Unless you live in a bubble, you've certainly heard of the non-fungible tokens or NFT craze. And if you've heard of it, or even follow upcoming NFT projects releases, you've probably at least glimpsed talk of certain apes or NFT monkey art. What is NFT monkey art, and is it really as superficial and silly as the name suggests, or is there something behind it?
The short answer is that there is nothing behind it. NFT involves the purchase of a token, which is a digital certificate of your ownership of the original jpeg file. So, the blockchain will "register" the fact of your possession of a particular image and the fact of your purchase of that image. We can end this text here, or we can speculate about the philosophy of NFT and its relation to art. Of course, the technology which gives us indelible proof of possession can be used in many different ways. It can be used, for example, as a receipt confirming the fact of the purchase of an expensive item, such as an object of art. It can be used as proof of this or that event. Or you can sell jpeg files with monkeys.
This is the way YUGA LABS has taken, the creators of the notorious Bored Apes Yacht Club (BAYC) collection. The most expensive NFTs of the Bored Apes Yacht Club collection go up to a million dollars. Whether there's anything of value in them from an art standpoint, - definitely not. They are simply comic book pictures of jaded apes that are distinguished from each other by various 'traits' - items of clothing, accessories, headgear, jewelry, sports equipment - in other words, anything that can be drawn to a portrait of an idle ape. Yes, indeed, the primates pose specifically with portraits, as if to hint that they are no worse than hand-drawn portraits. What does this mean - a spit in the face of artists who make thousands of dollars for a painting that took years to paint? Or is it a social experiment designed to test whether people will be willing to indulge their vanity and buy something so needlessly expensive? Probably both.
BAYC is positioning itself as an elite (you bet for that kind of money) private club of those who understand technology and have money and desire to spend it. Even stars like Eminem join it. Perhaps it is the urge to shape the so-called "new luxury," where the hunt for multimillion-dollar paintings is so obviously devalued and their worthlessness pointed out. Perhaps it is "art" showing the value of the technology. But either way, every new monkey drop is a real sensation.