market.
– Brontë H. Lacsamana, “Art and its digital embrace: Innovations in the Philippine art world,” BusinessWorld, April 15, 2023.