When I met Seth Goldstein backstage on Saturday night, one of the masterminds behind the DAO-ified NFT art gallery Bright Moments, he was in an auction battle with NFT collector Pranksy.
The two were duking it out over an exclusive 1-for-1 multimedia piece from legendary composer Philip Glass and renowned theater director Robert Wilson. It’s a 20-minute clip from the duo’s roughly five-hour-long opera “Einstein on the Beach” and the first edition of the Bright Moments’ Icon Series.
“If he really wants it, he can have it,” said Goldstein. “But I’m willing to go to 30 Ethereum to get it.”
As Wilson’s archivist some 30 years ago at the Byrd Hoffman Foundation, the two have worked together to help translate the avant-garde director’s work into new mediums and formats. “My first job out of college in 1992 was working as Wilson's archivist for his Byrd Hoffman Foundation,” he said. “That was before the [commercial] web when I helped put some of his archives on CD-ROM.”
In this light, paying roughly $90,000 to own a piece of this translation is a small price to pay. It’s a cherished relic with clear sentimental value.
As the auction rages on, next door, in the massive cavernous space that is Kraftwerk, a crowd gathers to watch the NFT in action.
Like the original 1976 stage performance, a horizontal white bar takes up the entirety of the screen. Over the course of the clip, it slowly shifts vertically, then flies upwards, disappearing into the ether. Glass’s trance-inducing organ music accompanies the bar's ascent throughout its slow but steady transition.
Roughly halfway through the show, Goldstein wins the auction for 28 Ethereum—a bargain for a work that famed art critic John Rockwell described in 2012 as “mythical.”
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