Posts in Behind the Scenes

Arius CEO Paul Lindahl on Deloitte Big Data Panel

Art Market Insights: Big Data & AI

November 7th, 2018 Posted by Art Market, Behind the Scenes 0 comments on “Art Market Insights: Big Data & AI”

Arius Talks Big Data & Artificial Intelligence at Deloitte’s 11th Art & Finance Conference

Earlier this month Arius CEO, Paul Lindahl, took to the stage at Deloitte’s 11th Art and Finance Conference, participating in a panel discussion about the role of Big Data and AI in the art world. As can be expected from a world-leading conference, Paul was amongst a stellar line up of panelists, including Henry Blundell, Master Art; Catherine D. Henry, Palpable Media; Zohar Elhanani, MututalArt; Oliver Zephir, Technoport SA; and Sophie Neuendorf, Artnet.

With a focus on how to improve analytics, financial decisions & experience in the art market, Paul and fellow panelists addressed some of the biggest challenges, and opportunities in this realm. Evidently, the landscape is changing at lightning speed and with the next Deloitte Art & Finance Report due to be published in 2019, we’re keenly anticipating its release.

Ahead of next year’s report, we thought we’d share our perspective on Big Data, what we’re most excited about, and where Arius has an important role to play.

What Exactly is Big Data and is it Already Here?

Research suggests the adoption of Big Data in the art world is still in its infancy, especially when we look at technical definitions of what “Big Data” means. In most basic terms, “Big Data” encompasses large volumes of data, collected at high velocity, in a variety of formats, often including unstructured and difficult-to-analyze data, like audio clips or social media posts.

Albeit early days compared to other industries, the art world is seeing some exciting Big Data players emerge. So far, developments are mostly in relation to recording transactions and predicting valuations, as well as making personalized recommendations for artwork based on user behaviour and trends.

What problems are the art world trying to solve exactly?

While these ideas sound like useful tools for more convenient art shopping, the core drivers for Big Data disruption run a little deeper than providing a seamless buying experience.

The Need for Transparency

Understandably, the power holders of the art market are typically those with hard-earned reputations, who can be trusted by the wealthiest of collectors, and have a great depth of knowledge, with insight and connections to private auction circles. With this comes an air of mystery and a great deal of secrecy.

With 53% of secondary market art sales being private [1], trust in transactions is being heavily placed on such reputations and word of mouth information within the art market. Therefore, art-world Big Data organizations are focusing on utilizing technology to improve transparency around transactions and value of a piece; i.e. what is being sold, when, for how much, and to whom?

Christie’s recently announced [2] that Artory’s blockchain registry will securely record all public information regarding the sale of each lot in the 2018 American Modernist Masterpieces auction. This data will include the title, description, final price, and date, producing a digital certificate of the transaction for Christie’s. Meanwhile, Codex has secured partnerships with around 5,000 auction houses that have joined their blockchain registry.

In an effort to develop standardized reports that strengthen provenance, which will inevitably help to determine current or future valuation, firms like Verisart, Fresco, Codex, and Artory are starting to gain traction with Blockchain based provenance technology.

However, there is a lot of internal skepticism as to whether improved transparency will have a positive impact [3]. While we may seek comfort in seeing similarly opaque markets, like real estate and wine collecting, being opened up with technology disruption, there is a stigma that data and technology necessitate and rationalize decision-making. Some fear this will remove the ‘element of surprise’ which is seen as essential for the art market, as this world thrives on its esoteric allure [4].

The flip side is that access to knowledge could empower more collectors than ever before and help grow the marketplace beyond the geographical constraints of few core art hubs in the world. We’re excited to see whether the attraction of a hungrier marketplace will help ease the transition towards transaction and valuation information becoming readily available.

 

Combating Art Fraud

Another challenge facing the art world is fraud, Interpol estimates that 6 billion dollars’ worth of fraudulent art is absorbed each year [5]. Understandably, with the risk of fraud being significant, collectors and financial lenders may continue to favour other investment assets, despite art earning a reputation for garnering unprecedented returns, in lucky circumstances.

While companies strive to improve transparency around art transactions, it’s proving difficult for Blockchain provenance companies to validate information or even tell if a transaction is actually based on the real object.

Naturally, Arius sees an opportunity here, to aid verified transaction information with securely captured art object data that accurately maps the colour and geometry of a painting. With the potential to digitally fingerprint paintings and assign unique art identifier numbers based on our scan data, which would be difficult to manipulate unlike photographs, we hope to help address one of the biggest challenges with digital provenance records and set new standards for condition reports.

 

Improving Condition Reports

Knowledge can also be harnessed from physical art object data, allowing not only prospective buyers but also current owners of art, to make the best possible long-term decisions about their collection. Arius’ rich data sets record a painting’s surface to reveal details that would otherwise be invisible to the human eye.

Working with conservators and restoration experts, collectors will be able to treat any early signs of degradation before the painting visibly changes, which is one of the biggest threats to the valuation of a piece, in addition to how gut-wrenching it would be to see your favourite Monet wither and fade before your eyes.

Another exciting prospect for the art market is the ability to not only detect degradation early but to predict signs of decay. As Arius collects data for more and more paintings, we’ll be helping to record the art equivalent of a ‘cultural seed bank’. Working with conservators and leading players in Big Data, we look to be able to predict the lifecycle of a painting’s surface, potentially calculating variable degradation rates of different artists’ works depending on where and how it’s kept.

 

Adjusting to a Generation Shift

Last but not least is a shift in generational values and expectations. While we’ve already seen pressure from millennials shake up other industries, it’s only now that we’re starting to see millennials emerge as power players in the art collection, financing and valuation markets.

Countless research highlights a millennial thirst for being able to access vast amounts of information, quickly and conveniently. We also expect the demands of millennial collectors to influence a shift towards the wider global distribution of art sales and auctions.

In addition to prices, this generation cares enormously about the value of an item and what that means in a broader context, including the impact on the environment, society and even what their consumer choices mean from a political stance. To make such mindful and well-informed decisions, millennials expect information to be high-quality and transparent, buying from (and into) brands they can trust – which almost feels alien compared to the traditions, closed circuits and the mystery that’s associated with today’s art market.

Another interesting application of Big Data in the art world is taking place online, with brands like Artsy and Sotheby’s snapping up ArtAdvisor and Thread Genius, respectively. Both acquired art-tech startups specialize in recommendation engines, aspiring to become the ‘Netflix’ or ‘Spotify’ of the art world. By crunching a variety of data sets, these applications provide personalized recommendations of artists and even individual pieces that a user might be interested in.

To summarize, with our industry understanding and the latest insights from our panel discussion at Deloitte’s 11th Art & Finance Conference, it’s clear that Big Data is happening in the art world, and we can expect a lot more to come. While accessing credible, verified transaction data remains to be of the biggest barriers, the future for the art market is looking more transparent and much bigger, as technology helps soften geographical boundaries for art collectors.

With more access to rich data, like Arius art data sets, the art market will become more knowledgeable about the physical art piece, helping reduce fraud with digital fingerprinting, and even reducing costs associated with degradation risks, because signs of aging can be identified, and even predicted, sooner.

We’re excited about the future in art technology and look forward to receiving Deloitte’s 2019 Art and Finance report. Find out more information about the report and download the 2017 edition on Deloitte’s site.

Find Out More About Our Technology

Arius Takes the Stage at Deloitte Art & Finance Conference

October 24th, 2018 Posted by Art News, Behind the Scenes, Media Buzz 0 comments on “Arius Takes the Stage at Deloitte Art & Finance Conference”

Announcement

We are pleased to announce that Arius will be part of the speaker line up at Deloitte’s 11th Art and Finance conference, in Luxembourg on October 26.

As a sponsor of this year’s conference, Arius is supporting the 2019 Deloitte Art and Finance report and will be contributing to the much-awaited panel discussions scheduled to take place at the conference.

The Deloitte Art and Finance Conference is an integral event, putting the spotlight on the role of technology in the worlds of art and finance. This year’s conference features 5 core themes:

 

  • The Challenges to Deploy Blockchain in the Art Market to Allow Fractional Investment in Artworks
  • Art, Law and Technology: What Are the Main Challenges?
  • Risk Management: How Technology Can Support Trust in the Art Market
  • Big Data and Artificial Intelligence: How to Improve Analytics, Financial Decision and Experience in the Art Market
  • Investment in ArtTech Companies

 

Arius CEO, Paul Lindahl, will be partaking in the panel discussion about how big data and artificial intelligence improve analytics, financial decision making and experiences in the art market. Paul will be highlighting how our technology and rich data sets can be utilized to help tackle some of the art world’s biggest challenges when it comes to big data and market transparency.

 

The discussion will be taking place at 3PM-4PM CEST. If you are in a different time zone, make sure to tune to into our twitter feed, @ariustechnology and follow the hashtag, #DeloitteArtFinance, for updates from the conference throughout the day!

For more info regarding the conference, visit:

https://www2.deloitte.com/lu/en/pages/art-finance/events/11th-art-finance-conference.html

3D Scanning & Digitization – Uncovering New Possibilities for Art Conservation

August 25th, 2018 Posted by Art Education, Art News, Behind the Scenes, For Art Lovers 0 comments on “3D Scanning & Digitization – Uncovering New Possibilities for Art Conservation”

As technology progresses, science continuously gets integrated into the profession of conservation. Historic paintings are subjected to a variety of conservation efforts; however, it always begins with an examination. At Arius, our 3D scanning technology maps the colour and geometry of a painting to unveil data hidden to the naked eye – without ever contacting the surface.

La Mer Agitee - Monet

The National Research Council Canada (NRC) developed the foundations of our technology, which was used at The Louvre to scan the Mona Lisa, before being adopted by Arius Technology in 2015.

Developing a close relationship with the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, has allowed Arius engineers to refine and perfect our technology by working with conservation experts such as Stephen Gritt. Gritt is the Director of Conservation and Technical Research at the Gallery, where he has been fortunate enough to work on restoring a number of paintings, including pieces by the great master, Claude Monet. Inspired by Gritt’s philosophy, Arius understands that the job of a conservationist is to do “the minimum to get the painting to talk in its own voice again.”

3D scanning for art conservation allows us to uncover data that can examine details finer than anything a human eye could spot; more specifically, finer than one-tenth of a human hair. By inspecting the surface of the painting first through digital models, restorers have the opportunity to complete a detailed restoration plan, and even prototypes of the results, before beginning the physical process.

Our technology also has the potential for conservators to reach further back into the past and experiment within the digital file, turning back time by restoring original pigments and allowing the artist’s original brushstrokes to sing once again.

Discover more as we talk to Stephen Gritt about how we digitally restored a Monet masterpiece:

Explore Amazing Virtual Reality Museum Tours, Part II

June 22nd, 2018 Posted by Art News, Behind the Scenes, Digital Art, For Art Lovers, Living with Art 0 comments on “Explore Amazing Virtual Reality Museum Tours, Part II”

Museums have always been at the centre point of showcasing the world’s treasures in grand halls and galleries, while also trying to preserve our history for generations to come. However, with virtual reality technology, the future of how we visit museums is adapting quickly. This global movement is allowing art to become more accessible to the masses while ensuring our cultural heritage is preserved.

This piece is the second in a two-part series that explores how museums are embracing technology through the use of virtual reality. In Part I, it was discussed how world-renowned museums are using VR technology to enhance the visitor experience and make public art more accessible. This piece will outline a select number of virtual museums that are based solely online. These new museums will bring artwork that is found all over the world to a single location and will reveal private collections that can now be viewed through online, 3D means.

Feature Photo Source: Tech Crunch

1. The Kremer Museum

The Kremer Collection is a privately-owned collection by George and llomer Kremer. It is composed of artwork by historical artists such as Rembrandt, Van Rijn, and Frans Hals.  Now, these old masters have received a whole new virtual treatment. Using VR technology, visitors will be able to explore this private collection and view the surface of each painting, allowing them to better see all colours and textures. Additionally, they will be able to view the rear side of the painting to see the artwork’s provenance, something which is impossible to do at regular museums. George Kremer shares the idea behind the operation, “Imagine taking the museum to the people, instead of taking the people to the museum.” Visitors will be able to experience a true museum atmosphere regardless of where they are.

George Kremer has spent nearly two decades collecting 74 pieces of historical artwork. Now in collaboration with his son, Joël Kremer, who is a former employee at Google, new technology has been merged with the family’s legacy. In the beginning, the family thought about the idea to open this gallery as a brick and mortar building, however, costs and location were limiting factors. By having the artwork be based solely online, visitors of the museum are not limited by location, ensuring greater accessibility.

2. Open Heritage, Google Arts & Culture 

Google has partnered with CyArk, a 3D laser scanning non-profit organization, to create a new project devoted to helping preserve historical sites and landmarks around the world. Their digital conservation efforts allow visitors of Open Heritage to view 26 different world heritage sites and have even resulted in new information being learned by historians.

“With modern technology, we can capture these monuments in fuller detail than ever before, including the color and texture of surfaces alongside the geometry captured by the laser scanners with millimeter precision in 3D,” Chance Coughenour, a Digital Archaeologist and program manager with the Google Arts and Culture division, said in a press release. “These detailed scans can also be used to identify areas of damage and assist restoration efforts.”

3. The VR Museum of Fine Art

VR Musuem of Fine Art

Photo Source: VR Focus

The VR Museum of Fine Art allows visitors to embark on a journey that would otherwise require you to visit over 10 different countries. This latest technology enables you to walk around, duck under, and even hug famous sculptures and artwork; that’s right, no guards will be telling you to step away from the artwork! To help learn more about each piece, informative holographic plaques are offered. Thanks to virtual technologies, art lovers can interact with art in a totally new way.

4. The DSL Collection 

The DSL Private Collection was created in 2005 with a focus towards Chinese contemporary art. It is unique to others as a cap of 160-200 is kept on the number of works in the collection. In an effort to share the private collection with the rest of the world, Sylvain and Dominique Levy, the collection owners, made the world’s first VR Museum. Since 2005, the DSL Collection has been devoted to making it a nomadic collection and has refused to be fixed in one spot. As such, creating a virtual museum fit with the collection’s vision. It features work by Ai Weiwei and Zeng Fanzhi as well as younger artists such as Song Yuanyuan and Zhao Zhao.

The future of VR and art is dependent on many external circumstances. Of course, the primary cause is the development of technology in this sector. However, users must be willing to adopt this feature and push the limitations of how it can be used. We have only begun to scratch the surface of what art and science can achieve together. At Arius, we are also devoted to expanding these capabilities. Our technology has allowed for the creation of new contemporary art work through new means, has lead to groundbreaking research, and has made art more accessible. It showcases that the way we live with art is changing quickly.

This piece of the two-part series emphasizes key players in the museum-art industry that have leveraged the technology in new ways; but most importantly, it highlights that the future of art is very, very bright.