Brian Eno is not a fan of NFTs. He sees no artistic merit in the format, which is being hyped as a kind of cash-cow for artists across multiple disciplines.
Eno spoke to the crypto syllabus, a publication dedicated helping people understand “the phenomena grouped under the ‘crypto’ label.”
Asked whether he’d be inclined to dabble in NFTs, Eno had this to say: “So far nothing has convinced me that there is anything worth making in that arena. ‘Worth making’ for me implies bringing something into existence that adds value to the world, not just to a bank account.”
He went on: “If I had primarily wanted to make money I would have had a different career as a different kind of person. I probably wouldn’t have chosen to be an artist. NFTs seem to me just a way for artists to get a little piece of the action from global capitalism, our own cute little version of financialisation.”
He concluded: “How sweet – now artists can become little capitalist assholes as well.”
Eno is not just some cranky, out of touch, technology-averse individual. Earlier in 2021, he launched The Lighthouse, a station on Sonos Radio HD. The station’s playlist is randomly generated and consists of hundreds of new and previously unreleased Eno tracks.
Eno explained the reasoning behind this programming decision: “[They’re] chosen by chance so there is the possibility of odd, I hope exciting collisions—things that are very slow next to things that are very fast next to things that have no tempo, no pulse at all.”
He also pointed out the carbon footprint of NFTs: “In a warming world, a new technology that uses vast amounts of energy as ‘proof of work’ – that’s to say, simply to establish a certain badge of exclusivity – really is quite insane. All that energy is making nothing that we need.”