The first Internet meme of the 90s becomes NFT

© © 1996 Autodesk, Inc. // Chris Torres

It is among the first internet memesreleased in the late 1990s: dancing baby. It’s a 3D Animations of a dancing baby in a white diaper doing a few cha-cha-cha steps and going around in circles. The 3D image of the baby was originally from 1996 Michael Girard, Robert Lurye and John Chadwick created as a test file when trying out new software.

A college student installed 3D animation on his website – and the ‘Dancing Baby’ soon ended up on TV shows like Alley McBeal and the The Simpsonsin advertisements for Delta Airlinesin video games like FIFA 99 or in music videos like “1999” by Charlie XCX and Troye Sivan.

The original Dancing Baby file has been dug up again by the inventors and recreated in HD quality for the NFT

Vienna NFT Project

“For me, the Dancing Baby was actually the first moving image I consciously noticed on the internet. I remember my old Mac and the sound of the dial-up modem, then the baby moving before my eyes for the times. It reflects the internet aesthetic of the 90s,” says Charlie Scheichenost in conversation with futurezone. The Viennese designer had the idea of ​​transforming the “Dancing Baby” into an NFT, that is to say a “Non-fungible tokens(NFT) and is in the process of implementing it.

NFTs have been a hot trend in the art and media scene for almost a year and a half. They offer artists a way to sell their works digitally. In 2021, NFTs were even included in the famous art ranking “power 100‘ by the British magazine ArtReview was chosen for first place. The best way to think of NFTs is as a certificate that exists in a blockchain. This means that buyers have an original document of a work of art, even if the image of it is available to everyone on the Internet.

Collection for internet meme lovers

“It makes sense when you’re ready to own something digital. The paintings are also easily reproducible via art prints, but you can still own the original and prove it with the artist’s signature or certificates. With new technology, this process can be emulated digitally,” says Scheichenost, explaining the purpose of NFTs. “There are people who collect shoes or a hair of Elvis Presley. In the digital domain, the blockchain makes it possible to understand in complete transparency who owns digital art,” explains the designer, who acts as a gallerist. in this precise case.

Scheichenost is part of the design office Studio H.F.A., which issues and publishes NFTs in 1:1 edition. This means that there will be only one NFT of the well-known 3D object and it will be offered for auction at an auction on the popular Foundation platform. For this, the design office not only obtained the consent of the original authors from the United States: they also dug up their old files, rendered the “Dancing Baby” in HD and recreated it. Also with Autodesk rights have been clarified. This is the big American company to which the company of the 3 developers was sold as well as all their creations.

The creator accepts the project

“I wrote to the authors who created the work 26 years ago and was able to convince them of my project idea,” Scheichenost explains. Some of the creators of the original 3D image are now retired and have done much more in their lives. Some of them have had great success in the film industry. They knew Austria mainly because of the Ars Electronica, where you were invited as a media artist decades ago. “With the Dancing Baby, they created a child they never got rid of,” Scheichenost explains. Because they too TikTok generation still knows the meme. On TikTok, the “Dancing Baby” appeared as an animation in the belly of a pregnant woman.

The remixes of “Dancing Baby”

Nyan Cat creators on board for remixes

The Viennese design studio has come up with something special: not only does the original image become the NFT, but it has been remixed by 6 artists, i.e. artistically alienated. These works are also sold as NFTs. “Artists reinterpret the Dancing Baby and wondered what it would look like now,” Scheichenost explains.

Following Serwah Attafuah from Australia, Yuuki Morita from Japan, KidEight from England, creative ministers from Sweden and Yonk from the Netherlands also got a remix by someone as comfortable in the world of internet memes as Dancing Baby himself: the creator of the iconic Nyan Cat, Chris Torres.

The Nyan Cat was created by Chris Torres and became an internet meme

A part of internet culture since 2011, the Nyan Cat is an 8-bit GIF animation of a flying cat leaving behind a rainbow. Nyan Cat’s NFT image was updated in 2021 300ETH (currently approx. €835,700) auctioned on the Foundation’s platform. Torres also stayed true to his style in his animation of “Dancing Baby.” Like the Nyan Cat, this one shoots a rainbow behind it.

The original Dancing Baby could sell for an equally high price on the platform or even break the million dollar mark. On the Foundation’s platform since its launch in February 2021 ETH 57,682 (current value in euros: 160.7 million).

The auction starts at the end of April, the exhibition takes place in Vienna

The Viennese design studio wants to launch the “Dancing Baby” NFT auction in a few weeks. The works are already listed on the Foundation’s platform, theoretically you could already bid, but in practice they are always worthless. “The project took the time it needed. In any case, we wanted to clarify all legal issues beforehand,” explains Scheichenost.

“Our plan is to officially list the artworks at the end of April, with a price of 0.96 ETH (currently 2,700 euros), based on the date of 1996.” The auction then lasts 24 hours. “However, the timer is repeatedly reset by 15 minutes for each offer in the last few minutes until there are no more new offers,” Scheichenost explains.

What is expected, even if it is difficult to assess

As a gallery owner, the creative agency earns a percentage on the sales of the photos. “But a lot less than what we usually have as Marge. We had to be more flexible in the digital space,” says Scheichenost. But what are you waiting for? “In our line-up of remix artists, Chris Torres and KidEight already have quite a bit of crypto and NFT caliber, so it’s possible that a remix for double-digit ETH value (currently over $28,000) will hit the virtual auction table,” so sheikh is.

“For the Original Dancing Baby Loop, we hope the subject knows the history of the meme and understands its importance in the context of the internet. There’s no telling how much it’s ultimately worth.”

In addition to the NFT auction, there is gallery space (HFA / Burggasse 24/1-2 1070 Vienna) starting this week a mini expo of “Dancing Baby” and all the remixes. With an app, images can also be converted to motion pictures on the spot. The mini exhibition can be visited from Wednesday to Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

You can read more about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on our crypto channel

Leave a Comment