First virtual exhibition by the State Hermitage museum allows to explore and make sense of the NFT art history, its nature, as well as blockchain technology. Therefore, showing digital art in the digital world, where it was born, without transferring it to physical reality, is one of the main conceptual decisions.
The Ethereal Aether
Both geographically and in terms of meaning, the Hermitage exhibition The Ethereal Aether is closely linked to the Stock Exchange building created by Jean-François Thomas de Thomon, whose “cloud world” is used to exhibit the most modern digital works. Art in the blockchain is directly related to cryptocurrencies and crypto exchanges. Consequently, the virtual space of the historical Exchange is the perfect platform to talk about NFTs and cryptography in a historical-philosophical context. We found the name of the exhibition in the poetry of Fyodor Tyutchev, which makes it possible to toy with the word “aether” in its different senses: the original Greek, traditional, physical, and modern cryptocurrency.