FIT’s First Student NFT Contest

Digital replicas of three historic artworks
Lin’s collection replicated an Easter Island statue, a caryatid, and the Rosetta Stone to spotlight the problem of stolen artworks in museums.

Fabriq Labs, a startup that empowers creatives to use Web3 technologies to improve society, sponsored an NFT contest through FIT’s Entrepreneurship Department this spring. Students from all majors were invited to submit digital artworks that could be made into NFTs; on May 5, ten student finalists presented their proposed collections in the Katie Murphy Amphitheatre. Four winners received a total of $5,000 in prizes.

First prize went to Harry Xizhuo Lin, Advertising and Digital Design ’23, for his collection, “Stolen History of Art.” To raise awareness of stolen artworks in museums and the movement to repatriate these pieces, Lin created digital versions of three such artworks housed in the British Museum: Hoa Hakananai’a, an Easter Island statue created by the Rapa Nui people; a Caryatid from the Acropolis; and the Rosetta Stone, discovered in Egypt.

Lin embedded these pixelated artworks into photographs of the places from which the original artworks were stolen, and he plans on exhibiting these in a digital gallery, complete with descriptions of history of each piece. This project was an outgrowth of his senior thesis.

Virtual gallery with a digital sculpture
Lin’s proposed virtual museum would showcase his digital artworks.

Visitors to his virtual museum “can scan the artifacts to keep the authentic history,” Lin says. “The meaning of the artwork changes over time, depending on who’s holding it, who’s taking it from whom, and where it’s been sent. I want Gen Z to learn about this, because more people are forgetting about history.”

Lin plans on using the $2,500 prize to mint the NFTs and build out the digital gallery.

William Reinisch, associate chair of Entrepreneurship, and Renee Leibler, adjunct assistant professor of Entrepreneurship, who teach courses about Web3, organized the contest and advised the students. The judges were Sam Whitaker, CEO of Hold On Development Labs and Fabriq Labs; Nico Fara, founder and leader of the Fashion DAO; Brittany O’Hagan, vice president of partnerships at Dapper Labs and Dapper Sports Studio; and CryptoNovo, an NFT influencer.

Read more about NFTs in the spring 2023 issue of Hue magazine.

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