On Thursday, a collection of tokenized artwork from the Musée d’Orsay’s first-ever commission of an on-chain exhibition will hit the market—the product of two experimental artists, months of coordination by the museum’s leadership, and thousands of exhales from unknowing strangers. 

The pieces, five single-edition NFTs minted on the Tezos blockchain collectively titled “The Convergence of Breath,” are the fruits of an art installation (and partial social experiment) now on display at Musée d’Orsay, which features in the museum’s ongoing, digital-themed exhibition, “Le Code d’Orsay.”

The installation, a steel sculpture titled “Sigma Lumina,” was created by the French artist and DJ Sébastian Devaud (aka Agoria) in collaboration with the artist Johan Lescure. 

When hit by the perfect alignment of light from above, the sculpture produces a QR code in its shadow; curious museum patrons who scan the QR code are then directed to mint a unique, free NFT riffing on other Impressionist works on display at the Orsay—but if, and only if, they breathe into their phones to help generate it.

Agoria performing a DJ set on Saturday to celebrate the launch
Agoria performing a DJ set on Saturday to celebrate the launch. Image: Musée d'Orsay

On a recent trip to the exhibition, this Decrypt reporter did in fact find numerous Orsay patrons, ranging from children to the elderly, blowing on smartphones with bemused expressions.

Agoria and Lescure have now taken the data from those blows—so far, over 2,000 “Sigma Lumina” NFTs have been minted by museum visitors—and synthesized them into a series of five unique NFTs, one for each week of the exhibition’s run. 

“I love the fact that all the blows of all the people coming [to the exhibition] are now connected together, to create a global piece,” Agoria told Decrypt


The five “Convergence of Breath” NFTs will go on sale Thursday at 5pm CET on Objkt.One, a curated platform for one-of-one on-chain artworks. “Le Code d’Orsay” runs at the Musée d’Orsay through March 10. 

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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