Simon Denny's NFT Mine Offsets recast each minted NFT as an automated mining unit—a crypto miner—using second-hand Ethereum “mining” computers purchased by the artist from ebay.com (https://www.ebay.de/itm/254899062208), where these machines currently fetch anywhere between $3,000–$20,000. Denny has worked with a gaming illustrator to produce detailed 3D portraits of these miners to create new digital artworks. Following their images’ release as NFTs, Denny will retire the mining computers represented from the Ethereum network altogether. Instead of the hardware using the energy typically required to host the intangible collectibles of the NFT wave, the processing power from these machines’ GPUs (Graphical Processing Units) will be donated to environmental research via climateprediction.net, a not-for-profit climate modeling project overseen by scientists at the University of Oxford, using volunteer computing to study and predict climate change. The artist sees this material and market swap as a kind of offset in the NFT world, mirroring “carbon offsets” that many companies today are leveraging to redress the negative impacts of their business practices. The artwork is a poetic transformation between states—moving energy, matter, likeness, and attention from one network of value to another.
Simon Denny (b. 1982) makes artwork that unpacks the social and political implications of the technology industry and the rise of social media, start-up culture, blockchains, and cryptocurrencies, using a variety of mediums including installation, sculpture, print, and video. In 2016 he cofounded the artist mentoring program BPA// Berlin Program for Artists, and since 2018 he has served as Professor of Time-Based Media at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg (HFBK).
Denny studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, graduating with a BFA in 2005, and at the Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main, completing a Meisterschule in 2009. Recent solo exhibitions have been staged at K21, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2020); the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona), Tasmania (2019); MOCA, Cleveland (2018); OCAT, Shenzhen, and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2017); WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels (2016); the Serpentine Galleries, London, and MoMA PS1, New York (2015); Portikus, Frankfurt (2014); and MUMOK, Vienna (2013). Denny represented New Zealand at the 56th Venice Biennale. His work is held in institutional collections including those of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Kunsthaus Zürich; Sammlung zeitgenössischer Kunst der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Berlin; and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington. Denny lives and works in Berlin.