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  • Robert Alice
  • Much Theory: A Theoretical Understanding of NFTs
  • Opening Keynote Lecture given at 0xBAT Conference
  • Blockchain Art and NFTs: Spreading the Wings of Encounter
  • Magdalen College, University of Oxford
  • 26 September 2022

The inaugural Oxford Blockchain, Art & Technology (OxBAT) conference was be held on 26–28 September, 2022 at the University of Oxford. As the first multi-disciplinary conference on the aesthetic, social, and anthropological perspectives on blockchain art in Oxford, it  brought together social scientists, art historians, artists, curators, blockchain developers, and others in an open forum.

(From the conference website) The focus will be on encouraging interaction and networking between those interested in studying or working in this space. NFTs represent the democratic ideals of blockchain technology and its introduction of a system based on decentralised power while the blockchain itself offers an additional novel medium for blockchain-native art. However, the recent explosion of NFTs has led to much controversy in public, ranging from admiration to astonishment and condemnation, and the intensity of the industry’s commercial success has eclipsed its aesthetic, creative and social potential. We look to fill the gap in the discussion, focusing attention on the artistic merits of NFTs. Exploring the space beyond the partially superficial economic boom, we thus expand the conversation around blockchain art to include aesthetic, social, and anthropological perspectives—a holistic and overdue approach for grasping the comprehensive potential of NFTs and blockchain as a new artistic medium.We expect the OxBAT conference to be a melting pot for ideas, discussions and innovation, influencing how the NFT space as blockchain art is perceived today and creating the foundation for its future development. We look forward to welcoming you to The OxBAT Cave, illuminated by the ideas of creatives, academics and entrepreneurs alike. The intention behind OxBAT (Oxford Blockchain, Art & Technology), the first academic conference hosted at a university on this topic, is to marry academia and industry by initiating a multidisciplinary debate amongst peers. Through coming together for an inclusive and expansive discussion, we look to establish a foundation upon which further academic research in the field of NFTs and blockchain as a medium can be used as a springboard. It will allow professionally and creatively diverse attendees to build bridges between their research, practices and businesses, creating what we hope will be a valuable network of connected individuals who are passionate and innovative in the field, and whose position within the growing space we hope to enhance. Our conference will offer an opportunity to introduce, discuss, and actualise projects and research questions, to grow networks and create a fertile soil for their subsequent success. Cutting-edge research and cutting-edge creation must happen simultaneously for generating exemplary outcomes. The conference will offer an environment for fostering cross-discipline, as well as cross-chain pollination and collaboration, with a vision of moving beyond silos.


Robert Alice

Joshua S. Bamford

David Hochhauser

Aonia Traxler

Mateja Sela

Fabienne Silberstein Bamford

Josiah Thiagarajah

Imogen Hare


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