Anika Meier
Institute of Fine Arts and Media Art, Digital Arts
2023W, artistic Seminar (SEK), 2.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S04978


Does a JPEG Have an Aura? A short history of NFTs

Is it just hype? Is that even art? What is happening with digital art on the market?

The media is all too fond of reporting that NFTs are either overpriced, worthless, or dead. What are NFTs anyway, and what do NFTs have to do with the history of digital art?

The blockchain and NFTs have radically changed digital art. There is suddenly a market for digital art, which until recently was difficult to sell. Now JPEGs are fetching record amounts in the millions. There is talk of geese and dragons, of punks and monkeys, of squiggles and gazers.

When the hype around NFTs began in 2021 following Beeple's auction at Christie's, there was talk of a revolution: the democratization of art. What happened to the revolution? Have NFTs actually helped democratize art?

The short history of NFTs begins with early blockchain art like Bitchcoin by Sarah Meyohas and the Jonas Lund Token by Jonas Lund and ends (currently) with the pioneers of algorithmic art like Vera Molnár and Herbert W. Franke. Yesterday's pioneers and today's avant-garde show how new technologies can be used artistically.

Key Words

Crypto, NFTs, Blockchain, hype, aura, jpeg, media art, electronic media


13 October 2023, 10:00–14:00 Seminarraum 31, GCP, 1 OG
17 November 2023, 10:00–13:00 Seminarraum 32, GCP, HP
17 November 2023, 14:00–17:00 Seminarraum 32, GCP, HP
19 January 2024, 10:00–14:00 Seminarraum 35, GCP, TP

Course Enrolment

Via online registration

Media Arts: Specialisation in Digital Arts (1. Section): Künstlerische Methodik und Technologie: Visualisierungsstrategien I - II 567/102.03

TransArts - Transdisciplinary Arts (Bachelor): Artistic and art technology foundations: Artistic and art technology foundations 180/002.01

Co-registration: not possible

Attending individual courses: not possible