Artist Michael Green was hoping to sell a .gif of a Jeff Koons balloon dog melting for $5800. With .gifs being so expensive these days, it's practically a steal!
Green listed the .gif on eBay, with a list price of $5800, a reference to the cost of Koons' actual piece, which sold for $58 million. In the description, he added a polemic about the value of the work to the art world (I have preserved the odd line breaks as they appear in the ebay auction):
It is difficult for artists who make digital work to gain any capital from it because the
components of the work is all in the hyperreal. Where is the object physically? No such object exists. By purchasing
"Balloon Dogs Deflated", this will change the way image formats are valued, and open up debate of how an digital artist
can sell his or her work. THIS WILL BE A HISTORIC PURCHASE. It will receive mainstream press and open up a discussion on how digital art jpegs/GIF's/etc. could be sold and collected, just like how paintings are currently auctioned. It will introduce the future medium to the world and connect more people to the genre of digital art.
Michael Green and his contemporaries could now support their lifestyle by selling their work to the public. Eventually this will happen, as GIF's and other image files are on there way to being taken seriously as a collector's item and be worth a price that could compensate for the artist's hard work and full dedication to their crafts. Do you want to be the one who leads this MOVEMENT???
Unfortunately for Green, the auction ended without any bids. His problem is that I can "purchase" this work at the expense of a right-click and a "save to desktop." As I've said before, as the internet eliminates scarcity, so too it eliminates value, both monetary and sentimental. There's nothing collectible about something that can be infinitely copied, and retains the same fidelity as the original. I wish Michael Green the best of luck, but unless he makes a .gif that is meticulously guarded, a la Wu-Tang's "Once Upon a Time In Shaolin," he will not be able to machinate value.
A .gif did sell on eBay earlier this year for $1,300, but it was a one-off, a novelty, like the potato salad Kickstarter and the Million Dollar Homepage. People wanted to be a part of it because it was unprecedented. Now that there's precedent, there's not nearly as much interest.