Launched last year during the pandemic, with travel restrictions fully in place in Hong Kong, the Digital Art Fair could have been a small side event, yet it was extended two times and attracted over 25,000 visitors in November 2021. It is enough to show the fever that currently exists when talking about NFT or digital art.
In fact, under the wider term of “Web 3.0” are incorporated concepts such as blockchain technology, but also digital art, immersive experience and NFT’s, all terms very confusing for non-experts.
Under this new Xperience edition (from 20 October to 6 November), the Digital Art Fair will transform its 20,000 sq. ft. Central venue to offer the visitors to experience – and buy – all types of art forms included in the Web 3.0. Hundreds of digital art pieces (artworks created via computer softwares and generally animated) will be showcased through physical and digital displays and virtual reality. Large-scale immersive experiences (entire rooms with 360 degrees digital art) or interactive pieces will invite the visitors to participate and interact. And the fair will even offer to dive into the “Metaverse”: a virtual parallel world, in which visitors, using Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR) technologies, can discover art, live dedicated experiences, and even interact with each other.
All these works will very largely be sold as NFTs (Non Fungible Tokens): using crypto money (virtual money) and the blockchain technology, NFTs ensure the authenticity, the provenance, and the property of the (digital) artworks they are linked to. They provide an additional guarantee to the buyers, while ensuring a permanent royalty system to the artists.
One of the highlights of the Xperience show this year will be an Immersive art installation created by Chinese Artist Jacky Tsai. Last year, Refik Anadol’s Machine Hallucinations: Space Metaverse was the showstopper: prominently displayed at the entrance, the mesmerising movement of the work was created from photographs from NASA of deep space captured by satellites. The work was sold for a record-breaking HK$18 million.
This year it will be a unique new immersive piece created by Tsai, who is largely known for his provocative art fusing traditional eastern techniques and imagery with western pop art, and for creating the now iconic floral skull emblem for British fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
In addition, visitors will be invited to participate and join the artists and community: on one side, by co-creating unique personalised AI (artificial Intelligence) generative artworks and NFTs; on the other side, “The Xperience Art Project’’ will invite the public to join the art-making process, transforming the facade video wall of the show venue, situated on Queen’s Road Central in a giant and unique public art installation.
Art lovers and tech geeks must be sure not to miss this special edition, before the fair comes back with a flagship international event in 2023. It’s a good sign for Hong Kong which positioned itself already at the forefront of the Web 3.0 art market, with a rising scene of galleries, artists and collectors dedicated to digital art and NFTs.