A New Paradigm: Shared Ownership, Digital Curation and New Museology Approaches in Artworks

October 30, 2022
5 min read

Written by Particle Community member @ogulcan | MUAFNFT

In the last century, the science of art history and museology has developed rather shallow approaches to property ownership and museology and has closed itself to innovations. In the classical sense, museology exhibits an understanding that is disconnected from society, allowing only the collection, preservation and exhibition of works. After this understanding, which lasted until the 1950s, contemporary museology, which aims to bring the works together with the audience rather than exhibiting them, has developed new exhibition and expression methods and laid its foundations at the beginning of the second half of the 20th century. it has also experienced different and important breaks up to the present day. 

With the globalization phenomenon that emerged in the 90s, museology has become more involved with technology and has followed the development of technology in every field from work classification processes to bibliography. Technological developments started with resource scanning after the 90's, and then experienced its own change with the web evolution. With technologies such as AR and VR, museology was included in the 2010s. As a reflection of all this cultural communication and technological change, both curation has become digital and there have been great changes in the economies of cultural heritages. With the spread of blockchain technology, museology has also experienced its most important break throughout the historical process.

In this short period of time that we started to tokenize art, we started to progress very quickly. The idea that Digitalization is not actually a monster has gradually left our minds and we have started to get used to digital art. In financial terms, the argument of 'creating your own economy and community' enabled by blockchain technology brought about common ownership in art and proved to us that the concept of common ownership is just the beginning. This is perhaps the greatest financial invention since the invention of money. Art experts, who knew how to take advantage of this situation, turned the situation in their favor and collected donations for additional income for their museums, new collections and museum expenses. But the most important point started with the fact that the sense of belonging created by NFTs was built with a community and this situation was beneficial for both humanity and cultural heritage. Strong capitals and family businesses are no longer needed to establish a strong art collection or museum. The way for art history to get rid of monopolies and gatekeepers today is through Correct Coordination and Decentralized Finance. Let's examine how designing this coordination in the right areas can build a museum with community economy:

We can now tokenize a work of art through NFTs, which offers a democratic approach to the art market and creates a healthy second-hand market for art. If we do this coordination correctly, it is possible to establish a collective museum by not only using one piece of art, but more than one work. The concept of common ownership in artworks will establish many museums in the future and these communities will create their own cultures with the economies they have built in the field of art. The economic concept created from the shareholding of works will eventually result in a museum stake. Although this may seem like a Marxist approach, it is in fact a model for creating a liberal arts economy. Because value is determined not by production, but by limited supply and high demand.

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While these concepts change the actors of the art economy, they also create new paradigms in terms of art history. The curatorial understanding, especially in the web3 world, moved away from a narrow framework and acquired a new dictionary meaning. From the Roman Empire to the present day, there were two main processes of curation. The first is "Management of Subjects" and the second is "Guardianship of Objects". These two distinctions determined the main duties of the curator throughout history. Using the object and the subject, the curator had to create a new space and make the object special. Now, digital curation expresses a meaning that creates the experience rather than exhibitions, constructing the right coordination and experience together without the need for gallery walls. Culture and art data, which has grown considerably with NFTs, makes it necessary to organize these data. Analyzing, protecting and storing data are now some of the new duties of web3 curators. At the same time, digital curation can be likened to lifeguards that compile data from a large repository of data and prevent you from drowning. Because the curator, with his knowledge and experience, has the qualifications to create the artistic compilation and experience needed in the web3 field. 

Of course, all these approaches are being reshaped around the new paradigm. Common ownership in art and digital curation inevitably compel us to create a new discourse in the field of museology. The collective economy created by the shared ownership of works brings a physical museum with it. In summary, the new museum approaches now include the entire structure and governance, which is built with the technological infrastructure, where each shareholder can decide the future of the museum in terms of management, and equipped with sustainable income models.

These expressions, which cannot be considered in isolation from each other, and the new paradigm create a museum in the history of art that future generations can experience and see, namely the "guardian". Thanks to this technological revolution, works of art are transformed into a cultural communication tool within a museum, experienced, preserved and passed on to the next generations, instead of being left to their fate.

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