Sotheby’s has sold an Ordinals inscribed poem titled “Cord” by Ana Maria Caballero for 0.28 Bitcoin or $11,430.
The sale, which took place last week, was part of the Natively Digital auction, an online event featuring Bitcoin Ordinals inscriptions.
The Natively Digital collection aimed to provide a comprehensive exploration of NFT-like Ordinals on Bitcoin, showcasing significant early inscriptions.
In addition to acquiring the inscription, the buyer of “Cord” will receive a signed print of the poem.
First Poem to be Sold by Sotheby’s
Michael Bouhanna, the Vice President and Head of Digital Art at Sotheby’s, took to Twitter to announce that “Cord” was the first individual poem ever sold by the esteemed auction house, excluding manuscripts and books.
Caballero said that the sale of “Cord” holds great significance for her as she sees it as an opportunity to affirm the inherent value of written poetry.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to make a statement that words and language and poetry have value on their own.”
Yes yes not counting manuscripts and books.
— Michael Bouhanna (@michaelbouhanna) January 22, 2024
Caballero emphasized that the poem was sold based solely on the power of its language and text, without any additional visuals, sound, or experiences attached.
“Cord” will be featured in Caballero’s upcoming book, titled “Mammal.” Other notable artists included in the Natively Digital auction were FAR, XCPinata, Nullish, Rudxane, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Popoki, Shroomtoshi, Des Lucréce, and Claudia Hart.
One inscription associated with the “Quantum Cats” collection fetched over $250,000 during the auction.
Caballero Continues Push into the Digital Asset Industry
In 2021, Caballero, along with Kalen Iwamoto and Sasha Stiles, co-founded theVerseverse, a digital poetry and NFT gallery.
Earlier, theVerseverse collaborated with the Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles to present an exhibition that combined Allen Ginsberg’s photographs with AI-generated poetry.
The exhibition, titled “Muses & Self: Photographs by Allen Ginsberg,” received mixed reactions from the poetry community, as it sought to emulate the style of the iconic Beat Generation figure.
Sotheby’s highlighted Caballero’s exploration of the influence of biology on societal and cultural rituals in her work.
The auction house praised her ability to unveil the reality behind romanticized motherhood and challenge the narrative of sacrifice as a virtue.
Caballero revealed that “Cord” is written in a poetic form known as a villanelle.
This form consists of 19 lines divided into five stanzas, with three lines each, and one stanza with four lines. The villanelle employs two repeated rhymes and utilizes certain lines multiple times.
“I love that value statement for poetry, and for verse, especially because this is a poem about motherhood; it’s about pregnancy, about the body, about embodiment,” Caballero said.
“So it’s even more meaningful in what tends to be a very male-dominated space,” she said, adding that the auction for the Ordinals poem “Cord” received over 40 bids.
Caballero has received several awards throughout her writing career, including the Beverly International and José Manuel Arango National Poetry Prizes.
Last year, Sotheby’s reported making “close to $35 million” in digital art sales in 2023, marking it as a standout year for the emerging sector.
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