Artcred
2016 - Web-based application

Artcred is an interactive artwork that gamifies and democratizes art investment. Artcred conflates the friendly language and design of contemporary app culture with an increasingly commodified global art market using the most ubiquitous currency available today, credit. Artcred debuted in beta form at Debt Positive, an exhibition at Flux Factory in Queens, New York.

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Artcred consists of artworks and investors. The simulation runs the duration of the show, with participants coming and going. Visitors may participate in the simulation by text message, and see the simulation status on a monitor in the gallery and on the simulation website.

Artwork in the gallery is for sale in the simulation. Participants aim to ‘grow their wealth’ and increase their credit worthiness by buying and selling artwork with credit and loans.

Participants are named Investors in the simulation. They opt-in by sending a text to the simulation and are given a starting credit score and virtual money (collateral).

Investors take out loans to buy artwork

The artwork in the gallery costs far more than the funds given to Investors, so Investors request a loan from the simulation bank to purchase artwork. The bank may approve or deny the Investors request based on their credit score and funds. For approved loans, Investors have an allotted time to close the loan before it defaults.

Resale of artwork closes the previous owners loan

In the simulation, artwork is always for sale even though it may be ‘owned.’ The resale of artwork automatically closes the loan with the previous owner. If no other investor attempts to buy the artwork before their loan defaults, the bank repossesses the artwork.

Demand drives price

An artwork’s price surges (artwork becomes “hot”) after it sells. Over time, the price falls to the initial value. There is a point where the investor ‘breaks even,’ where the artworks price matches the loan (principle + interest). The fast resale of artwork drives price and profit for the Investor. If the bank repossesses an artwork, the value of the artwork reverts to its base price.

Free Market Utopia

This simulation runs an unregulated, high speed market intended to both exemplify and parody accelerationist concepts of intensity, speed and freedom. Think of the simulation as setting up a virtual freeport in a gallery’s physical space.

Theory

Market value indicates attention. The market value of an artwork surges after a sale and falls slowly back to its principle sale value over time. Meanwhile, the interest owed increases over time. If the investor fails to sell the artwork in the loan period, the bank possesses the artwork (covering the principle) and the investor pays the bank the interest owed. If the artwork sells before the loan period ends, the bank is paid principle and interest, and remaining funds go to the investor.

The loan period is based on supply (the number of artworks in the collection) and demand (number of active investors).

Period ∝ Artworks / Investors

Period varies with number of artworks, inversely with number of investors.