What a ride the past three weeks have been! Officially launching during the #ArtProject2020, Ephimera has since welcomed more than 35 artists to the platform, seen over a hundred artworks published, hosted the first ever tokenized live music video and watched some of the largest videos ever published as NFTs. With all that in the books, we would like to take the time to introduce Ephimera a bit more formally and give some insights into the features built into the platform (with many more to follow!).
What is Ephimera?
Ephimera is the first tokenized art marketplace dedicated to museum quality lens-based art. This includes photography, video art, photogrammetry, photo animation, photographic collage and any artwork which incorporates real-world captures in some way. The reasoning behind this is a straightforward one. NFT art has been exploding in popularity, with talented artists from all over the world participating, making a name for themselves and prospering in a brand new market. Photographers and video artists have been involved in this, but not to the extent we might have expected.
In February 2018 when the Forever Rose — a tokenized, 10 edition photograph of a beautiful red rose — was sold for one million dollars, it seemed to cement what many were already anticipating: that photography would be the next industry revitalized by blockchain and specifically non-fungible token technology. While that has happened to some degree, lens-based art became subsumed by the much broader crypto art space. Neither lens-based artists or their collectors had a true home they could call their own. That’s exactly what Ephimera is designed to be. We wanted to create a community of creators and appreciators of photography and lens art in all its forms.
With that said, a platform with photography and video art in mind has to be tailored for those forms of media. Ephimera has introduced a number of exclusive features to give artists as many tools as possible to showcase their work, and collectors as much information as possible to inform their decisions.
The first unique feature you’re likely to come across is the Vision Board, visible on the artwork page when an artist decides to incorporate it. The Vision Board can display up to five additional images or gifs, all of the artist’s choosing, with the images safely stored alongside the artwork on IPFS. This can be, and has already been, used in a number of radically different ways. An artist can, for instance, showcase zoomed-in areas of the artwork to showcase elements a viewer may otherwise miss (see the amazing work of macro photographer James Fox as one example of this). They can include captures from the “making of” an artwork, as Marko Zubak does in his “Dreaming of Habitat” piece. They can tell a story which gives context to the artwork, as Steevez does in “Inside the Black”, inspired by and captured from the 2017 Ennore oil spill. These are just examples, and we are excited to see the innovative and unanticipated ways in which the Vision Board is used to add context, value and provenance to lens-based art.
A feature photographers might appreciate; Ephimera supports the importing of EXIF data which can be displayed on an artwork page when present. Viewers can see the make, model and lens used in a particular capture, as well as some of the settings the photographer used to grab the perfect shot. You can see this feature in use on Gisel Florez’ “3rd in Focus”, part of her Displays of Time series. In the past photographers have often included their setups in the artwork description, but support for automatic EXIF capturing and display allows them to focus on the context, background and possibly even storytelling in the description panel.
Support for larger file sizes
With video artists in mind, Ephimera supports an industry-leading 250mb maximum file size. This makes many of the artworks currently on the marketplace among the largest artworks ever tokenized. Our goal with this feature was to ensure creators did not have to sacrifice on resolution and sound quality when uploading their artwork to IPFS. The result has been some incredible audiovisual experiences, like Martin Lukas Ostachowski’s “Windows of Opportunity — Two YULDFW”; an animated collage of photographs he captured on flights between Montreal and Dallas, accompanied by the familiar sounds of modern air travel. Also making use of the potential for larger file support is Gemini Rising’s “Woman I Am”; a 175mb ‘mini musical’ exploring the objectification of the female body in the 1930’s golden era of Hollywood musicals.
To this point tokenized art and its exchange has been the purview of two main types of users: artists and collectors. With Galleries, Ephimera adds a third type of user with the goal of broadening access and exposure to this exciting young industry. Like galleries or agents in the traditional art market, Galleries on Ephimera publish and represent the artwork of creators on their behalf. The most obvious application of this is to bring artists completely unfamiliar with blockchain, Web3 wallets and non-fungible tokens into the space. This, we hope, will be a win-win scenario: breaking barriers for artists and widening the range and choice of work tokenized art which collectors can select from. Galleries can also represent artists already in the space or even already publishing on Ephimera. A themed Gallery, for instance, might represent work by existing Ephimera artists that specifically fits their theme and style. We are extremely excited to see how Galleries develop on the platform, and expect some great names to join the list of those participating in the very near future!
More to come!
We are very hopeful that creators in the space will see benefits in these features, and that they will assist collectors in their decision making and curatorial processes. We are far from finished, however, and the Ephimera team is hard at work building features which we think will enrich and expand the experience of browsing and using the platform. Soon we will incorporate a number of new sections designed to provide users with valuable data on activity and transactions taking place, as well as regular content focused on photography, video art and their intersection with technology. Stay tuned for updates on new additions in the upcoming weeks by keeping an eye on our Twitter. In the meantime, head on over to Ephimera.com to see lens-based art by innovative and inspiring creators from every corner of the world.