Big Data & Analytics as a Foundation of the Future of the African Art Ecosystem
Speaking of the advent of information and communication technology, digital streams and information science, the Internet has left no economic stone unturned on its quest to turn the world into a fully functioning digital village, the visual arts being no exception. Enlightened art market players increasingly embrace new technologies to display, promote, and conserve artworks while artists engage with innovative media to intensify cultural branding in the digital age and to give birth to new art forms that push the boundaries of contemporary art.
The Relationship Between Art and Big Data
Despite various attempts at preserving the traditional methods of creating, sharing and documenting art, the increased level of production, reveals, even more so, the relevance of technology in the African art scene. The relationship between art and technology, found itself forming before a global pandemic made it a necessity. The development of the African art ecosystem reveals prominent features of today’s online market such as; cryptocurrency, blockchain, and artificial intelligence, all concepts closely related to Big data—that have the potential to contribute to the further development and growth of the online art trade. In other aspects besides art, the use of larger software in cyberspace has been known to attract wider networks and chains of ideas, which if tended to, can make African and global art commerce more versatile. The future of the African online art market rests largely in the hands of the provision of accurate market data and analytics, which will offer the promise of a thought-out path for the art ecosystem in the near future.
Big data, having started in the early ’20s, gained most of its popularity during the uprising of the global village—the rise of social media and the Internet. As more information has become available online, faster and more complex means of sorting, gathering and storing large amounts of data for analysis is required, in turn, rapidly growing the African art market.
Providing Big Data Based Solutions to Blockades in the African Art Scene
The very essence of the fusion of art and technology is to provide solutions that cannot be provided by traditional means, in the same vein, to provide a system for the management and measurement of results. For instance, Art Tech investments can provide solutions to various areas that overlap with the art market. Areas such as logistics, contracts, legal, storage, data, insurance, standardisation, education and the new artist’s discovery.
According to Bola Asiru, co-founder of Red Door Gallery and principal for MasterCard Advisors, Middle East & Africa. “Every entrepreneur should ask themselves which problem across the art value chain they are trying to solve and then find out if there is a critical mass of people willing to pay for the service. The ideal solution solves pain points, it has a large critical mass of people willing to pay for it and can be delivered at a price point that allows for decent margins.”
The technical advancement taking place in various parts of Africa should leave one with the knowhow needed to carefully navigate these complex systems. Regardless, participants in the art market should be educated on these topics.
According to Elena Sidorova of ‘The Cyber Turn of the Contemporary Art Market’ observes, “As the majority of art market operations still take place offline, contemporary art market researchers do not pay too much attention to the phenomenon of the Internet as a powerful art market disruptive innovation and treat cyberspace as a mere supportive tool to boost art sales.” The role of cyberspace is often deduced to that of a mere sales-boosting context as opposed to a valuable tool to facilitate the growth of an African art eco-system. There is a need for art trends in relation to Big data constructs, to be studied, stored and used as worthy additives to the components of the economy as opposed to an obstruction of the traditional methods of disruption in the African art space.
Full article published in our digital issue coming soon.
Opening image: Osinachi, Take the Stares, cryptoart
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