Introducing s[edition], an online art gallery where you can buy your own digital art at affordable prices. The virtual platform for contemporary art was cofounded by famed art dealer Harry Blain and is designed to bring art to a new audience. It is free to sign up and users can follow artists such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin in the same way as they would follow a blog or a user on tumblr. s[edition] offers limited edition art in a digital format which can be bought for as little as £5 and can be displayed on various digital devices anywhere such as smartphones or through the free iPad app. The user is able to browse art by contemporary artists and become a virtual art collector. The digital art on offer is all limited edition and there are a few thousand copies of each artwork on offer. Purchases can be stored in your ‘vault’ and come certified with edition numbers and a certificate of authenticity signed by both the artist and s[edition]. It is art in the age of new technology.
The website also boasts exclusive interviews with the artists whose work is on the virtual market. However, while s[edition] is certainly an affordable fun way of collecting, for me, it raises many questions, namely; what exactly is the worth of digital art – especially if the concept only lasts in the short term? As soon as the next technology comes along will it be forgotten? The practicality of the concept is questionable, how can you display an artwork easily digitally? While sales of devices like iPads are on the rise, it is only a small percentage of people who have the means to show off this type of art in their own homes. It could well be a fad, the virtual nature of the product seems all a bit too good to be true, and in fact it is. One is forbidden from printing their own hard copy of their purchase – it purely for digital viewing. It seems slightly simulated, an illusion of your very own Hirst original is actually an untouchable image owned by thousands of others, it is not unique, you may as well buy a print, at least then you can be certain that in ten years from now when goodness knows what has been invented, you can still have it hanging proudly on your wall.
Furthermore, the inevitable question – is it really art? Being such a new concept it is bound to raise a few eyebrows and many critics will no doubt challenge the credibility of the idea. It is too idyllic, paying for an idea of owning your own masterpiece – except it’s not really yours, and other people have it too. It isn’t unique nor is it going to be yours forever. It won’t be a family heirloom, but it will be a fashion statement for today, and if you’re lucky, it may even stick around until tomorrow. While I must admit I do enjoy browsing the virtual art on offer, I doubt that I’ll be buying anything from the online gallery anytime soon.
Click here to visit the s[edition] website