purple steps with blue balls and a yellow wall with a blue floor
purple steps with blue balls and a yellow wall with a blue floor

An NFT from Tezos

They’re being shown at Basel, included in Venice: let’s see what the data tells us about NFTs and their long-term potential. Our contributing editor and columnist Sophie Neuendorf looks into it
A girl with blonde hair wearing a brown jacket

Sophie Neuendorf

At this point, I believe that most of you will have heard of the phenomenon that’s taken the art world by storm: Non-Fungible Tokens, better known as NFTs. Ever since Christie’s sold that now famous NFT by artist Beeple for $69 Million in March 2021, this nascent category has grown exponentially. Over the past year, something like $44 billion has been spent on about 6 million NFTs, usually issued to certify digital creations but sometimes for physical objects such as paintings and sculptures.

The popularity of NFTs can be attributed to several factors. Primarily, it can be attributed to the rapid digitalisation of the art industry. Now, more and more artists, collectors, and professionals are comfortable with browsing, interacting and transacting online. This coincides with the cultural shift to the metaverse, which is a digital copy of the real world. It’s unsurprising that the metaverse should include fine art and collectibles, given that luxury fashion brands such as Gucci, Prada or Ralph Lauren are also represented.

A cartoon monkey wearing a black and white striped top, a sailor hat and red heart shaped sunglasses

Jimmy Fallon’s NFT by Bored Ape Yacht Club

But how can one identify ‘good’ or ‘bad’ NFTs and NFT artists? How do we know which NFTs are a good investment? This process is not much different to that of traditional art: after a period of time, a selection of NFT artists will crystallise as those that are most in- demand and desired. This may be a reflection of tastes and preferences but also of the zeitgeist and, most importantly, of who collects them. Many of us look to tastemakers and well known gallerists or collectors to see what they are buying, then use that information to help us form an opinion.

a line graph

As one does before committing to a traditional work of art, it’s important to research prices and comparables before purchasing an NFT, as the market for NFTs has evolved and changed rapidly, even within the past year.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

As you can see from the graph, the prices for NFTs appreciated rapidly from the spring of 2021. However, since the end of last year, NFT prices have experienced a correction – the average transaction value has decreased substantially. This is in no way a reflection of the long-term viability and value of NFTs as a collecting category, but can be interpreted as the stabilisation of the market. Much more volatile than other assets or collectibles, such as contemporary art or gold, NFTs also suffer from price fluctuations due to the changeable nature of cryptocurrencies. Additionally, as it’s a new category, speculators may see it as less viable and secure as an investment in comparison to traditional blue-chip categories (as demonstrated below, on this page) – as yet, in terms of art as an investment, postwar and contemporary art, for example, are seen as much more secure than the nascent NFTs.

a bar graph

Yuga Labs is the company that is responsible for the extremely pricey ‘Bored Ape Yacht Club’ NFT series. At the beginning of this year, they announced the acquisition of the intellectual property behind their rival Larva Labs’ CryptoPunks and Meebits projects. This means that now three of the world’s most important crypto companies are under one blockchain-supported roof. Yuga Labs thus attempts a novel solution to a riddle facing more and more art professionals in this era of Instagram-ready immersive installations, branded merchandise, and fractionalised ownership: how do you turn a niche obsession into a mainstream phenomenon?

A cartoon girl

One of 10,000 avatar NFTs created by Azuki

Yuga Labs’ answer is to grant direct financial incentives to NFT owners to help the company build – and market – a creative universe around its tentpole intellectual property (IP). The move makes an expensive category accessible to a potentially much wider fan base. Despite the correction in transaction value, these popular NFTs are still expensive. The cheapest Meebit now costs about 5.6 ETH ($14,500). The floor price for a CryptoPunk is about 75 ETH ($195,000). Bored Apes sell for at least 97 ETH ($250,000).

Read more: Maryam Eisler On Tim Yip’s ‘Love Infinity’

A blurry picture of flowers and a building

‘Rebirth’ by Beeple

This new development answers the question of how to build a broad fan base for IP in such short supply, and with such impressive price tags: create derivative works available at low costs. Think of the Basquiat estate licensing the artist’s imagery for Uniqlo T-shirts. The difference is that Yuga Labs is outsourcing this task to NFT owners, rather than proliferating the Punks, Meebits, and Apes in house. Yuga Labs will give direct financial incentives to NFT owners to help the company build and market a creative universe. Or, to compare it to the traditional art world: create prints off of original works on canvas for a fraction of the price.

NFTs have already been shown at major fairs, such as Art Basel. This year’s Venice Biennale is showing NFTs in the Cameroon Pavilion. Galleries and museums, such as the Uffizi and Belvedere, are issuing NFTs of their Old Master and modern paintings. With auction houses such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Artnet auctions regularly offering NFTs, it’s only a matter of time until they are less of a novelty and more fully integrated in the traditional art industry.


Sophie Neuendorf is Vice-President at Artnet

This article first appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

Reading time: 4 min
a turtle on the grass
turquoise sea and the deep sea with waves next to it

The Nature Conservancy has grown to become one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organisations in the world. All images copyright: Carla Sanatana/ TNC Photo Contest 2019, Ethan Daniels, Randy Olsen, TNC Belize, Claire Ryser/TNC Contest 2019, Julieanne Robinson Stockbridge

Non profit environmental organisation, The Nature Conservancy, has over 400 scientists working and impacts conservation in over 75 countries and territories. With the UN Ocean Conference currently taking place in Lisbon, Melissa Garvey, Global Director, Ocean Protection at The Nature Conservancy speaks to LUX about the effectiveness of philanthropy and investment to protect the oceans

LUX: The Nature Conservancy has an interesting niche, combining philanthropy and investment. How does that work?
Melissa Garvey: The Nature Conservancy is a global environmental nonprofit working to create a world where people and nature can thrive. Building on nearly six decades of experience, we’ve protected more than 280 million acres of ocean, 119 million acres of land, and 5,000 river miles. We are able to accomplish so much because we make careful use of our resources, maximising the philanthropic and public funding that goes toward our science-driven program work.

We are also able to leverage philanthropic funding with innovative finance strategies. The Nature Conservancy has an impact investing unit that works with our conservation colleagues and collaborators around the world to source and structure investment products that support TNC’s mission at scale. With partners, we have been able to originate, structure, fund and close investment vehicles representing more than $2.3 billion of committed capital. Philanthropy is instrumental in supporting our teams to develop, execute and manage innovative finance strategies that allowing TNC to help countries access billions of dollars in long-term funding for conservation.

shellfish in a fishing boat

LUX: Financing is a key barrier hindering ocean protection. How are you overcoming this barrier?
MG: The Nature Conservancy’s Blue Bonds Strategy is one solution. We transform debt into conservation action at scale.

At the heart of these projects is a basic deal: A coastal nation commits to protect approximately 30% of its near-shore ocean areas. In support, TNC refinances the nation’s sovereign debt, leading to lower interest rates and longer repayment periods. The government uses the savings to capitalise a conservation trust fund to support new marine protected areas to which the country has committed.

TNC’s role is to assemble the deals, use our science and a stakeholder driven marine spatial planning process to facilitate the design of a system of protected areas and create a trust fund that holds the government accountable to its commitments—ensuring that we finance real conservation, not paper parks.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

An example of this is the $553 million debt refinancing we completed in Belize in November 2021. This project enabled the Government of Belize to reduce its debt burden and generate an estimated US$180M for marine conservation in support of Belize’s commitment to protect 30% of its ocean, strengthen governance frameworks for domestic and high sea fisheries, and establish a regulatory framework for coastal blue carbon projects. This is especially meaningful to the people of Belize as the country’s tourist-based economy continues to suffer from the impacts of COVID-19

Our goals is to project 4 million square kilometres of ocean and unlock $1.6 billion for marine conservation.

A coral reef under the sea

LUX: Are blue bonds going to become more significant elements in the market?
MG: The TNC Blue Bonds debt conversion structure is highly scalable and replicable. Transaction sizes and overall market are limited by three criteria:

1)Countries committed to achieving the conservation outcomes. As the threat of climate change and awareness of the role that natural resources and biodiversity play in economic growth rapidly increase, most developing countries will require additional financing for conservation.

2)Availability and affordability of credit enhancement, whether through the US Development Finance Corporation or development banks to do more deals in more markets.

3)Availability of debt to refinance: while debt conversions work well with sovereign debt trading at a discount in the capital markets, they are not exclusively for countries threatened by high debt distress. Many countries have high-coupon bonds. Even if these trade at little to no discount, they can still be refinanced with lower coupons and longer tenors to create significant funding for conservation. Many also have commercial bank loans that may be candidates for refinancing into a lower interest rate and/or longer tenor loans.

turquoise reefs in the sea

LUX: How will sustainable blue economy finance need to develop over the next few years?
MG: Sustainable blue finance is essential to national economies and the 3 billion people rely on healthy oceans for their livelihoods. Financing often holds back countries from implementing ocean conservation that will ensure oceans are sustainable into the future. Philanthropic and public funding is essential but insufficient to close this gap.

Today the challenge of financing the sustainability of our oceans is compounded by the Covid 19 health pandemic and the financial crisis, which has placed unrelenting pressure on public finances and slashed tourism revenues. But there is hope. Innovative debt and market approaches can help bring in new funding at a scale that can address the problem.

LUX: Are you looking for UHNWI individual investors, institutional investors or philanthropists?
MG: Philanthropy is instrumental in supporting our teams to develop, execute and manage strategies, policy and partnerships – including innovative finance strategies — that allow TNC to help countries access billions of dollars in long-term funding for conservation. We simply couldn’t do our work without the generosity of individual and institutional supporters.

a turtle on the grass

LUX: Do governments need to become much more active on ocean protection?
MG: Governments are already active in ocean protection, and there is a lot more to do. We are already three years into the decade during which we have to bend the curve on biodiversity loss. So, this year the global community must finally agree a new and ambitions Global Biodiversity Framework, including a target to globally protect 30% of freshwater, land and the ocean. To deliver against this target, countries must also conclude negotiations in 2022 on a new treaty for the protection and sustainable use of the High Seas with clear powers to establish protected areas in areas beyond national jurisdiction. But we can’t wait for these treaties to be negotiated before we act. The UN Ocean Conference is an opportunity for the ocean community to both demand action and offer solutions.

LUX: Is there is a risk of creating an uneven market with low-regulation governments allowing exploitative practices on a large scale?
MG: There are always a risk like this. But investing in the health of oceans creates long term benefit. Globally, the gross value of marine ecosystem services is estimated at US $49.7 trillion. This suggests that the economic benefits would far outweigh the costs of establishing a 30% global MPA network. We are developing a costing framework to help decision makers in individual countries better understand today’s costs of implementation and management of ocean protection as well as the long term benefits of marine conservation so that governments, NGOs and the private sector can make more informed choices.

LUX: How important will the role of science and innovation be in the Blue Economy? Can you give some examples?
MG: Science and innovation are essential for Blue Economy interventions that change the way that we protect and value oceans. For example, did you know that you can insure the protective value of nature? You can.

divers in the sea with seaweed around them

It works like this: We know that reefs can decrease the power of waves coming on shore by about 97%. That is really important during the ever more frequent – and increasing more severe – storms. But these storms also take a toll on reefs, which leave coastal areas at greater risk to future damage if the reef isn’t restored. We worked with the insurance industry and put that science into insurance models. Together, we came up with the world’s first insurance policy to insure a portion of the Meso-American reef in Quintana Roo, Mexico that protects areas near Cancun and its $10B tourism industry from hurricanes. If a storm hits, the insurance is triggered to ensure that the reef can be quickly restored. This insurance was tested in the Autumn of 2020 when Hurricane Delta hit. The $800,000 insurance payout funded vital reef repair activities. This is a win for nature, a win for coastal communities and will drive further interest in conservation finance and the need to protect marine ecosystems across the globe.

Read more: Julie Packard: All In Together

LUX: There is no metric to compare the value of different nature-based solutions in ocean conservation, and no consistent measure of the effectiveness. Is this true, and is it an issue?
MG: I don’t agree that we can’t measure nature-based solutions. The reef insurance I mentioned above is one example. Here’s another: Blue Carbon Resilience Credits. We know that the coastal wetlands provides a unique opportunity for climate finance. If we restored even a quarter of these habitats, we would add 10 million hectares of carbon-trapping wetlands to our coastlines. That is an area equivalent in size to Iceland. In addition, protecting existing coastal wetlands would prevent the release of 80 million tons of carbon emissions currently being stored by these habitats.

A fishing village with boats in the water

TNC worked with international experts to develop science, flood modelling, and carbon and resilience methodologies for the Blue Carbon Resilience Credit. These credits support not just carbon mitigation, but also quantifiable, verifiable resilience benefits like flood reduction to adjacent communities. We have identified projects across the US and globally and are bringing our first supply of Blue Carbon Resilience Credits to market.

LUX: You say a comprehensive approach is best for ocean investment. How should this work?
MG: To achieve truly durable ocean protection, we have to focus on scale and representativeness of the areas we conserve, as well as ensuring long term financing for conservation, and equity and sustainable livelihoods for the people who rely on oceans. Our global ocean protection program drives new protection, restoration, and management improvement in support of biodiversity and communities.

We work at multiple scales. We address the long-term need to secure large-scale new protection and sustainable financing for marine conservation while we tackle today’s urgent need to restore critical coastal ecosystems — like coral reefs and coastal wetlands — and improve management of our oceans, while we build capacity for communities to manage their marine resources.

Find out more: nature.org

Reading time: 8 min
A woman holding a ball
A woman holding a ball

Physicist Laura Aguale

New environmental arts charity Platform Earth launched at a star-studded event in London. Jude Law and astronaut Nicole Stott read to the crowd, who bid on works from the likes of Rachel Whiteread and Shezad Dawood, in aid of marine carbon capture

Guests included physicist Laura Aguale, members of the Platform Earth team George Butler, Mark Sanders, Florence Devereaux, Petroc Sesti and Richard Wadhams; as well as Ruth Ganesh and Mollie Dent Brocklehurst.  Ben Okri, Jude Law and former NASA astronaut Nicole Stott were among those who gave an ocean-themed reading.

A group standing by a wall of pictures

Members of the Platform Earth team George Butler, Mark Sanders, Florence Devereaux, Petroc Sesti and Richard Wadhams

Jude Law giving a speech

Actor Jude Law

Nicole Stott wearing a black dress reading a speech

Former NASA astronaut Nicole Stott

Ben Okri giving a speech

Jasmine Pelham, Saskia Spender and Richard Hudson

A woman taking a photo of a wall of pictures

Artworks on sale made entirely from captured air pollution

Ben Okri giving a speech

Poet Ben Okri

A man giving a speech in front of a staircase

Ruth Ganesh, Petroc Sesti and Mollie Dent Brocklehurst

Find out more: platformearth.com

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

Reading time: 4 min
A corridor with blue walls and arched doors and lights hanging from the ceiling
A lounge with wooden floors and cream chairs and sofas

The OWO Whitehall, Residents’ Lounge. Image courtesy of Grain London

London’s hottest luxury residential area? Westminster, next to the Houses of Parliament and Downing Street. So what took it so long, asks Samantha Welsh

Big Ben, Downing Street, Whitehall, Parliament Square, Trafalgar Square: all names intimately associated with London, and now the administrative and touristic heart of the world’s high net worth capital. The area, broadly known as Westminster, is (pandemic excepted) the epicentre of tourism in Britain.

A bedroom with a green headboard, red cushions and throw on the bed

The OWO Whitehall, principal bedroom. Image courtesy of Grain London

And now you can live in high style down the road from the Prime Minister and the royals, with the creation of one of the most opulent residential developments in the world, inside the heart of the area’s grand buildings.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

The Old War Office (OWO), in Whitehall – opposite Horse Guards Parade and almost directly opposite Downing Street, and so near to the Prime Minister’s residence that you could shout from rooftop to rooftop to see if you could borrow some milk (or champagne for a lockdown party) – has been transformed into 85 apartments.

red velvet chairs on a landing with a curved brown staircase

The OWO residence turret. Image courtesy of Grain London

They are serviced by Raffles, the appropriately peripatetic luxury hotel brand now owned by the French Accor group. A new Raffles hotel, London’s first, is opening next-door and residents will have a full suite of luxury services. The building’s redevelopment has been done with thought: the best of British material and design, along with other high-end touches, like bespoke appliances by the German manufacturer Gaggenau.

Read more: Maryam Eisler On Tim Yip’s ‘Love Infinity’

Residents will have priority access to 11 restaurants and 3,000sqm of leisure facilities, gardens and terraces. The building’s heritage has been conserved in partnership with Historic England, with design overseen by Thierry Despont. As an OWO resident your local chiming clock is Big Ben.

A corridor with blue walls and arched doors and lights hanging from the ceiling

The OWO residence entrance hall. Image courtesy of Grain London

This is the building from which Winston Churchill directed efforts in the Second World War of what was then the British Empire. The apartments now are suitably imperial, but have a contemporary smoothness. On your Sunday morning strolls in St James’ Park (assuming you haven’t decamped to your weekend home in the Cotswolds or Ramatuelle) you will bump into the Prime Minister, and numerous spies – the important ones are there on Sundays. Arguably the best school in the world, Westminster, is along the road. And if you need to lobby the government, you can just lean out of the window, while puffing on your Romeo y Julieta and sipping a glass of Pol Roger, Winston Churchill-style.

Find out more: theowo.london

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

Reading time: 2 min
three bottles of whisky with glasses filled with whiskey
three bottles of whisky with glasses filled with whiskey

Aberlour, Deanston and Bruichladdich whiskey

Launching his new column for LUX, whiskey collector, Utsava Kasera advises on the perfect whiskies to suit your Father’s Day plans

It is the best of time and it is the worst of time for whisky. What was considered as a drink for older generation is now being revered by the world savvy dandies as their drink of choice. While the whisky boom in the last decade has made the consumers spoilt for choice of their dram, it has also created cult figures like Macallan and Yamazaki. Sometimes even having deep pockets is not enough to get hold of some of the finest collectibles, which either go under the hammer or just reach the drawing rooms of the select few.

A man in a tartan jacket drinking whiskey next to a cask in a whiskey shop

Utsava Kasera

With fathers’ day approaching, I’ll share some suggestions for a tipple with the old man to go along with some stories. Whether you decide to go on a hiking trip with him, play a round of golf or just sit in the garden on a glorious summer afternoon, one of these whiskies will be a pleasant companion for those engaging conversations or silences between them.

Aberlour 16-Reserve Collection

A bottle of Aberlour whiskey with a glass of whiskey on the table

Aberlour 16-Reserve collection

Aberlour produces some fine whiskies but what stands out is their reserve collection.
If sherry is your thing, this is an absolute gem. The nose reminds me of walking in a room full of sweet spices while the palate is a dark chocolate cake with sour cherry, cinnamon and liquorice. At 55 percent ABV, it does set some fireworks at the first sip but grows on you while you continue the evening.
Offered with optional engraving to write that special message.

Find out more: www.aberlour.com/distillery-reserve-collection

Deanston Port Cask 2002

Deanston whiskey bottle with a glass of whiskey

Deanston Port Cask 2002

A rising star in the whisky world, Deanston is getting rave reviews for their whiskies. Under the master distiller Brendan McCarron, they do some interesting experimentations creating delicious spirits with distinct waxy characteristics. Deanston Port Cask is a distinct one as the waxy style is enhanced by flavours of toffee, juicy pear and pineapple. At ABV 51.1, this is a surprisingly easy whisky to drink. Hard to find, but if you’ll go an extra mile, it’ll be a very special gift.

Find out more: deanstonmalt.com

Bruichladdich Black Art 9.1

Black whiskey bottle with a star on it and a glass of whiskey on a table

Bruichladdich Black Art 9.1

Nestled in the beautiful west coast of Scotland, Bruichladdich distillery on Isle of Islay is one of my favourites. Isle of Islay is known for producing peated whiskies but Bruichladdich offers some incredible unpeated choices too. Black Art 9.1 is one of their masterpieces for its sheer complex flavours. This whisky is a honeyed Christmas cake layered with tropical fruits and a hint of sweet vanilla. Savour it to start the evening, finish the evening or just save it for a special occasion, this dram will not disappoint.

Find out more: www.bruichladdich.com/-black-art-1992-edition-09-1/

Reading time: 2 min
A group of people wearing dress up clothes
A group of people wearing dress up clothes

A new film – part fiction, part documentary – explores London’s wildly creative and multifaceted East End with a colourful cast of characters. Directed by Oscar-winner Tim Yip, Love Infinity stars the renowned artistic duo Gilbert and George and ‘living sculpture’ Daniel Lismore, among many flamboyant others. Here, Maryam Eisler talks us through some riotous and poignant highlights

Worlds Collide
I love seeing Tim Yip (above, front row, right, sitting on the floor) and my fellow Love Infinity creative producer Mei-Hui Liu (far left, with the white collar) surrounded by such wonderful diversity of expression. Different worlds connected in the warmth of the moment, created by the film.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

A woman in black standing in front of a postered wall

It’s Utopian, Darling
While demonstrating the breathtaking creativity of the featured artists such as Chrissy Darling (left), this image speaks also to Tim’s sensibilities as a director. Love Infinity is not a narrative film. It’s an aesthetic voyage through London by an outsider, attuned to the communicative potential of costume, with the sculpture Lili (centre) as a probe. Lili becomes Tim’s alter ego in this Utopian world of endless possibilities.

A man in a hat and jacket saying hello to a plastic blonde woman in a pink dress

Welcome to Lobster Land
This is what Love Infinity is all about. Direct, unencumbered contact between the artist-film- maker Tim Yip (left), and the artists Pandemonia (centre) and Philip Colbert (right). We were in Philip’s Shoreditch studio, here. It was a sticky June morning in 2019, a year into what would become a two-year shoot and a four-year journey – and counting! Pandemonia (centre) must have been terribly hot in all that latex. In this scene, Philip is welcoming Pandemonia to Lobster Land, a digital town he created for his lobster alter ego.

A man wearing a beaded head scarf and armour

Living Art
Daniel Lismore and Lili (a mannequin) are the stars of Love Infinity. Christened ‘living art’ by the artists Gilbert & George, Daniel is a culture unto himself. While not exactly ‘living’, Lili is certainly art. Since their first appearance at an exhibition of Tim Yip’s work in Beijing in 2009, the ever-present Lilis have become the artist’s signature.

Read more: Six NFTs To Watch

Vivienne Westwood in a grey blazer standing in a shop speaking to a man

On-Screen Poetry
After telling Tim her strategy for saving the world from global warming, Vivienne Westwood (above, centre) shared her love of ancient China. In the film, she quotes Confucius, and tells Tim she writes poetry in the Taoist tradition, which she recites to Lili in one of the film’s most memorable scenes. Such a beautiful meeting of worlds and minds.

people sitting around a table with a prototype on it

East Enders
Gilbert & George (far left, alongside other cast members Stella, Lili and Tim) are perhaps the most famous living artist duo, quintessentially British, and fêted at museums round the world. Yet when they were young artists in the 1960s, they were total outsiders. In this film they embody a certain East End quality, in that this part of London tends to produce and attract writers, thinkers, and particularly artists who, from the fringes of culture, come to define the centre.

Maryam Eisler is the film’s co- creative producer, alongside Mei-Hui Liu; and Benjamin Teare, who is the creative editor and first assistant director. ‘Love Infinity’ is available to view on Mubi

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

Reading time: 6 min
green pixels and logos

A painting of a woman in a pink dress holding a green javelin

The world of NFTs combines immense allure and justified apprehension. Still in infancy, it has grown beyond its niche status as the metaverse moves into the mainstream. Fara Bashorun makes his selections for this season, for those wanting to dip their toes into non-fungible waters

Erick aka SnowfroArt Blocks Curated
• Art Blocks was founded by Erick, aka Snowfro, creator of the hugely successful Squiggles NFT collection, which was the first on the Platform.
• Art Blocks spotlights upcoming artists within the space by giving their work the notoriety it deserves, releasing via their OpenSea page.
• Individual artists or collaborations pitch to the curation board before they are selected to go live.
• Floor Price 0.15Ξ

Blair Breitenstein‘1989 Sisters’
• Blair Breitenstein is a New York-based digital artist and fashion illustrator whose aesthetic draws inspiration from the 1960s and 1970s.
• Her work depicts female muses with exaggerated facial features, using strokes that resemble traditional pastel sketches.
• Floor price 1.6Ξ

The Sandbox‘The Sandbox LAND’
• The Sandbox is widely regarded as the leading virtual world.
• They are currently updating software by migrating to a new smart contract, thus making it a great time to enter by acquiring their virtual plots of land or digital assets therein.
• Floor price 2.749Ξ

Vogue Singapore x Vogue UkraineFashion for Peace (image at top of page)
• Two Vogue imprints from opposite sides of the globe have collaborated in solidarity to support the people of Ukraine during their ghastly conflict with Russia.
• The ‘Fashion for Peace’ collection implored six Ukrainian fashion designers to produce contributed artworks that reflect and celebrate their cultural identity as Ukrainian nationals.
• 100 per cent of all primary sales proceeds go towards Save The Children to support its humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine.
• Floor Price of 0.5Ξ

Billelis‘You Pushed Me’
• Billelis is an Edinburgh- based digital artist, who takes inspiration from Lego modelling as well as classical Greek and Latin Gothic tropes.
• Floor Price 0.45Ξ

Brett Crawford ‘PR3DICTOR’ for ComplexLand
• Pop culture mainstay Complex has collaborated with a number of artists for digital assets operable within their ComplexLand metaverse since 2020. Their trendy take on the metaverse saw huge praise from Donatella Versace in our interview with her.
• Floor price for ComplexLand starts from 0.08Ξ, but a successful bid on one of Brett’s collection will cost slightly more.

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX 

Reading time: 4 min
A group of people standing together in front of an artwork
A group of people standing together in front of an artwork

Artists from around the world, including Bangladesh, Indonesia and Italy, came together for the Third Majhi International Art Residency in Eindhoven; and their installations on show in the 1918 Steentjeskerk church

Like many organisations, the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation saw its programming curtailed during the pandemic. In the second of this two part feature, Mark C O’Flaherty reports on the Majhi Residency, in which he saw artists from South Asia take over a church in Eindhoven, overcoming travel restrictions and bureaucracy to do so

Sometimes art takes on a significance and poignancy through timing and circumstance, like Andy Warhol’s ‘Sixty Last Suppers’ silkscreens, completed shortly before the artist’s death in 1987, or the ballerinas of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’ performing their pas de chat on a loop on Russian state TV, marking the end of the Soviet Union. The theme of the Third Majhi International Art Residency, held at the historic Steentjeskerk church last October, was ‘Land, Water and Border ‘–inviting a group of artists from a broad range of geographic locations, to explore their individual and collective experiences of the roles played by each of the elements in the title in their lives, along with the politics, culture, heritage, nature and technology associated with them.

three screens in a church

Interactive installation by Yu Zhang, ‘3 Screens [land; water; border]

Its timing, initiated by the Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation, was apposite, marking 50 years of Bangladeshi independence and close relations with the Netherlands, but the title took on extra layers of meaning for all involved during the residency. Each of the 10 artists –some travelling just a few miles to take part, others having made arduous journeys from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Italy–felt it differently, but deeply. In the autumn of 2021, crossing borders involved obstacles.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

“The response to Covid showed just how easily the Western world can open and close borders on a whim,” says Durjoy Rahman, the initiator and founder of the residency. “We faced a travel ban for certain Asian countries, and Bangladesh was among them. I had to solve the logistics of numerous travel permissions before concentrating on the content. We were proud to be able to create the only art event of its kind in the Netherlands during the period.”

A screen with a picture on it under a stained glass arched window

Audio-Visual Installation by Anon Chaisansook, ‘Lands with no Volcanoes’

Once the artists had managed to cross their various borders, there were other issues. “Many of the artists have vaccination records that the local authorities don’t recognise,” explained the UK-based event organiser Eeshita Azad at the launch event. “They weren’t able to access cafés or restaurants.” At the time, even the McDonald’s in Markt, the centre of town, was off limits to anyone without an EU-accredited pass, excluding Azad as well as the artists from the Indian subcontinent. Periodically, Durjoy hosted private dinners of hot meals and wine. There is a symbolism inherent in breaking bread together around a table that a snack from a street vendor simply doesn’t have.

A man playing a sitar in a white outfit in front of an artwork

Mixed media installation and performance by Joydeb Roaja, ‘Poolang, melody of the flute that brings unity’

The artists in Eindhoven bonded over a shared outsider status, but also the challenge of creating work for an imposing space that they were unfamiliar with. The church, built in 1918, stopped being a place of worship in the 1970s. Its pews are long removed, leaving a grand interior of tiling, marble and pillars. “It was overwhelming when we first arrived,” said Moch Hasrul, the Indonesian artist who created an interactive installation entitled ‘Protypo #2’, chronologising flour production and distribution within the agricultural industry using microcontrollers, sensors and Play-Doh. The work, conceived before coming to Steentjeskerk, was engulfed by the space in which it was exhibited. But, like everything else on show, it was one facet of a greater story.

A screen with a picture on it under a stained glass arched window

Audio-Visual Installation by Anon Chaisansook, ‘Lands with no Volcanoes’

The curator of the most recent residence–the third in an annual series, following Venice in 2019 and Berlin in 2020 – was Kehkasha Sabah, who wanted to explore the idea of “decolonising the Anthropocene”, essentially taking the human race as a geological force, and establishing the idea of many worlds within one.

Read more: Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation: Bridging Global South And North

“We need to listen to the earth and help others to listen to what we hear,” explains Sabah. “We have shared histories of colonialism, dictatorship, crisis, emergencies, and recently, the pandemic. How can we think about the new world order and, as cultural practitioners, contribute to a better world? How can we use technology and at the same time save nature?”

A table with trinkets on it

Interactive installation by Moch Hasrul, ‘Prototypo #2’

Some of the artists used the church as a performance space, complementary to their installations. Giulia Deval created physical theatre with her ‘Phonotransparence’, transmitting sound from her garments as she walked around. Joydeb Roaza played a wind instrument made by members of the indigenous Mro community in Bangladesh as part of his installation ‘Poolang, the Melody of the Flute That Brings Unity’; and Satch Hoyt, who has lived a nomadic life from Jamaica to Berlin, played a composition linked to his topographic-style painting ‘Crossing Paths that lead to Cultural Amalgamations’. Hoyt has spent his career creating maps generated by sonic forces that encompass the African diaspora, with work ranging from installation to traditional vinyl.

An exhibition in a church

Sound Installation Pier Alfeo, ‘The Blind Age’

While the artists found their time in Eindhoven challenging –living on supermarket sandwiches and working in temperatures close to zero –the residency represented a unique opportunity to create work together at a time when international communion

was a difficulty and a privilege. Flicking on a constant loop on the half-domed ceiling above the old altar was a film by Jog Art Space, recording a performance by the Bangladesh-based Yuvraj Zahed A. Chowdhury: a figure moves rhythmically on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, representing the great priest Khoaib Khazi, overseeing the purification of all who gather at the bay. As Chowdhury said of the work: “Humans are fragile. Everyone seeks refuge through sharing pain, and sometimes that sharing makes us happy.” Land, water and borders have become a shared experience in ways that we may never have imagined. And the fragility of our place within them has never been of greater concern

Find out more: durjoybangladesh.org

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

Reading time: 5 min
colours bursting out from a white city from a birds eye view
colours bursting out from a white city from a birds eye view

Still for VR work Sleepwalking in the Forbidden City, Cai Guo-Qiang, courtesy, Cai Studio, Vive Arts

Celina Yeh is the Executive Director of Vive Arts, a platform trying democratise the art world through digital innovation. Here, Yeh speaks to Samantha Welsh about the endless opportunities that technology is bringing to the art world as well as extended creativity for the artists themselves.

LUX: Is your background in tech or art?
Celina Yeh: Before I became the Executive Director of Vive Arts, I was the Head of Global Partnerships, working directly with artists and museums on projects across the digital spectrum. My background has always been in art and design. I previously worked in cultural organisations and design consultancies in London, New York and Taipei. In these roles, I often worked on experience and exhibition design, which gave me substantial production experience and a strong understanding of the creative process and how things are made.

One of the strengths of the Vive Arts team is the diversity and depth of our experience. Our willingness and interest in engaging with collaborators from all disciplines allows us to innovate and develop new possibilities for artists and creators.

LUX: Why did the Vive Arts partnership programme and art market platform spin-out from tech giant HTC?
CY: Vive Arts was established in 2017 as HTC’s art and technology programme, aiming to harness the latest technologies to transform how art and culture can be experienced.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

We started by working with museums in a range of different ways, from developing content that told the stories of their collections and exhibitions, to supporting with hardware or the physical installation for digital works. In 2018 we started collaborating with a group of contemporary artists and really exploring the possibilities of VR as a medium for art.

Over the past five years, we have now partnered with over fifty international institutions, including the Louvre in Paris, the Museum of Natural History in New York and the Tate Modern and V&A in London and worked with visionary artists – such as Marina Abramović, Anish Kapoor, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Cai Guo-Qiang on their first VR works.

A blue painting of a woman holding her child on the ground

Slav Epic VR

At the end of last year, Vive Arts launched a new chapter, with a new brand identity, website and our art marketplace platform, reflecting our own evolution and the rapidly changing digital art space. As digital technologies have become an increasingly integral part of the art world and daily life, we wanted to continue to innovate new frameworks for artistic expression.

HTC actually developed the first blockchain smartphone in 2018 and had been exploring this field for some time. So when NFTs exploded, it seemed very natural for us to expand our remit, so that we could offer new services spanning VR, XR and metaverse technologies to the creative community.

LUX: Can you tell us about how digital mediums such as AR, VR, XR offer different experiences of immersive art and open up access to the metaverse?
CY: VR, XR and AR offer new ways to create and experience art – fundamentally they enable experiences that would not otherwise be possible.

To discuss the differences – In VR – instead of standing in front of an artwork, you are immersed inside it, in a 360-degree virtual environment. This offers a powerful first-person experience, as you look around and explore, interacting with others and the space itself. AR in contrast, brings the virtual into the physical world, showcasing artworks only visible through your phone or another device. This opens up opportunities to host interventions in public spaces, expand an exhibition with a digital layer or present pieces that could not be produced in any other form.

These digital tools and mediums are the building blocks for the metaverse, a 3-dimensional, spatial iteration of the internet and will become increasingly important as the boundaries between online and offline become increasingly blurred and these technologies become more seamless. At HTC, we are constantly improving our sensors, eye-tracking and face-tracking, so that if you want to have a realistic avatar in the metaverse you can show facial expressions and when you speak your lips will follow. These technologies will determine how we access and interact in the metaverse, allowing users to experience an artwork or attend a live event or exhibition, from anywhere in the world.

A woman with a VR headset on looking at the Mona Lisa

Still from Mona Lisa Beyond the Glass, Courtesy Emissive and HTC Vive Arts

LUX: We are familiar with digital forms of art experimentation, so what kind of institutions, artists and creatives are asking you to partner with them?
CY: We work with a range of artists, institutions, and creators and have had a particularly busy programme this year. We partnered with Serpentine on their major solo exhibition by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and worked with Dominique for the second time, producing Alienarium, a new VR art experience for the show. We supported critically acclaimed artist and filmmaker Wu Tsang on her mesmerising film and sound installation Of Whales for the Venice Biennale, which she has iterated into her first ever VR work for Art Basel.

We are also currently working with the Triennale di Milano and are preparing to launch a special new VR experience for the 23rd International Exhibition. This piece is quite different as it celebrates the Fondazione itself, shining a light on its most important exhibitions from 1933 to present day and its impact on the world of art and design.

Additionally, we are also developing several exciting NFT collaborations, that will launch on our marketplace, spanning sound art, astrology, photography and more.

We get a lot of exciting proposals, including those from the education sector and from independent artists and creators. We are therefore thinking about doing an open call in the near future.

A screen on the river underneath arches and the reflection in the water of a galaxy

Wu Tsang Of Whales. Photo by Matteo De Fina, supported by Vive Arts

LUX: To what extent would you say you are cultural custodians?
CY: An important part of our mission is to preserve art and culture and to make it accessible to wider audiences. In our partnerships with museums, we explore creative ways to add a new dimension to their collections and programming, extending their reach beyond their physical walls. For example, in our ongoing partnership with the Mucha Foundation in Prague, we collaborated with them on Slav Epic VR, a VR experience dedicated to Alphonse Mucha’s iconic series of paintings. While it is difficult for the monumental 20-canvas series to travel, this experience can be hosted in exhibitions around the world, offering audiences an opportunity to engage with the artist and his legacy.

LUX: What kind of creative freedom does immersive experimentation potentially offer an artist?
CY: As these technologies are constantly evolving, I believe we have only begun to scratch the surface of what can be achieved creatively in these new mediums, especially with the radical innovation and experimentation of artists.

Immersive mediums enable artists to bring their vision to life, unconstrained by what is possible in the physical world, and they offer their own powerful forms of storytelling. VR invites viewers inside an artist’s world, for a deeply personal experience, where you can embody new forms and perspectives and have visceral sensations, such as gravity or movement.

For example, Wu Tsang often explores different visual languages and narrative techniques in her practice. She was interested in experimenting with the world building potential of VR and game engine technologies and has used them to create different encounters throughout her series of Moby Dick adaptations. This ranged from building virtual environments, that were incorporated into her live-action silent film to creating a poetic rendering of the ocean, through the eyes of the whale for Of Whales. A mighty mass emerges, again offers a completely different artistic experience, as viewed through the VR headset, audiences are immersed under the surface of the ocean, as the whale completes its deep dive cycle.

fish making a whirlpool in the sea

VR still, A mighty mass emerges, Wu Tsang, 2022, courtesy of artist and Vive Arts copy

LUX: Does the use of digital technologies irrevocably change what art is about and the creative process?
CY: I think that the use of digital technologies doesn’t so much change what art is about but opens up new areas of engagement and enquiry. The creativity of artists often inspires us, as in our experience each artist approaches digital mediums in their own distinctive way, their existing practice, putting their own imprint on the discourse.

For example, the two VR artworks we are premiering at Art Basel, by Albert Oehlen and Wu Tsang were created using Unreal Engine and Unity, which are both game engine technologies, but the creative process and pieces are entirely different. While Wu has used the technology to enable viewers to imagine and inhabit a non-human perspective, Albert has created an amazing, hyperrealistic avatar of himself, using photogrammetric scanning, a motion capture suit and other techniques found more in films and video games.

Albert has been exploring the aesthetics of technology since the 1990s, using inkjet printers and computer aided drawing programmes in his paintings. In Basement Drawing you can get up close to him as an avatar and watch him create an ink drawing in real time. He plays with reality and fiction in this virtual scene, adding his own glitch, flashing green and red lights, pounding electronic music and a surreal arm, sticking out of a self-portrait in the room.

Another unique approach was when we worked with renowned Chinese contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang on his inaugural VR piece Sleepwalking in the Forbidden City. He wanted to ensure the ‘hand of artist’ could be seen, producing the key elements in the physical world, including producing a real, large-scale day-time fireworks display and a handcrafted alabaster model of Beijing’s Forbidden City.

A cartoon of a rabbit in a pink room with a blind fold and a hand coming out of the wall pointing at it

Still from Curious Alice, a VR experience created by the V&A and HTC Vive Arts. Featuring original artwork by Kristjana S Williams, 2020

LUX: From this, what will be the take aways from Vive Arts’ partnership with Art Basel this year?
CY: We are thrilled to be partnering with Art Basel in Basel for the first time this year, following our previous presentations at Art Basel in Hong Kong. We are looking forward to welcoming visitors to our lounge and showcasing Wu Tsang and Albert Oehlen’s first VR works. We feel that these two new VR works really speak to our mission of transforming how art can be experienced and demonstrate the technological progress, innovation and creativity taking place in the digital art world. We hope that visitors will enjoy being transported into Albert’s studio or Wu’s ocean world and have a new and distinct experience of art at the fair.

LUX: Tell us more about transacting in Vive Arts marketplace?
CY: There can be a lot of ‘hype’ in the NFT space and when we were developing the Vive Arts marketplace we really wanted to keep the focus on quality and content of the artwork itself, as did the artists we work with. We have a holistic approach and as with our other digital art projects, we work with artists and institutions from the very beginning to think about the concept for their NFT series and what they would like to create. We see the platform as a virtual gallery space and metaverse solution for the creative community and due to HTC’s expertise and experience, it has a technologically robust infrastructure that can host all forms of digital art, including complex immersive pieces.

Read more: Alissa Everett: Covering Beauty

Our aim is for the platform to democratise the digital art market, offering access to creators and collectors, whether they are well versed in NFTs or exploring them for the first time. It is designed as a curated, easy-to-use, intuitive smart marketplace, which accepts both crypto and fiat currencies and we have in-house artist liaison, art advisory and technical teams that can offer support through the whole process.

The marketplace is part of HTC’s metaverse platform Viverse, so that users can seamlessly explore, experience and purchase the digital art works.

LUX: So, in the Viverse, buyers are effectively avatars in a transactional alternative universe?
CY: Viverse is a virtual universe that people can inhabit to learn, explore, create, shop and socialise together but it can be experienced in a number of ways. HTC has designed the platform to be accessible, so it can be entered through a phone or laptop as well as VR headset. Some experiences may be first person, while for others you might create an avatar as a way to socialise or explore the virtual space.

A screen on the river underneath arches and the reflection in the water of jellyfish

Wu Tsang Of Whales. Photo by Matteo De Fina, supported by Vive Arts

LUX: What energy-conscious, sustainable alternatives are there to blockchain provenance and what are you doing better than competitors?
CY: We are aware that NFTs have been criticised for their impact on the environment and on our platform, in addition to Ethereum, we provide a more energy-conscious alternative Proof of Stake (PoS) and Proof of Stake Authority (PoSA) Blockchains. We are constantly looking for ways to be more energy conscious and to offset our carbon footprint and are exploring and supporting technological advancements that will create a sustainable future for digital art. We have joined the Crypto Climate Accord (CCA), an initiative inspired by the Paris Climate Agreement, committed to decarbonising the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, though accelerating the development of digital #ProofOfGreen solutions and establishing new industry practices.

LUX: What are the first steps for anyone wanting to engage with Vive Arts?
CY: We would love for visitors to Art Basel in Basel to come and experience our latest art commissions and collaborations at the Vive Arts Lounge or to visit our other projects that are currently on show, at the Serpentine in London and at the Venice Biennale.

We would also like to invite audiences from around the world to explore our projects, through the Vive Arts website and marketplace and through Viveport and other VR platforms, where you can experience several of our past projects such as Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass, which was developed in collaboration with the Louvre for their blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition in 2019 or Curious Alice, which we developed for the V&A’s Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser last year.

Find out more: www.vivearts.com

Reading time: 12 min
Two women sewing clothes with a tent behind them
A blonde woman in a beige top standing in front of a wall of photographs with her arms crossed

Alissa Everett

California born, Nairobi based artist, Alissa Everett has visited over 130 countries and since 2003 has been covering and photographing conflict and ethnic issues that still remain today in places such as Iraq, Darfur, Afghanistan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Most recently Alissa travelled to the Ukrainian border with The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to document the humanitarian response efforts. Here Everett tells Candice Tucker about her work and her latest solo exhibition, Covering Beauty
Two women sewing clothes with a tent behind them

We Carried Our Work, Kigeme, Rwanda, 2012

Open to view at the Venice Biennale until 27 November 2022 is Everett’s solo exhibition Covering Beauty, part of the sixth edition of Personal Structures at the European Cultural Centre (“ECC”) for the 59th Venice Biennale. The aim of the exhibition is for people to see the beauty within these places of conflict that Everett has visited, which are normally only associated with destruction and sadness.

people on a bus which has been painted on

Heading Home, Pakistan, 2008

“I would describe myself as a documentary photographer rather than conflict photographer. What speaks to me the most are moments of unexpected beauty that happen in our daily lives, in both conflict and non-conflict zones. The depiction of areas which are labelled by conflict are often skewed by the negative, and people rarely get the chance to see the moments of beauty which exist.

A woman holding her child on a bus

Transit camp for Ukrainian refugees in Huși, Romania.

The images in Covering Beauty on until November span my entire career, from the war in Iraq and up to the latest conflict area I’ve been working in – Ukraine – with the International Organisation for Migration. I felt it was important to include these in order to demonstrate to audiences that circumstances like these can happen world over.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

They happen in continents that are labelled as conflict areas like Africa, the Middle East and Latin America but they also happen in those not labelled – in Europe. These areas are not ‘other’. We too easily forget that we all have a common history, conflict can arise anywhere in the world.

A bride and her husband in Kayna

Kayna, Democratic Republic of Congo

The purpose of Exposing Hope is to raise funds and direct them to very specific projects that directly assist people I have been working for, rather than operating as a large-scale NGO. We collaborate with grassroots organisations who we find on the ground whilst working, those who rarely have international named support, fundraising arms, or much visibility.

Read more: The Futures: A Token Of Goodwill

We’re about to open a library in the Kakuma refugee camp in Northern Kenya and are currently looking for an organisation to assist in Ukraine.”

A blonde boy and a boy with brown hair wearing khaki shirts

Bamiyan Province, Afghanistan

On 21st June Alissa Everett will be speaking at the Frontline Club in London about ‘Covering Beauty’. To book tickets follow the link here: frontlineclub.com/covering-beauty-with-alissa-everett

Reading time: 2 min
seaweed in the water and a building on the shore
seaweed in the water and a building on the shore

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, whose global seafood programme, Seafood Watch, advises the fishing industry and governments on how to operate sustainably

Julie Packard, scion of the US tech family, has changed the way we eat with her Seafood Watch initiative. She says collaboration between philanthropists, governments and corporates is the only way forward

LUX: What happens in the deep sea has a direct effect on our lives and the health of the planet. How do these links work and what has been discovered in recent years?
Julie Packard: We call our planet Earth, but 71 per cent of the surface and 99 per cent of the living space is ocean. The aquarium tells the story of ‘the other 99 per cent’. The ocean enables life to exist on this planet. Its microscopic plant life absorbs carbon and produces oxygen. Its vast waters have absorbed 90 per cent of the heat caused by rising greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. Deep-sea currents are part of a vast unseen global conveyor belt that cycles nutrients, oxygen and heat through the ocean, supporting an abundance of marine life, which travels up and down the water column, storing carbon in deep waters, where it’s locked away.

A woman with grey hair speaking into a microphone with a purple backdrop

Julie Packard

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: You are a proponent of nature-based solutions as an economically and environmentally sustainable way forward for the planet. What does that mean in reality for oceans and coastlines?
JP: Earth is an interconnected living system whose services make our lives possible. It’s time to reinvest in nature, instead of treating it as a bottomless bank account. That means restoring wetlands and other coastal ecosystems, which are nurseries for fisheries and buffer us against sea-level rise, as well as protecting us from escalating storms. Restoring healthy seagrass meadows is one example. We’re finding that our decades of work to recover California sea otters is helping to restore healthy wetland seagrass beds. These otters are more than a cute face. We call them ‘furry climate warriors’.

A starfish with sprouts coming out of it

A close up of a Basket star in the Into the Deep: Exploring Our Undiscovered Ocean exhibit

LUX: Are you in despair about what has happened to our oceans, or optimistic about the scientific advances pointing to solutions – and if the latter, which ones?
JP: Without question, we face daunting challenges. If we fail to act, the world will be a grim place for our children and grandchildren. I’m confident that solutions are within our grasp. Renewable energy development is moving faster than ever, and the cost of these technologies is falling. We can put people to work rebuilding healthy ecosystems so nature can do what it does best. We know what we need to do. What we need is the will to take action.

Blue jellyfish all entangled in eachother

A close up of a moon jelly (Aurelia labiata) in the Open Sea exhibit

LUX: You have focused on sustainable seafood: do you feel there is genuine progress being made here, not just in wealthy nations, but in countries where hundreds of millions fish for subsistence?
JP: Unsustainable fishing is a problem we know how to solve, and we’re seeing huge progress. The market-based approach, taken by the aquarium’s global seafood programme, Seafood Watch, with its sustainability rating system, is succeeding, because our goal is a future where both fisheries and the people who depend on them thrive. It creates incentives for producing nations to put their fisheries and aquaculture operations on a sustainable footing, enabling them to gain access to the global market. The key is genuine engagement with small-scale producers – we’re collaborating with operations in India, Indonesia, and Vietnam – to solve their real-world problems and deliver benefits that make a difference in their lives.

An orange and pink luminous jellyfish

A close up of a Bloody-belly comb jelly in the Into the Deep: Exploring Our Undiscovered Ocean exhibit

LUX: Who is making the biggest difference – philanthropists, corporations or governments?
JP: Everyone has a role to play. Philanthropy jump-started the global sustainable seafood movement. Today, its investments support early stage development of technologies to reduce greenhouse gasses in the shipping and energy industries, and in community-led work to strengthen the resilience of ocean ecosystems.

Read more: The Futures: A Token Of Goodwill

Corporations know their success depends on embracing an approach that values people, planet and profit. Governments set the ‘rules of the game’ that create incentives to protect the living ocean and make it expensive to damage ecosystems on which our survival depends.

a shark swimming through a forest of kelp

A leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata) swimming in the Kelp Forest exhibit

LUX: Is there more of a connection to be made between art and science, concerning ocean conservation?
JP: Having observed people in the aquarium, we’ve seen that building an emotional connection to ocean life is the starting point. When people encounter our living exhibits, they react with awe. Then we can begin to talk about the threats the ocean faces, and how they can make a difference. It’s the power of art – whether an aquarium, a film, or a piece of music – that engages people. And we’ve always found ways to make science accessible. Our new deep-sea exhibition incorporates gorgeous video imagery of deep-sea animals, ground-breaking living exhibits, and stories of the scientists studying the deep ocean. It’s a compelling combination.

Julie Packard is the executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

Reading time: 4 min
A cartoon of a man with one screw eye, wearing a multicoloured jacket, a gold necklace and blonde braids
red and black swirl background with a cartoon of a man with one screw eye, wearing a multicoloured jacket, a gold necklace and blonde braids

Special cover created by LUX for The Futures, Summer 2022.

A new NFT project is promising to help offset the environmental impact caused by these digital assets, by creating a carbon-neutral collection in collaboration with sustainability charities. The artist behind The Futures, Kensho Kenji, talks us through the project. By Chris Stokel-Walker

Despite being one of the most in-vogue investments, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are being lambasted for their carbon footprint. The average NFT has a voracious impact on the environment, which means investing in them can often cause a crisis of conscience, as well as a question of how much you’re willing to risk financially. But it doesn’t need to be that way.

A cartoon head of a man wearing a red hat and a man with a head of a bear leaning on a piano in a room

Kensho Kenji and Moses Open Sea

A new NFT collection promises to be carbon neutral, while helping educate people about our planet, making difficult decisions that help ensure a sustainable and transparent future.

The Futures is the brainchild of a contemporary artist who goes by the pseudonym Kensho Kenji. He has operated in the NFT space since 2020, and worked with some of the world’s biggest artistic institutions over the past 15 years. “I always had the thought of creating a new hybrid brand that operates in the real world and in the metaverse, which can further the understanding of the real potential behind an NFT project,” he says.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

The Futures began about six months ago when Kenji took a notepad and jotted down three words: earth, education and community. These three pillars are the building blocks of The Futures project, which has now ballooned to a staff of 12. It provides profile pictures (PFPs) – a core part of the NFT landscape – to users, but couples it with a crash course on how the NFT space operates, and what it means for our world.

A cartoon of a man with one screw eye, wearing a multicoloured jacket, a gold necklace and blonde braids

The first real life Futures event will be taking place in September 2022 in Monaco

“The idea was to really focus on the planet,” Kenji explains. “The most important thing for me was how to link the digital and physical worlds together.” The Futures is using its digital arm to help the physical world, by starting with a collection of 5,000, one-of-a-kind 2D avatars. The art is disruptive and each Futures avatar has a unique sense of style and set of traits: characters who represent a new generation of our physical-digital (or ‘phygital’) culture. They also double as a membership card to this members-only world. The co-founder, known as Moses OpenSea, comments: “We will be the first iconic phygital brand seamlessly merging our physical and digital lives.”

Each NFT that’s created – or ‘minted’ – will be offset environmentally by the planting of two real trees. The project, meanwhile, has a three-year goal of spending cash on reforestation with the charity Tree-Nation, alongside boosting marine life sustainably via planned donations to the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco.

Blue and black swirl background with a cartoon of a man in a brown jacket and wearing an earing

Special cover created by LUX for The Futures, Summer 2022.

Those who own an NFT from The Futures will receive ownership of an FTRS capsule, accessed from the FTRS Tower, a metaverse-based experience designed by a renowned architect who uses the pseudonym Vasco Pomerol, that will also act as a digital meeting space. The tower includes a meditation garden, an amphitheatre, and a retail environment. But it’s not just in the digital space that members will interact: real-world meet-ups will begin this year. “We’ve expanded this whole concept into building a brand that is active in both the digital and real world,” says Kenji. “We want to have a strong identity in the real world; and a strong identity in the metaverse.”

Read more: Marina Abramović: The Artist As Survivalist

It’s all focused on making sure that, in the pursuit of NFTs as the next big thing, we don’t lose track of the big picture. “A project of this nature focuses on bringing a positive effect to our planet,” says Kenji. “At the end of the day, if our planet is messed up, what’s the point of doing these NFT projects to begin with?

Find out more: ftrs.io

This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

Reading time: 3 min
A painting of scribbles in blue black white and red on a brown and beige background
A woman in a black dress standing by a glass table with two Andy Warhol's above it.

Shanyan Koder is the founder of HUA gallery and Shanyan Koder Fine Art

From a very young age, art has been a fundamental part of Shanyan Koder’s life. Here, the founder of Shanyan Koder Fine Art and Hua gallery speaks to LUX Contributing Editor, Samantha Welsh, about how technology has changed the art world and her charitable efforts beyond art.

LUX: How did your upbringing give you an insight into art and collecting?
Shanyan Koder: My family instilled my passion in fine art. I grew up attending auctions with my parents at Sotheby’s and Christie’s and bid on works from the Impressionist and Modern art sales.  It was very organic and natural.

LUX: What brought about the change of career plan?
SK: I graduated with a law degree from Cambridge, worked at Goldman Sachs, then moved to Sotheby’s in New York, London and Hong Kong. After several years, as I took a more prominent role in representing my family’s art collection, I decided to pursue my passion in fine art. After my time at Sotheby’s London, I left to set up my own private art advisory business, Shanyan Koder Fine Art and my Chinese contemporary art business HUA, a platform celebrating a combination of my Chinese heritage and my passion for contemporary art.

A painting of scribbles in blue black white and red on a brown and beige background

In collaboration with various artists, Mango is creating five digital artworks in NFT format based on five works including those of Miró

LUX: What helped you stand out as an authoritative collector and dealer in the crowded impressionist to contemporary space?
SK: I was fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time. Apart from my boss, Patti Wong, the Chairwoman of Sotheby’s Asia, I was the only other Chinese speaking employee in Sotheby’s on New Bond Street.  I bid for telephone bidders from Asia who required translation, be it for a Mouton Rothschild wine collection, a Ron Arad design table, paintings by Monet, Miró, Picasso, Warhol or Lichtenstein.  That was how I met Asian collectors who wanted to buy Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art overseas.

LUX: What compelled you to seek advisory roles at Unit London and Eye of the Collector?
SK: I became a Board Member for Unit London becasue I found their business model ground-breaking in a traditional art world and I wanted to be involved in the journey of one of the art world pioneers of the digital age. Using social media to promote artists was a new concept and aligned with how I liked to work. My role at Eye of the Collector came about as Nazy Vassegh, the founder, is a long-time friend whom I knew from Sotheby’s and she invited me to join her Advisory Council.  Their second edition launched in May 2022.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

LUX: You were an early adopter of tech to facilitate China/Europe crossover collecting. How did you do this?
SK: In the 2000s, collectors shifted away from needing the see the original artwork before buying. That was the real break for me in the ability to adopt tech to facilitate China/Europe crossover collecting.  My first sale completed on email was a Warhol.  As social media began to take-off, I sold via platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Instagram, and so on.

green and pink waterlilies and a bridge in a painting by Monet

The most recent sale of a waterlilies artwork by Claude Monet was sold at Sotheby’s for $70.4 million in May 2021

LUX: What was behind your co-founding of Global Showcases?
SK: Global Showcases is a ‘by invitation only’ UHNW luxury app-based sales platform. My co-founders and I decided that there was a gap in the market for buyers and brands in the “beyond luxury” space. These are assets, collectibles and experiences, for instance, art, real estate, yachts and accessories, aircraft, performance cars, high jewellery, limited edition watches. This is going to be an interesting space as the crypto world continues to develop.

LUX: How did Artemis come about and why is this disruptive to the crypto industry from a sustainability perspective?
SK: Artemis Market is the world’s first decentralised NFT mobile social platform. It uses Solana as the crypto currency which is more sustainable from an environmental perspective.  I was invited to be the first Brand Ambassador and was excited to accept. As the world continues to move towards crypto currency trading, NFTs are fast becoming a new asset class for collectors.

A woman in a silver one shoulder dress

Shanyan hosted an art x fashion evening for Borne Charity in collaboration with the Unit London. Image courtesy of Shanyan Koder

LUX: How did entrepreneurship and social connection bring about your work with the NHS?
SK: I suffered the loss of three unborn babies during pregnancy and the grief, the spiritual, physical and mental impact are beyond words. As a result, I have supported Borne, a leading scientific research foundation in the field of preterm labour and premature birth.  Via Borne, I met fellow Borne Ambassador, an ex-SAS military officer, Jason Fox, and his SAS friend Richard Bassett.

Read more: Durjoy Bangladesh Foundation: Bridging Global South And North

We discussed PTSD caused by mental trauma from losing a baby and from experiencing combat. This was the start of our partnership and co-founding Mentor360, your pocket mentor. This App launched on World Mental Health Day on October 2021. It is a safe space to help people focus on mental fitness, holistic wellbeing, mindfulness and performance. The content is produced by leading psychologists, health care professionals and mentors. We partner with the NHS in North and Central London as their recommended mental fitness app for NHS surgical patients on their waiting list. We aim to develop Mentor360 to help teenagers and young adults through the Education space.

LUX: How has your personal journey influenced what you want for the next generation?
SK: I want young people to be healthy, happy, pursuing their passion, growing up as global citizens. The pandemic reminds us of the value of family and the importance of giving children a happy childhood.

Find out more:

Reading time: 5 min
Two deck chairs on a terrace with a view of the Matterhorn in the sun
Two deck chairs on a terrace with a view of the Matterhorn in the sun

The terrace at Cervo Mountain Resort

The arrival

To get to the Cervo, you have first to arrive in Zermatt, an adventure in itself. The train (the resort is only accessible by train) winds through the highest part of a narrow Alpine valley, which opens out into a bowl, lined by steep forested sides, in which Zermatt, one of Switzerland’s most famous mountain villages, spreads itself.

Chalets covered in snow with red flowers

Cervo Mountain Resort during the winter

The Cervo sent an electric cart, of the type that have to be used in Zermatt, to pick us up: we sent our luggage on the cart and decided to walk, to take in the place. As we crossed the blue-green torrent of a river, the Matterhorn, a pyramid of rock and snow, appeared from behind the clouds at the end of the valley to the right.

Follow LUX on Instagram: luxthemagazine

The Cervo is built on the steep mountainside on the east side of the valley, edged by forest. One of the most environmentally-acclaimed hotels in Switzerland, it draws all its interior and exterior furniture and accessorise from recycled or second hand materials. The last few metres were steep, but satisfying (we later learned there is a lift from the valley floor).

A terrace in winter with the sun and flowers and a mountain covered in snow

Madre Nostra restaurant terrace in Winter

Reception is tucked amid a smorgasbord of vintage items (some for sale, most not), reclaimed woods, and decorative features, many of them sourced from markets around the world, suggesting a 60s hippie trail adventure: Morocco, Iran, the Silk Road. It’s Alpine luxury remade for a new generation.

A bath with a view of the Matterhorn outside the window

A bathroom at Cervo Mountain Resort

The in-room experience

The Cervo is an agglomeration of wooden buildings spread along the mountainside. Our bedroom faced the Matterhorn, with Zermatt spread below us; a little terrace and private garden provided excellent sunbathing opportunities, and we could feel and smell the forest all around.

Read more: Switzerland, our top pick for summer

The sustainability ethos was carried through to the rooms: slippers were made of recycled materials, there were no plastic bottles either in the bathrooms or the in-room bar, which, in its aesthetics and choice, could have made a passable destination bar: in a purpose-built cabinet, it featured specialist local spirits and mixers, country-style cups and mugs, and vintage-style glasses.

A bed with a throw and yellow and brown cushions on a white bed

A bedroom at Cervo Mounatin Resort

The out-of-room experience

Comprising a cluster of buildings along the mountainside, the Cervo requires a bit of concentration for navigation. We had a light dinner in Bazaar, the north-African style restaurant by Reception, with its stunning decor made largely of found materials.

lounge chairs and deck chairs in a room with cushions and snow covered mountains outside the big windows

Bazaar Restaurant

Our most memorable meal was at Madre Nostra, an indoor-outdoor restaurant which stretches across the bar terrace, and in summer has a Mykonos-type feel. Cocktails and Italian wines were rushed about the terrace by young, keen, friendly staff (no old-school condescension here) and as for the food: focussed on ingredients within a short radius of the resort (quite a challenge high in the Alps), the home-made pasta and simple grilled chicken and beef with local herbs were such a hit, we cancelled our meal out the next night just to experience it again.

A table set with beige and green walls

Inside Madre Nostra restaurant

Beyond the hotel

The Cervo is literally a stepping off point for Zermatt, the most celebrated summer mountain resort in the Alps. If you’re an expert climber, you can scale the Matterhorn, or Switzerland’s highest mountain Monte Rosa, or its second highest, Dom, all of which tower over various parts of the valley. Or you can take long hikes above and below the tree line and admire the mountains from the terrace of a gastronomic mountain hut. The Cervo also has its own paragliding school, and outdoor activity options are almost infinite.

A hotel made of stone and wood in a forest

Cervo Mountain Resort hotel opens on June 24 for the summer season


It’s a ten minute walk, or five minute electric taxi ride, to the centre of the resort and the busy high street: the price you pay for those views from the valley sides, and we loved the exhilaration of the walk back.

Rates: From £230 average per night (approx. €270/$290)

Book your stay: cervo.swiss/en

Darius Sanai

Reading time: 3 min