To wrap up his rowhomes project, Hytha’s planning to sell a collage of all 100 images that comprise it, and he expects the collage to sell for as much as $40,000. In the meantime, Hytha has been meeting with local organizations that specialize in home repair and tangled titles in an effort to figure out how to put the money to the best possible use. Whether it ultimately helps Philadelphians with rowhome repairs, tangled title resolutions, or both, Hytha’s donation will help protect the historical legacy and architectural vibrancy of the city’s oft-neglected neighborhoods. In so doing, what started for Hytha as an art project celebrating the tragic beauty of urban decay in Philadelphia’s built environment will have become a force counteracting that very decay.
Hytha shows us, then, that it’s possible to use NFTs without severing economic action from morality, and further, that the new technology actually opens up new frontiers for local civic engagement. With sufficient skill, hard work, and good fortune, struggling artists now have a realistic chance at becoming powerful community pillars—all while doing what they love. Moreover, while NFTs are often criticized for being detached from the world and devoid of real value, Hytha shows us that it’s possible to ground them in one’s environment and use them to help people appreciate the physical world instead of escape from it into cyberspace.
An argument worthy of serious reflection.