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Episode 24
Art Collector and Facilitator Twobadour

  • 1 min read

Episode Description

1:07 - Art collector and facilitatorTwobadour discusses his background, his journey into crypto, the ability of NFTs to undo colonial damage and what the future holds. Twobadour and his business partner Metakovan became the subject of headlines worldwide this past March when the pair purchased Beeple’s “First 5000 Days” at a Christie’s auction for $69 million.

41:40 - The week's top art headlines.

Transcript

Craig: [00:00:10] This is Art Sense, a podcast focused on educating and informing listeners about the past, present and future of art. I'm Craig Gould. On today's episode, I speak with art collector and facilitator Twobadour, who, along with business partner Metakovan, became the subject of headlines worldwide this past March, when the pair purchased Beeple's "The First 5,000 Days" at a Christie's auction for $69 million. Twobadour discusses his background, his journey into crypto, the ability of NFTs to undo colonial damage and what the future holds. At the end of the episode I'll be taking a look at some of the week's top art headlines. But first up, what comes after the first 5000 days with Twobadour. 

Craig: [00:01:07] Twobadour, I'm thrilled to have you as a guest on the podcast today. I gather that six years ago, you wouldn't have anticipated being where you are today. And so I was wondering if we could start with maybe you describing your crypto journey.

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Twobadour: [00:01:21] Well, first off, thank you for having me. And it's a weird story, in a sense. I mean, my crypto story from many perspectives, at least from the conventional way people look at crypto, it is a series of missed opportunities. Because I was first introduced to bitcoin in 2013, very generously, I might add by MetaKovan, who discovered it himself. I was a journalist back then and MetaKovan, who was an app developer in January. So he and I were working on a project together, and he discovered bitcoin, and he told me all about it and it flew right over my head. And so that package of information that he shared with me was enough to give him wings and to set him off on a journey of entrepreneurship and discovery all over the world. And me, on the other hand, it left me completely unaffected, and it would be years about four years before we sort of found each other again and decided to work together on something. And we MetaKovan and I, we sort of we worked on a DeFi protocol for a little bit. I dove right into DeFi from twenty seventeen onwards, which was an interesting time to get into crypto because it was right at the brink of of a precipice from which crypto fell and didn't wake up for for two years.

Twobadour: [00:02:51] So it was. It's a nice leap of faith and also a good litmus test, you know, just to complete the loop, I finally found my groove only at the beginning of the pandemic when I discovered the NFT space. And this makes a lot of sense because this this also speaks to the power of the phenomenon of NFTs themselves, because crypto, as by itself is abstract. It's hard to understand, and it's accessible mostly to people who either know how to code or who are very comfortable with financial instruments. NFTs, on the other hand, suddenly make all of those abstract concepts of independent, you know, financial independence or the idea of immutability, and all of those things more vivid and visible. And I think the reason we're seeing this, this massive influx of people and interest and artists and creatives is, is that fact? And my own story is a perfect illustration

Craig: [00:03:56] Before you and Metakovan got together to create Metapurse. What exactly was your background? 

Twobadour: [00:04:05] Well, I was I was a journalist for about eight years, the first eight years of my video, because it felt obvious at the time because the only thing I didn't absolutely suck at was was communication was being able to write something I enjoyed. So I was I sort of gravitated towards it. It took me eight years to figure out that journalism as such was not my calling, but communications was, and I meandered my way through advertising to writing about supply chain finance. You know, inexplicably, I spent six months researching and writing about cargo trucks. I don't know the complete waste of my time, but there you have it. Before I stumbled upon crypto. The thing is, the ideas are the more I learned about money, the more socially and politically aware I became more crypto started to make sense.

Craig: [00:05:02] So for my listeners who aren't familiar with Metapurse, how would you describe your organization and its mission?

Twobadour: [00:05:11] It's something we think about constantly. The the organization itself is pretty simple. It's kind of a straightforward thing. It began as the way to consolidate intelligence in this space. That's that's how I can put it. Like, fairly accurately, MetaKovan had started collecting levies from me since since 2017 itself. But I think we sort of put a name to it in September of 2020 because by then I had sort of had my own battle journey as troubadour in the Metaverse. And we discovered over time that, you know, the way we look at NFT sort of converged at a certain point. And we decided to form metaverse to, you know, to to see how we can engage with this new phenomenon with this renaissance as we saw it. And so metaverse does a whole lot of things, but the idea is sort of twofold. At the most obvious level, it is an experiment in trying to engage with this renaissance. How do we be part of it? How do we empower it, drive it and empower the right people in it? And the other, I suppose the larger goal for us is to serve the cause of decolonial. You know, it's an idea propounded by the want to make no law, but it is something that we. Identify very strongly.

Craig: [00:06:52] So, you know, that brings up a good point. When when I saw you and Metakovan speak at NFT NYC, I feel like you two were laying out kind of a unique vision for Metapurse. And honestly, like a new world view, most people that they were on stage talking about superhero collectibles and sports card NFTs. But you two started talking about Walter Mignolo in folks like Alfredo Jaar. Can you talk a little bit more about decoloniality and how that integrates with Metapurse's mission?

Twobadour: [00:07:28] I mean, it is the culmination of years of empirical experience as well, right? Our own personal story in the world and in the space. It just so happens that we want to make. Nolan helped us give some sort of give us a word for it and some sort of structure to what we want to do in the world. Decolonial, I suppose the simplest way to describe it would be it's like unless your culture or your identity or your art can be described or expressed in one of five European languages, it is not considered culture or art. It just doesn't exist in the world. And. But India, where we come from, is a country of many countries and the India that you see or the West experiences is not something even I can relate to. Right. Because Bollywood is not me, I mean, chicken tikka masala is not me. Hindi is not me. I speak a language. I grew up in a culture which is currently being systematically sort of smothered in this wave of homogeneity and authoritarianism, which frankly, is rampant not just in India, but all across the world, right? So decolonial is the idea of sort of, I wouldn't say, changing the balance but bringing to the fore or bringing to the surface cultures which existed before, you know, the the original wave of colonialism sort of smothered them and also which the current wave of neo colonialism is sort of again threatening to smother them and into extinction, basically. So I mean, it's it all sounds a little bit dark, but the the light at the end of the tunnel and the happy accident is that this idea of decolonial happens to be best served by the NFT denizens, which is effectively, you know, an opportunity for the global south to express itself culturally rather than purely on ideological terms or, you know, on verbal terms or in in in a sort of angry manner, if you know what I mean.

Twobadour: [00:09:55] The the anger, all the frustration is inevitable. It's perfectly understandable. But what we realized is that it's it might not be entirely necessary and it might not be the best vehicle to, you know, to express yourself. I mean, art does it much better. Music is way more rugged in such environments, for instance, even at Dreamverse, right? I mean, two aspects of it, which which I thought made the whole experience worth it were one the life drawing performance by the Dada art collective. I mean, apart from amazing people like Judy, Man or Sparrow, it included three people from Latin America who had never been to the U.S. before that. I mean, it's just amazing. And what they created sort of it spoke to everybody that walked through those halls. And similarly, this Pradeep Kumar, who is from where you know, where I'm from and his collective of artists, you know, they performed live at DreamWorks because they created the soundscape of the whole thing. And what Pradeep and his 42 band of 42 artists from the hinterland of South India and what Dada created proved beyond doubt that to be able to appreciate the colonial art or culture you need not necessarily have some sort of a shared point of reference in that culture. You just drop it in an interesting place and you know, people will still enjoy it because art speaks a language like which doesn't require language. It's basically it's it hits you at something at a part of yourself that's pure and something that is unsullied by context. Does that make sense?

Craig: [00:11:55] You know, in the days following Metapurse's acquisition of the Beeple NFT, the big one, it seems that, you know, part of the messaging I was hearing from from you was that crypto allows for true decentralization in erasure of geographic power centers. And so by buying such a historic piece at such a historic price, you were kind of intending to challenge preconceptions about South Asian capabilities. Did I get that right? Would you agree with that?

Twobadour: [00:12:28] Yes, I would agree with that. But what we discovered later on, I mean, first off, yes. While that might not have been our original intention when we went into the auction because it couldn't have been right, because even we had no idea that it would go all the way to 60 million dollars. I mean, we there was no. The only thing we work towards as we walked into that option was to make sure Christie's didn't give us some sort of a ceiling on how much we could spend. But otherwise, you know, we had no grand intentions or, you know, to to sort of signal this message. It was more a realization than an intention towards adoption. So yes, in a sense, when you think of accomplishment, when you think of taste meeting in the world, the ballot is usually monochrome, usually Caucasian. So it must have come as a surprise to a lot of people. And it did, and we did have some interesting and very mixed reactions. I mean, the questions about the legitimacy of the sale itself, which is which is funny because I mean, Christie's is probably the most legitimate platform there is when it comes to art. Historically speaking, I mean, I'm sure you know, many blockchain based platforms can and do give them a run for their money when it comes to privacy, when it comes to arbitrary ceilings on how much a person can spend on their platform.

Twobadour: [00:14:07] But they have a ton of questions about the legitimacy of the sale. There were questions about whether it was art or not. There were very serious questions about our own legitimacy as people, whether we were genuine, whether it was cameras and so on and so forth. But these are mostly expressions of disbelief that someone that looked or thought like us could do something of the kind that we did. So, yes, it is very much a message, but, you know, post the Beeple incident, as we call it, and what we also realized is that it? Paint a very. One dimensional picture, not just of what happened, but also of us for intentions in this space, right? And it's difficult to move away from that narrative. There is no room for nuance. All you see is a massive number of $69 million and that you know that almost overwhelming collage of of work. That's it. So all of our ideas of of decoloniality, of what we want to do through Metapurse in the world, they sort of get lost in that noise.

Twobadour: [00:15:23] And we found, you know, that it's it's been a sort of a little anticlimactic in that sense, right? We are happy about the access that it opened up, about the doors that it kicked open for us because we wouldn't have had many of the relationships which we now cherish. Some of them are the biggest artists in the world, which is what we always wanted to do. Some of them are, you know, creatives with entrepreneurs that we have now begun to enjoy working with would not have happened without the Beeple piece. But on the other hand, it also opened up its signal something that did not, and that never will sort of represent who we are. It signaled that we might be these hype masters of the NFT space. And I mean, I'm sure you would you among many people were surprised that, you know what? We spoke about it in NYC. I mean, these don't look like the kind of people that would speak about want to Mignola or Alfredo Jaar. I mean, someone who is inspired by them doesn't necessarily go and spend $69 million on a work of art. So we thought of trying to counterbalance that narrative, which we sort of created for ourselves inadvertently.

Craig: [00:16:42] Do you feel like some of the skepticism when the Beeple incident first occurred may have had to do something with the fact that your identities weren't revealed right away and when the identities were revealed, we're talking about pseudonyms? And I feel like in the crypto world, people are comfortable with the pseudonyms and the screen names, but in the legacy art world, that could be confusing. Could you maybe talk about the significance of your pseudonym and why you use it?

Twobadour: [00:17:08] Sure. I mean, that was deliberate because part of it and I don't think the conventional art world is necessarily uncomfortable with pseudonyms because many of the biggest things are anonymous, right? I mean, a mystery buyer bought this piece for 10 million or 20 or whatever, so it's not uncommon that way. It's, funnily enough, anonymity people are okay with pseudonymity, not so much, in spite of it being like a very widespread phenomenon. I mean, think about it for a second. Every time you log into a social network or you sign up for a game on Xbox or PS4 or whatever, the first thing you do is to create an avatar. Right? But the problem is, when you do it in crypto, it is either infantilized or vilified. So we sort of wanted to break that mold a little bit and and to give people a sense that liberty is not necessarily, you know, a cover or something that you're hiding behind because it doesn't have to be, I mean, our own pseudonyms. We're not whenever airtight. We never meant to be anybody with an internet connection with the dark stuff. And eventually, because we work on the same things that MetaKovan and work on the same things that Onon did, for instance. So it was easy, but it more a sort of a commentary on the power of pseudonyms. I mean, for me personally and even for MetaKovan, what pseudonyms did was to give us a nonjudgmental runway into this new world of NFTs, which is unheard of when, as Twobadour, I was able to exist for six months and it was thrilling.

Twobadour: [00:18:59] I couldn't bring any baggage, any of my previous so-called accomplishments or credentials into this new space. But at the I had to live off of my current talent. I mean, meager as they might be. But on the other hand, there was no baggage. There was no point of reference for the people interacting with me, except for that one conversation they were having with me, which which I thought was thrilling, which was honest, which was refreshing. And that runway did so much to sort of infuse my own sense of excuse me, with a sense of self-worth, which I might not have asked before. And also a confidence in what I could do in this new space. So, you know, in that way, I. Pseudonyms have been incredibly helpful to to ask for money, and I think will be for a lot of people of color or people that are not entirely comfortable in their own skin. So, you know, to cut a long story short, yes, I do think there is a lot of stigma attached to pseudonyms in the world which which might have been one of the reasons for the skepticism, but the reason we went with it is because of our own empirical experience, with pseudonyms.

Craig: [00:20:20] Maybe we could talk a little bit about people. I mean, even before The First 5000 days, you guys had launched a fund called B20, which was set up to purchase Beeple works. What is it about people's artwork that attracted you and Metakovan?

Twobadour: [00:20:36] Well, a correction, Craig. B20 is not a fund to purchase Beeple's artworks. It's a very simple project in fractionalized ownership. This was in December 2020, and Metakovan bought had this idea of buying out an entire collection from a Beeple drop. It's frankly a ridiculous notion to because to be able to acquire 20 pieces over two days on an open auction is unheard of. It's never been done before, and it will never happen again because the place is simply too big now. But we managed to do it and we did it because we had a clear idea of what we wanted to do with art. You know, that's that's the crux of the whole experiment, right? I mean, the only way people know to interact with artists to want to flip it for a higher price and to IS to, you know, sort of lock it up somewhere. The third option, which we wanted to explore was to, you know, to share ownership of a work of art and to display it in public, which is how it was done historically. So what we did with these 20 editions of of the Beeple 20, as it was called, was to build museums for it in the metaverse, across crypto walkthroughs and sandbox and some new space. And Decentraland, I mean, sandbox was an open. But the other three places we installed these 20 works of art in them. We bundled the whole thing and we fractionalized the ownership of this entire bundle into these 20 tokens. So it's very simple. It's almost like owning a piece of the MoMA as you walk into it. So you don't own a particular work of art, but you own a piece of the entire experience. That's what the B20 token and the project represent.

Craig: [00:22:41] I think I got the order backwards. In my mind, the B20 tokens were launched to fund the acquisition, but the B20 tokens were launched post-acquisition to provide fractionalized ownership to whoever had interest in the collection. Does that sound right?

Twobadour: [00:22:58] The collection and the the whole experience, basically the B20 bundle also includes a sort of an original video, a soundscape by Blau at that point who also helped form it. It includes the architectural designs of those museums. It includes the actual bills themselves, and it includes also the actual 20 pieces. So it's not just the 20 works of art which were which, which we acquired for about $2.2 million, but also all of these other assets which make up the experience for which we spent an additional half a million

Craig: [00:23:40] Beeple's First 5000 Days, in the weeks following the sale there were those who comb through all five thousand images and made note of a number of works that were, say, troubling and some were considered misogynistic. Some said there were pieces that were racist. How would you respond to those critics?

Twobadour: [00:24:02] It's interesting that I mean, I have had several conversations about this, but. You know, we always looked at it from two perspectives. One, it might seem counterintuitive, but the fact is we what appealed to us most about Beeple the artist was Beeple the person. You know, his almost spiritual level of consistency to creating art every day for art's sake. I mean, nobody has that kind of consistency, that kind of commitment. People, I mean, I myself have have skipped shouting over the course of five years, at least a couple of times. There is nothing any of us do, which happens every day. Right? And so  this, we felt, was a powerful metaphor for a digital generation which said, you know, you can start anywhere. You can get better at something like gradually and very visibly better with something and you hit the end of the rainbow, whether it's at the end of a year or five or 13. So that's we thought that was an amazing metaphor. And that's what appealed to us most about Beeple. The fact that he put himself out there, his progress or lack thereof every day for people to see, and he did get better as an artist. So that that's what I need to do to address the elephant in the room, the individual pictures themselves. You know, I've I spent two things about it. One, it's not my business to censor what an artist puts out, but to I have this feeling that Beeple is more a conduit for the social and cultural excesses of his times, rather than an advocate of what those images represent. Yes, there is misogyny. There is an excess that is hyperbolic, but he's more, you know, a cartoonist that reflects the influences around him on a daily basis, rather than someone who actually sort of advocates for misogyny. Because I've met the man and he he's not a misogynist. It doesn't feel like it.

Craig: [00:26:22] Sure. And I believe he was at Dreamverse, right?

Twobadour: [00:26:25] Yes.

Craig: [00:26:26] And so, yeah. Can you kind of describe what Dreamverse is and how that event came off this year?

Twobadour: [00:26:33] Yeah, sure. I mean it again. We never fully finished thinking about how we could experience NFTs. I mean, this current boom in the space that we that we're experiencing is all about collecting or acquiring activities. I think the real boom will happen when people figure out how to experience, enjoy their activities. And Dreamverse is one of those, you know, Ernie and B2C was one such experiment. And Dreamverse is a very real sort of physics experiment in expediency. And because I mean, physical art is not digital art, obviously, but digital art can be expressed in physical spaces, and it was so exciting to be able to do that to be able to experiment with it at Dreamverse. So Dreamverse is basically, I mean, the way we look at it is what happens when this abstract virtual idea of NFT makes landfall. And it did make landfall in New York. It had two aspects to it. One was the dream was reality, which consisted of works from one hundred and sixty two artists and 50 artists. That itself was incredible to me because it was purely based on the relationship that we were able to build with artists. It was purely based on artists themselves being comfortable with the vibe of meticulous with what we represented in this space, and we are immensely grateful that they said yes, all 162 of them, and out of them, 40 of the artists are from from timepieces.

Twobadour: [00:28:13] The initiative by the Time Magazine, the Time Group and the latter half of Dreamverse was easy in part because we just wanted to create a collective experience basically through the gallery as well. I mean, one of the things with digital art is that, yes, you can look at it on your phone, but the experience is different when you're looking at it on, say, a, you know, a 10 foot screen with 20 others. So that's what that sort of moment of magic and serendipity is what we wanted to create. You know, the dream was going to be also like we spoke about little earlier had this life drawing performance by the Dada art collective. It had a live soundscape by the pun collective from from south of India and a whole bunch of artists that are not in the line. Currently or not that famous because we let the nine to 10 artists instead of trying to do it ourselves. That was one of my earlier concerns. I did not want to curate anything. Maybe my sensibilities are very limited, so I want to do that. So we start with 10 of the O.G. NFT artists like Josie Bellini, you know, scheming, metabolized and a few others. And they did. They chose 10 artists that they admired in the space that they thought were interesting or promising, which is which led to this incredible variance in the kind of artists that we were able to showcase.

Twobadour: [00:29:56] So I'm very proud of the gallery itself and how we pulled it off. And the party was, you know, basically an EDM concert with a very interesting performance we had. Please and thank you. You know, we had an S.O. as the headline performer, we had Matthew Bentley. So it was very interesting. And as part of it, we also launched a couple of things. We had one, you know, an experimental experience by Carsten Höller called seven Hertz. So that was that is an interesting experience as well. And we also sort of, you know, made a hat tip to the people five thousand because that's that kind of started all of it. So, you know, the only version of the people 5000 that we've seen so far is that is that collage, right? Which which which is frankly kind of overwhelming and very undeserved in terms of detail. So we had two and a half minute video where it zoomed out, zoomed in and out of key elements, which sort of traced people's own journey through some of the motifs that he used in these works of art. So this was it was an experiment in experiencing any of these in the physical world.

Craig: [00:31:22] So is this going to be an annual event? Do you think that it will continue to coincide with NFT NYC? Or do you think it would be something that will take place more more frequently? We'll move around the world. What what do you think? What's the future of Dreamverse?

Twobadour: [00:31:39] It's definitely going to be an annual event. I'm not entirely sure it might always sort of stain NFT NYC. Maybe it might in DevCon, I don't know, or something, but it most definitely will be an annual event. And. I also foresee it having a lot of satellite events sort of spread. Throughout the year, because it just feels like it, I think we ought to have smaller pockets and experiments of Dreamverse itself, which all culminate into this big annual event in New York. That's kind of how I see it in my head. But it's some version of it or versions of it definitely happen every year.

Craig: [00:32:31] So in your opinion, what makes a good piece of crypto art? What do you think?

Twobadour: [00:32:39] It's interesting. OK. Yeah, I think it's the same as asking what makes a good piece of art, right? It's whatever moves you, whatever speaks to you is good art. It's as simple as that. I mean, if if you're asking me from the perspective of an investor, I wouldn't be able to tell you because because of medical and thanks to him, I had the privilege of never looking at art as an investment, but rather as as a vehicle for for a story, as a vehicle, for an intention in the space. And that's how I will always continue to look at it. So even even the way we've collected art over time is has, I think, evolved. You add layers of context, both historical and about the artists themselves to your own experience of being able to buy art in many ways. I sort of regret having lost that initial freshness, maybe of being completely overwhelmed and of of not knowing what I'm looking at. I don't think I will ever regain that feeling. But on the other hand, I'm immensely grateful for the relationships that I formed with artists, which I think is unique to the NFT space. You can actually have a dialog. With the artist, and I think to sum it up, a good piece of crypto art is your ability to the ability of, you know, of connection of you being able to connect with the work of art and then being able to extend that connection to the artist. Also, to be able to complete that loop is what makes a work of art truly good.

Craig: [00:34:36] Sure. So do you feel like you have sensed a change in your taste over the last, say, year and a half? You know, as you've looked at more and more work, do you feel like your taste is refined or you know, or what do you think?

Twobadour: [00:34:54] I wouldn't. Yeah, it definitely has changed. I wouldn't use the word defined, essentially, but it has evolved into something and it continues to. I just hope for the better, in a sense, but it definitely has changed.

Craig: [00:35:11] So what do you see in store for the future of the NFT space? What do you think is on the horizon?

Twobadour: [00:35:18] Oh, so much. So much. I mean, there is a larger vision, and I think it will address the collective good eventually. But it's going to be incremental. It's going to be over a period of time. I'm speaking of this in abstract and not specifically in terms of projects that are out there because I think that's important as well, because there are very powerful forces, very powerful trends that you know, that people tend to fall over and it's very difficult not to feel that feeling of FOMO, right? But I think they will give way to initiatives and ideas and projects that have a much more long term vision, even within the NFT space. And it's hard to do that because in a space that changes and evolves so quickly to come up with an idea or a concept that can sort of subsume any current trend that so happens to, you know, come about and sort of hold its own is rare. And I think projects of that sort, which which are determinedly decentralized, which are determinedly long term in their vision, which have a certain percentage of ambiguity in how they will unfold, which don't necessarily fill a vacuum that exists right now, but address a sort of a necessity which will arise a year from now or two will be very interesting.

Twobadour: [00:36:54] And I think that's what the NFT space has in store for us. I also think there will be a larger realization of the actual potential of NFTs in being. Time capsules and vehicles for culture and as the, you know, probably the best archival tools that ever existed in human history, which which hasn't happened yet. And the third aspect that I see unfolding in front of us is this idea of. Collectively experiencing any of these in interesting and different ways. Dreamgirls is just the beginning of it, so people know that you can experience the work of art on on massive screens that you can experience it collectively that you can look at it on. You know, you can make a spectacle out of it. You can make it immersive and you can do it in a physical space. So there's going to be a lot more of that also, I think.

Craig: [00:37:51] And so what about what about roadblocks? What what hurdles do you think will need to be overcome for the space to reach its full potential?

Twobadour: [00:38:00] I don't see any roadblocks as such. To be honest, it's just that everything has a certain size and timeline. Everything has a time to unfold. I mean, there are a variety of factors involved, of course. I mean, some of them are the speed at which the technology itself grows, for instance. I mean, the first time I think people spoke about scaling on a tree was in twenty seventeen, the first time I heard it. Anyway, it was a massive discussion at token summit in 2017. And the feeling and the mood at the time was scaling was imminent. It could arrive any day over the next two weeks or three weeks, and we're still waiting for it. So sometimes technology doesn't catch up with the enthusiasm of the collective. Some of the roadblocks might be regulatory, but I think if you really think about it and open your eyes to what's in front of you, it's a it's a matter of time. There are no real roadblocks as such, but just it's all part of the process.

Craig: [00:39:09] And so Twobadour, I really appreciate your time. If my listeners wanted to, to follow your work, there at Metapurse, support your work, how is the best way for them to keep track?

Twobadour: [00:39:24] Well, we're always available on on on Twitter, @metapurse, @twobadour. But you know, we actually get getting better at trying to talk about ourselves. If you are looking for a place where you can find where you want to find our story, where you want to discover our story. It really doesn't exist. I can't point you to a single resource. Maybe this podcast is is a is a is an excellent place to start. Sure. But that's something that happened over a period of time. But if you want to follow what we're doing. Feel free to follow metaphors. Feel free to subscribe to our Substack, which is sort of good set of blogs which you find interesting. We do a weekly sort of Twitter spaces or a clubhouse thing called NFT Radio, which. Do we want to sort of amp up over a period of time? That's interesting. And if you look at the archives on an deal, especially in both, the people say, you know, you can find some of the most amazing organizations with the smartest people in the NFT space. So those are all interesting resources. I can point you

Speaker2: [00:40:39] Well Twobadour. I can't wait. You know, a year or two down the line when I can, I have a fractional ownership and an Alfredo Jaar NFT that that you somehow bring.

Twobadour: [00:40:55] Amen, Craig. Amen.

Craig: [00:40:57] All right. Well, I tell you what, I again really appreciate your time and your willingness to be open and transparent, enlightening about where you guys have come from and the vision of decoloniality and a new world out there ahead of us. And so I really appreciate your time, sir.

Twobadour: [00:41:17] Thank you. This was a pleasure. I'm glad. I'm glad we ran into each other at NFT NYC.

Craig: [00:41:23] Absolutely. Me too.

Craig: [00:41:34] And now the news.

Craig: [00:41:40] April 15th, two thousand nineteen, what could be worse than having to file your taxes? How about having to file your taxes while watching live footage from Paris of a massive fire laying waste to the cathedral Notre-dame, the iconic French Gothic structure has been at the center of Paris's identity for eight hundred years and is currently in the middle of a massive restoration project that will replace huge sections of the structure that were destroyed by the fire. Most catastrophic of the damage were the enormous wooden beams that held up the church's roof and supported the massive lead coated spire that towered three hundred and fifteen feet above Paris. Architects are taking great care to reconstruct these areas, using period correct materials and techniques to do so. France went hunting for tall, straight, sturdy trees. They found their trees in France's forayed bears. France began harvesting one thousand of these massive two hundred and thirty year old oaks in March of this year, some of which will be capable of making beams as long as 60 feet. The trees are all currently in an 18 month drying process, necessary before they can be cut into beams. Meanwhile, plans are being made that would reimagine the interior of the cathedral. Plans that are garnering a fair amount of criticism some critics are even comparing the proposed changes to something Disney would dream up in.

Craig: [00:43:13] In case you're wondering, that's not a compliment. The art newspaper recently published an article that provided a succinct description of what has people at odds. And I'll read you a segment. Although the project has not been formally announced, Father Gil on provided an overview during an online conference in May for the General Secretariat of Catholic Education in France, which has been posted on YouTube. Last Friday, the British Conservative newspaper The Telegraph denounced the reimagined Notre-Dame as a politically correct Disneyland and an experimental showroom. Father Drew on, the director of the Liturgical Institute of Paris, said during the presentation that he was chosen two years ago by the Archbishop of Paris, Michael Opti, to revamp the inner space of the cathedral. He proposes a sound and light trail along the side chapels, providing a fruitful dialog with contemporary art. He plans to replace the straw chairs, which occupy 80 percent of the space with luminous mobile benches. Most of these could be removed during weekdays to leave more room for visitors. Altars in the chapel would also be displaced and only for confessionals maintained on the ground floor. Jeron explained that Notre-Dame was not adapted to cope with large numbers of tourists, which rose to 12 million before the cathedral was devastated by fire in 2019.

Craig: [00:44:50] Visitors come for different reasons, most of them from non-Christian or post-Christian cultures. So the chapels, some of which could be renamed after Asia, Africa and other themes, should display multiple offerings, such as light projections of Bible quotes in foreign languages, including Chinese drone show designs featuring a stained glass window in a chapel wall covered in contemporary abstract paintings of clouds. So what is most confusing in this text is the conflict and visions for the architecture and the interior. Painstaking care is being taken to restore the cathedral's architecture to its historical design, while a separate team has been charged with making the interior space more contemporary. It's unclear how many people want to go to a historical monument to experience a contemporary space, and there are considerations as to whether the interior should be considered a sacred space or a tourist destination. Paris based architect Maurice Kullu, the author of several books on religious architecture in the 18th century, has plenty to say about the proposed changes. He says it does not make any sense. We're rebuilding the cathedral and the spire, as it was with ancient materials like Stone, Wood and Lead, and now we'll have a theme park for foreign tourists inside. Why wasn't the design entrusted to the same architects to maintain unity between the inside and outside of the building? How could a priest choose on his own the interior decoration of a cathedral that belongs to the universal heritage of humanity and is being rebuilt with? Nations coming from all over the world, the Reich's museum, the National Museum of the Netherlands, is planning the largest exhibit of Vermeer paintings to date.

Craig: [00:46:50] It's anticipated that the exhibit will include twenty three paintings by the master of the Dutch Golden Age. This might not sound massive, but consider that we can only identify thirty five paintings as being crafted by Johann Vermeer. The story of Vermeer is a rather mysterious one. We don't know that much about him. He didn't paint that many pieces. He was not especially appreciated in his time. He was lost to the margins of art history before being rediscovered with great enthusiasm. Two hundred and fifty years later, in the eighteen hundreds in the story only gets more odd. Painting has always been a skill passed down through studios and apprenticeships. It appears Vermeer's father was an art dealer, but there's no indication that Vermeer studied painting under anyone's tutelage. It's hard to imagine a self-taught artist being able to render the near photorealistic scenes that Vermeer captures in what's most amazing to me. A painter is what we see when Vermeer's paintings are x rayed x raying, and spectral analysis is common when trying to authenticate a painting.

Craig: [00:48:03] The x ray image provides a vivid detail of the drawing at the heart of a painting. If a painting is an original, there's not only the drawing that matches the painting exactly, but also indications of where the artist's changed his or her mind and added to his original concept. Art forgeries, on the other hand, typically don't exhibit these traits because forgeries are typically painted as copies, so the painting is planned ahead of time with no deviation. So back to the Vermeer. What is the drawing look like under a Vermeer? Nothing. The x rays show no preliminary drawings, no signs of construction. It's as if Vermeer applied colors onto the surface like a laser printer. If I've piqued your curiosity, I'd suggest seeing the excellent documentary Tim's Vermeer. The movie is an engrossing chronicle of a person who finds clues, forms a hypothesis, and films himself undertaking an experiment unlike anything I've ever seen. You can rent or purchase it on Amazon Prime. In case you grow tired of sappy hallmark holiday movies this Christmas season.

Craig: [00:49:24] That's all the time we have for this week. You've been listening to art since you can find the show on Apple Podcasts, iTunes,Google Play, Stitcher Radio, Spotify or your favorite podcast app. If you've enjoyed this podcast, be sure to subscribe. And while you're there, please rate show and leave a quick review. Your feedback is the key to other folks finding us. If you'd like to see images related to the conversation, read a transcript and find other bonus features. You can go to Canvia Art. And click on the Podcast tab. If you'd like to reach out to me, you can email me at Craig at Canvia. Art, thanks for listening.

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