Keanu Reeves and Alexandra Grant Want to Make NFTs More Inclusive – The Hollywood Reporter

What does art look like in an immaterial digital space? Alexandra Grant, along with her partner, Keanu Reeves, is determined to help fellow artists answer that question. The two are advisors to The Futureverse Foundation, a new charitable initiative designed to encourage artists to participate in the next frontier of the Internet by creating work to view and sell in the Metaverse, an integrated network of virtual and digital worlds that, in its most ambitious designs can look like The matrix.

In particular, the Futureverse Foundation is betting that non-fungible tokens, or NFTs (unique digital objects secured by blockchain technology), can be more than speculative instruments – that they can have real artistic value. The Futureverse Foundation is committed to funding artists who will create powerful works to turn into these crypto assets, proving that fine art has a place in the next iteration of the internet, often referred to as Web 3.0.

“I feel like the Futureverse Foundation is a proposition. If we have this opportunity to build a new economy of [cultural] exchange, how do we do it? Grant asks. “It’s new for all of us to think about the partnerships between the art world, Hollywood and tech coming together in such a beautiful way.”

Created in collaboration with Non-Fungible Labs, a New Zealand-based NFT company, the Futureverse Foundation plans to “make the metaverse accessible to more people, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds,” Grant says. “It’s the beginning, it’s a nascent time for technological change where some people understand they’re already in the metaverse, and some people don’t know what an NFT is.”

Grant, along with Reeves and Non-Fungible Labs co-founder Brooke Howard-Smith, plans to help artists working in traditional two- and three-dimensional media into the digital space by guiding them through the process of translating their art. in NFT, for sale in the metaverse.

“I am honored to join the efforts of Non-Fungible Labs in cooperation with Alexandra Grant for the Extraordinary Program and Opportunity of the Futureverse Foundation, in support of artists and creators around the world,” Reeves said in a statement.

Futureverse Foundation Advisors Alexandra Grant (right) and Keanu Reeves said, “I am honored to join this amazing program…to ​​support artists and creators around the world.

Advised by peers and colleagues in the art world, Grant and Reeves will select artists to support based on the quality of the work, with particular attention paid to Indigenous and women artists in an effort to diversify the art world. art, especially since it exists in the NFT space. The first round of seed funding ($250,000) was offered by Non-Fungible Labs, with much of its revenue generated from NFT sales. (Some of its bestsellers are digital spiders called “stuff”.) In anticipation of the launch of the Futureverse Foundation, Non-Fungible Labs made its first donation: a $100,000 donation to Nana Oforiatta Ayim, to support her work as curator Pavilion of the Venice Biennale 2022.

“I kind of see these grants as social acupuncture; you won’t be able to change everything because that’s not the intention, the intention is to find the right energy meridian to put in a needle of change,” says Grant. “So even though it was a real-world pavilion, it happened because of conversations that were all digital. That translation between worlds is already built in.

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Brooke Howard-Smith, co-founder of Non-Fungible Labs.
Courtesy of subject

Many industries are striving to establish a deeper relationship with the metaverse, but the challenge is to do so in a way that is fair and does not reflect the structural disadvantages that exist in the traditional art world. Before the Futureverse Foundation took shape, Howard-Smith helped establish an open pledge for major tech brands to sign on and commit to championing an “open and inclusive metaverse.”

“It’s really the first phase of that,” he says of his collaborative founding with Grant and Reeves. “Meta, Google, Amazon and everyone who signed [have] promised they would drive consciously to make sure this version of the technology isn’t the proprietary version we’ve built by accident over the past 30 years.

Grant hopes the foundation can help democratize the buying, selling, and valuing of art, both in the metaverse and in real life.

“A lot of people from the ‘fine arts’ think that NFTs are an image with an accounting ledger like a blockchain attached to it,” she says. “What’s really happening is rethinking not only currency, but also what an object is that can be shared in $. Does it have a physical character? Does it have a value? Who Inadvertently, the foundation provokes a reassessment of Western art, of colonialist-based practices, of all those issues.

A version of this story first appeared in the June 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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