While most media coverage of NFTs and architecture has focused on born-digital creations, the use of NFTs to support real-world architecture and other physical manifestations of cultural heritage is just beginning. A recently formed group of researchers in Italy are exploring the use of NFTs to preserve Italy’s cultural heritage while still sharing it with the world. The group’s first effort is to promote the concept of selling NFTs of the Colosseum.
The sale of a digital house in NFT form for 288 ETH, $514,557.79 USD at the time, made headlines in March. Artist Krista Kim designed the house, which was available to the purchaser as 3D files usable in an NFT-enabled metaverse. In April, the Invisible Cities show gathered together a variety of artistic representations of architecture minted as NFTs.
Photographs and other visual representations of existing architecture and architectural details are also being minted as NFTs. For example, UC Asset is exploring the digitization of historical architectural landmarks in Atlanta. Their concept is to create a token to which new historical data can be added so that the NFT can continue to reflect the changing history of the landmark while not affecting the integrity of the actual structure. In addition, funds raised by NFT sales can support the preservation of such buildings.
TechTalk con il gruppo di ricercatori che vuole vendere il Colosseo come Nft
A group of researchers in Italy, which includes Italian politician Alessandro Fusacchia and NFTS WTF Dao member Serena Tabacchi, are exploring related territory. Additional members of this multidisciplinary group include Alex Braga, Federico Clapis and Andrea Colamedici. As Fusacchia notes in a post on Facebook:
“We’re putting together an eclectic group, convinced that only by combining different experiences, stories, and looks you can reach unknown places, passing what we’ve always called ‘frontier’. We are looking for other researchers and researchers like us. If you are one of them and interested in exploring with us, look us up.”
The group’s open letter, which introduces their project and is here translated from the Italian by Google, reveals that they begin with a provocation, the idea of the sale of Italy’s historical Colosseum. This idea, which “returns regularly, as if it were a superstition that needs to be recalled from time to time to prevent it from ever coming true,” is now shown to be possible “without touching a single stone, and clearly leaving the property to the Italian State.”
The letter goes on to describe the NFT phenomenon, pointing out both the strengths and weaknesses of NFTs while raising questions of its own. The group then shares an example likely close to the heart of many Italians, the digitization of Michelangelo’s painting Doni Tondo. The resulting NFT sold for $170,000 USD in May and is the first in a series of such NFTs that will be used to help fund the Uffizi Gallery’s work.
This well-timed example allows the group to build its case that one could create NFTs of the Colosseum that would allow Italy to raise funds from its heritage while maintaining the integrity of its physical manifestation. Their intervention comes at an important time given that Dario Franceschini, the Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, recently revealed that Italy “will soon issue [NFT] guidelines for museums”.
With NFTs a hot topic in Italian cultural circles, the group is launching at an opportune moment with a proposal that may seem utopian but is actually quite achievable. In the future, they intend to explore the even larger world of the arts and digital technology beyond NFT Land. While that exploration may lead them away from NFTs, the ongoing evolution of NFT tech may well cause them to return in the future,
Featured Image via Pixabay.