WAC Resources

AGORIA {Le Code d’Orsay} at Musée d’Orsay (France, 2024)

Blockchain Use Cases for Museums
In a groundbreaking move towards embracing the Web3 space, Musée d’Orsay embarked on a transformative journey with AGORIA { Le Code d’Orsay }, a project that blended digital art, blockchain technology, and traditional museum spaces. This initiative not only marked a significant departure from conventional museum practices but also showcased the museum’s commitment to innovation and artistic exploration.

Background and Challenges
Musée d’Orsay, a venerable institution steeped in the tradition of 19th-century art, recognized the need to adapt to the evolving landscape of digital art and blockchain technology. Faced with the challenge of integrating these new paradigms into its established framework, the museum embarked on a proactive quest for knowledge and collaboration. Despite initial skepticism and logistical hurdles (mostly revolving around the acquisition of a crypto wallet), the museum's leadership was determined to explore the intersection of art, technology, and innovation.

Collaborative Approach
AGORIA { Le Code d’Orsay } was conceived through a collaborative effort involving key stakeholders: Agoria (Sébastien Devaud), a prominent figure in digital art and music; Constance de Marliave, Musée d’Orsay’s economic development director; and Kika Nicolela, curator of Objkt and Objkt.one. This multidisciplinary team brought together diverse expertise to conceptualize and execute a project that would push the boundaries of traditional museum experiences.

Conceptualization and Execution
AGORIA { Le Code d’Orsay } was not merely an exhibition but a meticulously crafted experience that immersed visitors in the intersection of art, technology, and culture. Visitors to AGORIA { Le Code d’Orsay } were greeted with a multi-layered experience that unfolded across the museum's halls.

One of the pieces presented was "Interpretation by Saccharomyces cerevisiae of The Painter’s Studio by Gustave Courbet," a piece that delved into the realm of biological generative art. Using data from a bioreactor, the artwork dynamically interpreted Courbet's masterpiece, blurring the boundaries between the digital and physical worlds. This innovative approach sparked conversations about the conservation and longevity of digital art, challenging traditional notions of permanence in the art world.

One of the central pieces, "Σ Lumina" (pronounced Sigma Lumina), invited participants to engage with the artwork through their breath. A sculpture, illuminated by a moving light source, periodically generated QR codes on the ground, prompting visitors to scan them with their smartphones. Upon scanning, visitors could activate digital artworks by blowing into their devices' microphones. This interactive process allowed for the creation of unique digital compositions, each inspired by iconic paintings from the museum's collection. Over the course of the exhibition, approximately 40,000 breaths were registered, resulting in over 3,000 minted artworks.

In addition to the immersive installation, AGORIA { Le Code d’Orsay } featured a live minting experience, allowing visitors to mint their digital creations on-site. This process enabled participants to take home unique digital artworks, further bridging the gap between the physical and digital realms. The exhibition culminated in a musical celebration, where Agoria's DJ set transformed the museum's nave into a vibrant dance floor, surrounded by sculptures. Limited to 1,000 attendees, the event sold out within minutes, underscoring the project's appeal to diverse audiences.

Key Highlights and Achievements
AGORIA { Le Code d’Orsay } garnered significant attention and acclaim, attracting over 75,000 visitors in just 27 days. The exhibition featured innovative artworks minted on the Tezos blockchain, allowing visitors to participate in the creation process. Additionally, a fundraising auction of seven unique NFTs generated proceeds totaling 38,800 Tez, signaling a shift in traditional art world dynamics. Through these initiatives, Musée d’Orsay not only embraced digital innovation but also contributed to the advancement of Web3 practices within the art world.

The success of AGORIA { Le Code d’Orsay } has paved the way for future collaborations and initiatives within the Web3 space at Musée d’Orsay. As the museum continues to explore new avenues for artistic expression and engagement, it remains committed to fostering innovation and embracing emerging technologies. With a newfound sense of possibility and openness, Musée d’Orsay looks ahead to a future where digital art and traditional museum experiences converge seamlessly, enriching the cultural landscape for generations to come.