Interview with Andres Felipe Durán: CEO and CoFounder of UxArt

Exclusive interview for NFTexpress with Andrés Felipe Durán, CEO and co-founder of UXart, about Web3, NFT, blockchain and how they come to influence day-to-day life.

Andrés Felipe Durán has given us the opportunity to answer a series of questions that the NFTexpress team wanted to ask him.

1. Andres, what is your position on Web3, NFTs and Blockchain?

“These technologies come to transform the way we relate and conceive ourselves as a society, as they lead us to rethink concepts as important as money. Thanks to NFTs, a new type of commerce arises, which is digital commerce, whereby cryptoassets change the ways in which we transfer value between peers, as they bring new paradigms such as zero marginal cost in the reproduction of the same, simultaneity, transparency, making global transfers without intermediaries and trust in the blockchain with the use of smart contracts.”

2. What projects are you currently working on and what role do you occupy?

“I am the CEO and co-founder of UXART, and the co-creator of El Descanso Island. In both we work on projects that relate plastic arts, technology, decentralized finance and nature. From El Descanso we built a botanical park with physical sculptures in the Delta of Tigre and it was my first approach to conceive immersive spaces focused on the contemplation of the landscape. It was my passion for technology that led me to investigate more about new audiovisual media such as Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality, Holography and Mapping, all formats that are part of the Metaverse.”

UXart is a laboratory that accompanies artists to express themselves in source code and generate new visuals for contemplation, interaction and study. Expressly Andres said: “Our main interest was education, so we started with art teachers about a paradigmatic period for the Argentine history as was the 60’s. Today, thanks to blockchain, all this research and experience takes new meanings and horizons. Today, thanks to the blockchain, all this research and experience takes on new meanings and horizons. We seek to help new artists and masters to begin the digital transformation of their pieces in these formats based on principles of intellectual property and image rights”.

Can you mention how UXART was born and how the team is composed today?

“UXart was born after having accompanied the master Julio Le Parc to perform the intervention of the Obelisk with mapping on the night of November 2, 2019. From there, the core team was gestated by my partners Beto Resano who is the CTO and director of innovation; Gustavo Errico as executive producer; Claudio Stamato, whom I accompany to create El Descanso, who has also been our first angel investor and advisor on art issues; and Alberto Echegaray Guevara who has been our first investor and helped us to incorporate crypto language to all our projects.”

“That mapping was what pushed us to continue on the path of art, and managed to contact curator María José Herrera to be able to reconstruct the Argentine kinetic movement of the 60’s that she had curated in an exhibition held at the National Museum of Fine Arts in 2012. Then that led us to other masters like the iconic Marta Minujin.”

4. What are your experiences after founding UXART?

“UXart arises from the passion for art and beauty, in order to develop new tools to enable access to people. In addition, we have platforms that help us to give visibility to our artists. For example, with the UXart app, we developed an educational project together with the Kósice Foundation, which was selected among the three most important in Latin America. On the other hand, there is the XReal festival in which we link all the metaverse formats, starting with our house museum in Decentraland; the geolocation of works in different neighborhoods in the Pókemo Go style also through the UXart app; and XReal , which are mapping, laser and holography shows that we developed on El Descanso Island in which we intervene the landscape and put physical works in dialogue with virtual ones.”

“Our focus now is to continue accompanying established and emerging artists to express themselves in source code; but with formats that can not be made -copy & paste- as are the JPGs, but in elements that really have a 3D and immersive visual component that makes people can go through them and generate unique and unprecedented interactions in the history of art. All this is what today also led us to have the recognition of being part of the first official crypto-art pavilion at the Venice Biennale, which is the institution from which the great artistic movements have been born since 1895.

5. What does it mean to you that UXART has a partner like IBM?

“For us it was an important support to achieve a cloud architecture that could safeguard this cultural legacy that we have been creating. On the other hand, we have a crypto culture that conforms to IBM’s policies, taking advantage of the fact that they are the only servers that protect users’ data and privacy.”

6. How does the Interactive Cloud on the Map offered by UXART work?

“With Beto Resano we started to devise UXArt app since 2017 in an innovation center where we work together. At that time Pokemon Go was booming and we noticed that it implied renewing the concept of public space. Unlike Pokemon Go, we sought to create a map designed for the passerby and that could offer a virtual layer of information services to the user. This is done through geotags, which are points linked to hyperlinks of geolocated information; but in the case of the interactive cloud we designed, we wanted to go a step further and be able to create a particular service of recommendations that we could make for users who are in the area.”

Andres continues his idea stating that: “In this way, we created an integrated cloud in the form of globes in which each one represents an icon about information that may be relevant, such as restaurants, history of the place, museums and suggestions; in order to use this interactive cloud as a kind of personalized tour guide that can accompany you to discover the area where you are through its recommendations.

What is the UXART Immersive Portal?

“Immersive portals work like the magic closet in the movie Narnia, where in the middle of your living room there is a space they can enter and visit another one in 360°, or see a really immersive work. This allows us to bring people closer to this type of content without the need to use VR glasses, which are more expensive, and enjoy it from their cell phones. It is important that when you download them you see that there is a space where you can walk and enter, since they are created as 3-square-meter rooms to enter and walk around”.

8. Could you tell us what is UXart Lab about?

“UXart Lab is a laboratory that accompanies artists to understand the source code as a new format for art, through which technology is put at the service of art and whose basis is copyright integrated to visual innovation. The lab not only helps artists to express themselves in digital formats, but also looks for the best ways to exhibit them through metaverses such as Decentraland, UXart App and XReal festival in Isla El Descanso”.

9. What do you have to say to people who link NFT only with Digital Art?

“NFTs are a new technology that enables the creation of unique digital assets. Crypto-art is just the spearhead, but there are also real estate assets, digital sovereignty, university degrees, among so many others.”

10. Do you think that the adoption of NFT and web3 will continue the upward trend?

“We are at the beginning of this new social and digital revolution. The web3 has shown that it has an exponential adoption; whose interest is growing and goes beyond how the market is managed. Undoubtedly, the biggest change will come when mixed reality glasses start to become massive and replace cell phones. At that time, the singularity effect that the metaverse will achieve by uniting the real and the digital will show that digital goods will be essential in the way we are going to communicate, trade and navigate the Internet”.

Written by Luciano Garriga (TW:@luchogarriga) for NFT Express