Redeem free NFT artwork from a vending machine at National Gallery Singapore

ArtWallStreet chief product officer Aleksandar Abu Samra next to a prototype vending machine that allows users to scan a QR code and redeem an art non-fungible token. ST PHOTO: ARTHUR SIM

SINGAPORE – The Republic’s top art gallery and arts governing board will not be left behind in the race to keep ahead of developments in the technology realm.

At the National Gallery Singapore (NGS), an initiative to make art more accessible to the public and instil a sense of ownership by using blockchain technology is coming close to reality.

Through NGS’ art technology convergence product innovation division called Y-Lab, a prototype platform has been developed with art-technology firm ArtWallStreet that can allow Singaporeans to redeem art non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for free.

For the test run at the moment, the NFT vending machine has artworks commissioned by NGS and based on the works by the Singapore artist who goes by the name of TheNextMostFamousArtist.

ArtWallStreet chief executive Arun Sugumaran, 39, says: “The vending machine prototype is ready to be tested and is on display at the Y-Lab Showcase space at National Gallery Singapore.”

The company’s chief product officer Aleksandar Abu Samra, 33, adds that the vending machine allows NFT redemption by simply scanning a QR code. “Visitors do not need to have a crypto (currency) wallet prior to the redemption and would only require to log in or create an account via e-mail,” he says.

NGS deputy director (digital innovation and transformation) Kevin Lim, 45, says: “As an innovative museum, National Gallery Singapore continues to innovate and explore emerging technologies to see what is possible in creating more opportunities for art appreciation among our visitors.”

“All of National Gallery Singapore’s artwork collection has been digitised,” adds NGS senior curator and deputy director (curatorial research) Seng Yu Jin. “However, primarily due to copyright restrictions, approximately 80 per cent of the collection has been published online to date on its Online Collections Search Portal and Roots.sg.

“The gallery is making an utmost effort to make its collection accessible to the public by further enriching its metadata and actively seeking clearance from copyright holders.”

National Gallery Singapore has launched ARText, an interactive platform which allows users to learn about South-east Asian art through messaging apps on mobile devices. PHOTO: NATIONAL GALLERY SINGAPORE

To make art even more accessible, NGS launched ARText on Sept 19, an interactive platform which lets users learn about South-east Asian art through daily conversations on common messaging apps.

ARText is built on the concept of micro-learning and delivers bite-size and interactive art learning experiences to mobile devices. NGS is also looking at personalising the experience by integrating artificial intelligence text recognition software.

Those interested can go to linktr.ee/nationalgallerybot for information on how to register for ARText.

The National Arts Council (NAC) is also dipping its toes in the Web3 universe through a multi-tier cloud platform in collaboration with Arts Council Korea.

A screen capture of an immersive digital artwork by artists Gayoung An, Timothi Lim, Rachel Nip and Ammar “Ameezy” called KINetic. It is part of Pluritopia, a joint initiative between National Arts Council and Arts Council Korea. PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE ARTISTS

The initiative is called Pluritopia. A series of art-tech events collectively called Pluritopia Biennale was held between Sept 22 and last Friday and included art studio tours in the metaverse, interactive art programmes and panel discussions.

Twenty artists from Singapore and South Korea were involved in a virtual artist residency that started in January, resulting in 20 cloud studios and three collaborative artworks. For information on how to view the artists’ virtual reality chats – where they talked to participants on the Pluritopia platform which hosted art events live in the metaverse – go to pluritopia.com/tutorial.

NAC director (industry and business transformation, policy and planning) Melanie Huang says: “We look forward to supporting more of such projects involving technology to enhance our vibrant arts ecosystem.”

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