Art for the cryptocurrency world - an interview with Vesa Kivinen

By Etienne Verbist - Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Art for the cryptocurrency world - an interview with Vesa Kivinen

The world of cryptocurrency is relatively new. Not a lot of quality art has been produced about it and for the people who have benefitted from being the early adopters of this realm.

Art for the cryptocurrency world - an interview with Vesa Kivinen

The world of cryptocurrency is relatively new. Not a lot of quality art has been produced about it and for the people who have benefitted from being the early adopters of this realm. 

EVB: Who are you and WHY do you do what you do?

Vesa Kivinen: An integral artist exploring new technologies and cultural paradigm shift opportunities. My favourite philosopher Alan Watts said:” I do what I do because I dig it.”  - the rest is about transforming this world to a better integral ride for all. 

EVB: What’s your goal?

VK: Currently my focus is to integrate blockchain, crypto, VR and AI to a seemless art experience. The impact of the ability to make powerful projects with these new technologies will explode the value of art to a new level through mass participation in the coming years. My goal is to be among the pioneers to do so on a large scale and make a difference to people’s lives.

“Hello” – gives an art face to the ad bots many experience online and the future of AI.

 “Flower of Life” from the Veena Malik project which reached around 300 million people and changed the world in terms of what is possible for individuals regardless of their place of birth and cultural rules. 

Some news outlets that featured it:

“Red Eye” demo 

EVB: What will be the IMPACT of what you do?

VK: I have to talk about the bigger picture first in order to attempt to discuss my impact. The art piece “Goldrush” explores where we are at, but the subtext allows for a deeper understanding of what is going on underneath it. At first glance the is about crypto miners and the ongoing digital goldrush resembling the dot com bubble creation. Generally mining is now perveiced to be a waste of energy and resources as a ‘digital nothing’. For now at least it is much less harmful to the environment than traditional mining while still storing value. The more exciting shift underneath is the increasing need for sustainable energy. The demand for solar and other renewable energies will naturally go up as people want to save in their mining costs. The crypto crowd seems to be much more aware of the whole than the traditional financial world. As we move to a more global satellite based internet, a vast amount of the population with no access to the grid will then transform global business through a demand for crypto. Connecting these dots through art helps us visualize where are going so we can get there faster while entertaining millions. The plan is to help the world but stating what my impact will ultimately be is out of my range to state credibly.

“Goldrush” 

VK: What is Art For Crypto?

It is an opportunity to explore a much wider arena than was possible with my previous platform Artevo. My past projects were focused into making sense of the past and bringing it’s contemporary value to the surface. The blockchain art deals with what is going on right now as well as what the future could look like. The previous platform had to deal with a lot more dogma so focusing on a fresh platform feels liberating.

EVB: What about the art market?

Many of the traditional players in the field are already sensing the requirement to update the process and a much more universal access is upon it. The Dadiani Fine Art Gallery here in London just started their own art currency as well as accepting many coins to purchase art with. This is likely going to be a much more common thing in the near future. Maecenas have already raised over 11m USD for their ICO campaign to democratize long term art investing by ultimately significantly lowering the entry barrier to the market. Crowfunding also enables artists to create through new resources without relying on the traditional sources and collaborate with platfroms outside their own field of expertize. Banks have been significant players in the art market and will continue to be for a while, but this new technology will disrupt the status quo not only though technical methods but an emerging new collector class.

“Soldier of Fortune”

EVB: What is your dream project?

VK: It is a multi platform collaboration involving blockchain, VR, AR, 3D printing and AI envisioning a more balanced and sustainable future for the world. It is clear to any observing individual that we are completely unsustainable now so restoring relative balance with the earth is a good start. Anything that can be positively contributed to our integral well being, feels to me, a worthy cause to explore through art. I only respect documentaries that alongside bringing up the problems, offer solutions. To me the potential of art is not only to ask questions but to offer some answers as well. The next bigger project is likely called “The Hybrid”.

 

“Hybrid” 

EVB: What role does the artist have in society? 

VK: Art is a weapon of mass creation and destruction but it is not often perceived as such by the general public.The age old ‘I don’t understand art’ -meme can easily be transformed into ‘this is profound.’  Many of the projects like this Team Lab project by Toshiyuki Inoko in the digital art field seem to already be invoking a very different conversation and interaction among the viewer than seeing the Mona Lisa does – as inspiring as it still is. Of course this needs a lot of clarity and contribution from the artists themselves in the way we communicate and construct the pieces. I want to contribute many more optimistic future and potential solution orientated pieces in main stream galleries as well as the emerging ones.

“I Am Satoshi Nakamoto”

EVB:  What memorable responses have you had to your projects?

VK: The launch of the Veena Malik project comes to mind first. It is not every day one gets to change the world and communicate with 300 million people. It also allowed me to know for sure that the process can be repeated with even better results. The launch of the recent Art For Crypto platform is also important as it has liberated me to express new avenues again, which just didn’t fit the previous paradigm. Some blockchain industry leaders, Bitcoin.com and News BTC have already supported it so it’s looking good.

EVB: What do you dislike about the art world?

VK: It’s important to remember that even paint, old and perceivably established as it may be, is just technology and a means of communication and trade based on scarcity. This fits the description of Bitcoin exactly. What happened with the record industry is surely going to happen in art. The technology allowed for rock stars and Capitol records to build many ivory towers but instead of embracing the new technology with the internet, they fought it and largely made themselves redundant through their actions failing to embrace what made them wealthy, accessible and powerful. Blockchain will surely impact the general perception of art’s significance to people outside it’s own circle. Once VR comes a more accessible thing, people can experience art from their homes in a new way and not feel intimidated of going to a gallery and feel judged or beyond their capacity to receive one way or another.

 

Vesa giving a speech on art, holistic wellness and the potential of VR at the Biohacking Summit of 2016 at the Bafta Building in London.

EVB: What role does art funding have?

VK: Money is the veins of of our world body and funding often is the heart that keeps the whole operation going. Oxygen and nutrients are needed as much in the feet as well as the head for a healthy organism.  In art most of it has been stored in the head but it is changing now. It’s been great to see the appreciation of graffiti increase over the years but every new thing needs a Banksy to lead it to mass awareness. My aim is to be a part of bringing crypto art to the main stream in a similar way. Before that, the expression needs to evolve and develop a lot from where it is now. 

“Trustless”

EVB: What research do you do?

VK: It takes up a lot of my day. There really isn’t excuses to not be informed about interesting and groundbreaking ideas these days due to the internet in the technologically developed world. Outside tech and crypto orientated podcasts, some recent sources worth mentioninig are Dr. John Demartini, Dr. Gabor Maté, The Joe Rogan Podcast, all things crypto and health related docs on Netflix etc. With regards to history the discovery of Göbekli Tepe alongside the work of John Anthony West, Robert Bouval and Graham Hancock has also been fascinating. As our perception of history changes, likely our behavior will as well. The coming world is integral and in the face of all this data, it is about blending it selectively to a well functioning life.The work of Ken Wilber has been very informative and well worth mentioning.

 

”Lioness” - Inspired by the John Anthony West documentary 'Mystery of the Sphinx' and model collaborated with Vesa’s fiancee Lotta Vainio.

EVB: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

“Be yourself.” 

This is a very multi-layered, difficult and courage demanding task to keep up with. Who I am changes every day, as my identity evolves and integrates learned lessons. I see identity preservation as one of the biggest threats to our survival in every sector. It is not about naively mushing everything together to a defineless mess but constantly letting go of what is unhelpful. Pionoeers like Alan Watts and Carl Jung have helped this a lot along the way.

EVB: What would you have done differently?

VK: Many things but the questions suggests that I would have been aware of things I simply wasn’t at the time. Much of the pleasure and value of painting is in the unpredictable nature of it and what it brings to the surface from our subconscious. In NLP, it is often said that the best part about the past is that it is over. Becoming a master practitioner was significant in becoming aware of my own cultural programming and ability to question my beliefs. To me NLP is a brilliant map of the human operating system, that allows access to my behaviour on an internal level. I spent a few years intensively learning the work of Richard Bandler, Paul McKenna and many others in the field as the results were immediate.

“Reconnect” from the Artevo series 

EVB: Which technologies do you use & combine & why?

VK: I’m a storyteller and technology, research and production methods are just means to achieve a successful communication, which is king. Focusing on the story forces a certain amount of clarity to a, often literally, very messy business. Thus far it has included painting, film, photography, performance, music and all things available on a laptop. The LUX: A Culture of Radiance film illustrates what I mean about society envisioning much better than what I’m capable of answering here. 

EVB: What is the role of the people, the crowd in your project?

VK: Thus far reaching the right people fully at the beginning of projects has been more effective than millions vaguely. The leaders in this field are in a constant state of evolution, which is not something most are prepared to do nor understand. The success of my projects depends a lot on how they are received so hopefully they eventually reach popularity. This was the case with the Veena project but not yet with LUX.

EVB: How can they participate in your project?

VK: By collaborating, collecting, supporting, donating, commenting, matchmaking, inviting me as a speaker and offering me opportunities I’m not aware of currently. I’m open to new ideas under the right circumstances and always looking ways to be inspired / increase wisdom. Hopefully this interview has communicated much of my value system so if you resonate with it, get in touch.

EVB: How are you connected with the people or the crowd?

VK: Thus far, the main stream and digital press has been very good to me in terms of showing my work to people. I’m on most social media platforms and aim the expressions to be exposed to as many people as possible. The plan is to attract and lead the kind of people, who want to have an immense positive impact with the next larger project. It will require much more resources and expertize than are at my current disposal.

EVB: The crowd economy creates meaningful experiences and shared value, how do you see it for your work?

VK: I just joined Steemit, which I see as a potential good platform to share my creative efforts with inspired individuals linked potentially to my personal financial thriving in the future as well. Facebook has not been a very good ROI lately so this is a fun experiment. Money as a topic has been last standing tabu of art as a source of inspiration and blockchain / crypto is allowing many to start to participate in it with a different purpose and feel.  If Katy Perry or Joe Rogan join Steemit soon, it will have a massive impact on it’s popularity and relevance. This of course remains to be seen.

“The Benefit Grid” 

EVB: CO-Creation and participation are emphasized in the crowd economy and communities take an active stake in crafting positive futures

VK: The blockchain world is constantly bringing inspired individuals and start ups to my attention who have been funded by the crowd as well as VC’s and other traditional routes. Communities now often think globally but act locally. I’m looking forward to seeing what is possible to create with the crowd on these platforms. I intend to use crowdfunding as an option much more in the future.

EVB: How do you use the crowd?

VK: By attempting to figure out what is meaningful to us collectively now and in the future. Art, much like currency in general, is only valuable if it is being perceived to have it so crowd participation is key.

EVB: How do you interact?

Mutual benefit is a good guideline to personal interactions. If It continues to feel right the conversation continues. The only relationships worth investing into last a long time and bumps in the road only break the chain if mutual interest is not preserved through consistent action.

EVB: How do you handle feedback?

VK: The challenge of an artist, if truthful, is that the inspiration and expression comes from a very authentic space. The entrepreneur is in our case, often too close to the product. However, critique is how we grow so evolution without it is impossible. I’ve matured enough to embrace valuable feedback and have learned the difference between a boss and a leader. 

EVB: How do you create the interaction?

VK: Mostly through direct or curated contact. I’ve put in enough hours to the art to stand behind it to feel worthy of approaching anyone, so that helps. With Art For Crypto, the connections have been mostly virtual based so Twitter, Instagram, 500PX, Youtube, Vimeo, Facebook,  email are involved to create connections.

Vesa with Veena Malik in Helsinki 2012

EVB: What are the results?

VK: For me personally each piece has a relevant piece of the whole story that felt important to express at the time. The Veena Malik project was huge in terms of it’s cultural significance to human rights and of course, having reached so many people, I knew I was on the right track as so many media outlets picked up the story. The real mess of our time, to a large degree is still the separation of multiple faiths into locked segments, so finding and communicating the common threads was satisfying. I’m looking forward to correcting some lessons learned with the next star project.

EVB: How do you measure results?

VK: With the LUX film / piece I loved beng able to take on another massive topic, the world energy generation and attempt to make breathe some integral sense to it. Every project and collaboration has had an overall positive outcome in one way or another so value has been extracted every time.

The Leif Segerstam project at the Finlandia House with a full orchestra in 2010

EVB: How do you measure the effect?

VK: People reached and attracted, paradigms shifted, resources gathered, personal feedback, lessons learned and the amount of integrity preserved to reach the goal.  If I’m not exhausted when a bigger project is finished something went terribly wrong.

EVB: Why participate in the Hybrid project?

VK: It will speak to the emerging class of heart and technology orientated people on a wide scale and become a relevant piece of art history that helped change the world for the better. This certainly can’t be achieved alone so this is an open call to roll up the sleeves, be involved and start the process to achieve something to be proud of.

EVB: Ted X speaker?

VK: The LUX: A Culture of Radiance film was very much designed around the concept so in a way, I already feel like I gave one. If someone was to give me that opportunity I’d jump on it for sure. 

“LUX” from the Artevo series.

EVB: On which segment is your activity or platform based on the segmentation of the crowd economy?

Additional Information:

www.artevo.org

www.artforcrypto.com

www.visualalchemy.gallery

Support Vesa via crypto

Etienne Verbist is an authority in the field of crowd sourcing, disruptive business modelling and disruptive art. After a well filled career with companies such as GE, Etienne was an early adopter of crowd sourcing. Etienne is manager Europe and Africa for Crowd Sourcing Week, a board advisor to a broad range of companies on innovation and new technology, curator of the Disruptive Art Museum – the smallest museum in the world – and columnist for ArtDependence Magazine.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Image of the Day

Luc Tuymans, Flemish Village 1995.  Collection MuHKA, Antwerp

Luc Tuymans, Flemish Village 1995. Collection MuHKA, Antwerp

Search

About ArtDependence

ArtDependence Magazine is an international magazine covering all spheres of contemporary art, as well as modern and classical art.

ArtDependence features the latest art news, highlighting interviews with today’s most influential artists, galleries, curators, collectors, fair directors and individuals at the axis of the arts.

The magazine also covers series of articles and reviews on critical art events, new publications and other foremost happenings in the art world.

If you would like to submit events or editorial content to ArtDependence Magazine, please feel free to reach the magazine via the contact page.