The value of this art is all hot air.
A Brooklyn-based film director is simultaneously mocking and attempting to profit off the cryptocurrency craze for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) by selling a year’s worth of fart audio clips recorded in quarantine.
“If people are selling digital art and GIFs, why not sell farts?” Alex Ramírez-Mallis, 36, told The Post of his dank addition to the blockchain-based NFT market.
His NFT, “One Calendar Year of Recorded Farts,” began incubating in March 2020 when, at the beginning of the global coronavirus lockdown, Ramírez-Mallis and four of his friends began sharing recordings of their farts to a group chat on WhatsApp.
On the one-year anniversary of the US’s COVID-19 quarantine this month — by which point Ramírez-Mallis said he could darn near identify members of the group by their farts alone — Ramírez-Mallis and his fellow farters compiled the recordings into a 52-minute “Master Collection” audio file.
Now, the top bid for the file is currently $183.
Individual fart recordings are also available for 0.05 Ethereum, or about $85 a pop. The gassy group has so far sold one, to an anonymous buyer.
“If the value increases, they could have an extremely valuable fart on their hands,” he said.
Ramírez-Mallis and his friends did not begin recording their farts with profit in mind, but the recent NFT madness — which has seen the ownership of abstract assets be sold for seven– and eight-digit price tags — provided the “perfect outlet to share” their large back catalog of farts.
The ridiculousness of it all is not lost on the Flatbush resident.
“The NFT craze is absurd — this idea of putting a value on something inherently intangible,” said Ramírez-Mallis, referencing screenshots of screenshots and the concept of colors which are currently being sold as NFTs. “These NFTs aren’t even farts, they’re just digital alphanumeric strings that represent ownership.”
The trendiness of NFTs has made the concept of selling the idea of ownership somehow palatable and profitable to the very-online masses, he went on. Indeed, he’s not even the only person selling fart NFTs.
While aware that the concept has manifested into madness, Ramírez-Mallis still hopes to profit off it.
“I’m hoping these NFT farts can at once critique [the absurdity], make people laugh and make me rich,” he said.
But, he admits, there is some historical precedent for the concept of NFTs.
“In many ways, this is a bubble, but it’s also been around forever,” he said, comparing NFTs to wealthy art collectors buying expensive works, putting them in storage and only displaying their certificate of ownership, then selling that for more money. “Buying and selling art purely as a commodity to store value in has been around for centuries, and NFTs are just a digital way of representing that transactional nature of art.”
A consultant for Ramírez-Mallis’ fart NFT agrees, and said he offered to help Ramírez-Mallis with some of the project’s technical aspects because he appreciated its “silly but necessary” criticism of the NFT phenomenon.
“By purchasing an NFT, you become part of the in-crowd of a technological novelty that masquerades as revolutionary but operates in the same tired old way of the existing art market,” said Grayson Earle, a friend of Ramírez-Mallis and creator of the cryptocurrency project Bail Bloc.
While Ramírez-Mallis and Earle admit that the digital art behind NFTs is often intellectually and visually fascinating, they take issue with how quickly they become far more about their price tag than their creative worth.
“The art is just an avatar for value,” said Ramírez-Mallis, noting that behind the crazed market aren’t digital art-lovers, but people trying to get rich quick as speculators.
“There’s that old saying, ‘Why don’t they just frame the money?’” Ramírez-Mallis said, “and this really is the embodiment of that.”
To read more from The New York Post, click here.