8 December 2020
Bernardo Faria is an art collector, patron, and entrepreneur who created one of the largest bitcoin exchanges in Brazil. Faria is also co-founder of N3plus, an interdisciplinary digital platform that connects creative makers to companies and institutions, engaging with different solutions in retail, sustainability, innovation, and new technologies. N3plus is based at NEW INC, the world’s first museum-led incubator inside the New Museum in New York dedicated to supporting innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship across art, design, and technology.
Throughout the months of lockdown in Brazil, Faria and his wife, Georgiana Rothier, launched a new residency programme in São Paulo called YBYTU, which came from a long-standing idea to provide opportunities for artists to think, reflect, and develop their practices. Artists including Denise Alves-Rodrigues, Rafael RG, and Rodrigo Garcia Dutr were chosen through an open call to receive full support during a two-month residency with curatorial mentoring and networking opportunities.
The following conversation between Hena Lee and Bernardo Faria was transcribed, translated, and edited from a Zoom call held in early July 2020, during a period of lockdown in São Paulo.
The conversation picks up from Faria’s time as collector-in-residence at the Delfina Foundation as part of a thematic programme science_technology_society, which supports contemporary interdisciplinary approaches that consider, intervene in, and speculate on the current and future world.
Faria was invited to engage in an intensive one-week residency, contributing to discussions about decentralised infrastructures, visualising data, software sovereignty, and collaborative practices for artists. During his residency, Faria introduced the initial ideas of N3plus project to artists, organisations, and potential partners, and was able to delve into different models of connecting artists with different industries.
After months of incubation and development, Bernardo shares the challenges and motivations for creating this new platform that combines matchmaking tools with high-end solutions for corporations, bringing artists and creative studios to recalibrate brand experiences.
Hena Lee: When we first met in October 2019, you were a collector-in-residence, living with other artists and curators at Delfina Foundation during the first iteration of the science_technology_society programme.
At that time, you had just been accepted as a permanent tenant at NEW INC with the N3plus project. Your residency was very much focused on the development of this platform. Can you tell us more about it and your motivations behind its creation?
Bernardo Faria: I moved to New York in 2017 when I was managing a cryptocurrency company and following contemporary art, as it helped me to read the world.
During that time, I had a great conversation with Lisa Phillips, director of the New Museum, who told me why she was interested in having me as part of the museum’s international leadership council. She pointed out that as a collector and someone who knew about technology I could understand and foresee what would happen in the future. She placed a mirror in front of me.
After two years, I presented for the first time the N3plus project at the New Museum with my partner Sabine Landolt. It’s quite curious how I met Sabine. We consider it the first matching of our venture. I met her at the WeWork coworking spaces in New York.
I saw images and information about museums on her desk and we started talking. She had a branding agency at that time that had done work for many museums, and she was mentoring at the Entrepreneurship programme at McGill University in Montreal. After a few months of getting to know each other, I invited her to join me at N3plus. We combined my knowledge in cryptocurrency and her know-how in branding and technology to structure the project.
The initial idea was to create a digital creative coin that could be used by museums and artists to receive money to support exhibitions or simply as a creative coin that could encourage creativity. At that time, I believed the ‘liquid’ world would become more real over the years. Little had I known that this moment would come faster and stronger than I had expected.
Throughout this process, we’ve realised that the creative coin could be a tool within a platform. Speaking to many artists and creative studios during that time, we realised that linking artists or makers with technologists inside different companies, museums, and institutions seemed more relevant.
We thought it made more sense to have a digital platform that leans towards technologies and that creates communities—connects people, gets support for exhibitions and projects, or helps companies that are looking for a new perspective of the world.
Continue reading the interview on Ocula here.