Daata Editions debuted its online gallery and marketplace at NADA New York last week, operating out of a large, moderately popular booth in the middle of an open space. Its tables were equipped with iPads, with which visitors could explore the website and/or create an account for themselves. Daata is the brainchild of David Gryn, film curator for Art Basel Miami and founder of consultancy firm artprojx.
Everything I knew about Daata I had learned from skimming past a couple online headlines that included classic online headline-y word pairings like “shake up” before “the art world,” “the art market,” etc. I knew it was an online marketplace for buying and storing digital art, but I was craving particulars—prices, procedures, statement of purpose. To this end, I made eye contact with a representative. I smiled. She smiled, revealing an upper frenulum piercing dangling between her two front teeth. The tiny gold ring and I played peekaboo for the rest of that conversation.
“These are all the artists who were asked to commission a video event or sound piece,” she said, pointing to a list that named Ilit Azoulay, Helen Benigson, David Blandy, Matt Copson, Ed Fornieles, Leo Gabin, Daniel Keller & Martti Kalliala, Lina Lapelyte, Rachel Maclean, Florian Meisenberg, Takeshi Murata, Hannah Perry, Jon Rafman, Charles Richardson, Amalia Ulman, Stephen Vitiello, and Chloe Wise.
“They were asked to make six pieces, and today is the release of the first ones. The idea of Daata [long a]”—she seemed to misspeak—“or Daata [short a, apparently the correct pronunciation] editions is that you can purchase video work online. You can do this here or at home, and you can make your own account where you have your own gallery. Each work comes in editions of 15, except for one piece by Jon Rafman, which is free to subscribers. Once you make the purchase, you get a download file in HD quality. Right now you can watch all of them online, you can even share the link, it just has our little watermark on top. That’s basically the idea, that everyone can watch it, but owners will get a certificate and a better quality file.”
The first edition is always cheapest, starting at $100 or $200 and increasing by likewise increments, except for the last one, which is always double the previous price. Sales histories are posted online, and we noted that a museum was listed among the first buyers—or acquirers, in this case.
“So…what about hackers?” I asked.
“Oh, I don’t know,” said the rep, laughing a little. My eye followed her glinting upper gum admiringly. “It will probably happen all the time. But I guess it’s kind of the same as buying a print of a painting.”
So, is HD quality worth $5,000? Or even $100? That is a question each art collector must answer for herself.