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Newsticker, link list, time machine: HOLO.mg/stream logs emerging trajectories in art, science, technology, and culture––every day
“Congratulations to everyone who wanted to be bankless, you got what you wanted.”
– American artist Addie Wagenknecht, subtweeting crypto enthusiasts as the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank wreaks havoc across the financial and the DeFi sector. On March 10, the California tech lender was shut down by regulators “after a stunning 48 hours in which a bank run and a capital crisis led to the second-largest failure of a financial institution in US history,” as CNN reports.
“I’m hoping we can move away from this single-minded effort to financialize everything and start trying to develop a more diverse economy that, by virtue of diversity, would be a more stable economy.”
– Science fiction author Neil Stephenson, on how Web3 needs to outgrow speculation. Discussing the metaverse (a term he coined in his 1992 novel Snow Crash), he notes that in virtual spaces “sooner or later people want to do something besides talk and do little emotes,” citing Epic Games’ Fortnite as striking a good balance of socializing and activity.
“Nobody said it was a democracy. The ‘will of the community’ is the will of whichever cartel or whale has the voting majority, not the will of the disgusting peasantry.”
– Pseudonymous crypto pundit @degenspartan, sardonically reminding everyone that money talks in DAO governance. “If you want more votes, buy more coins,” he adds, in response to concerns that the large stake of venture capital firm a16z could make or break community proposals guiding the decentralized Uniswap protocol.
“A legless Donald Trump, just wandering the empty streets of Horizon Worlds, selling commemorative coins.”
New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose, imagining the sad combination of Trump and the metaverse, in the aftermath of Meta reinstating the former U.S. President’s Facebook and Instagram accounts after a two-year ban

Creative economy thinker and entrepreneur Yancey Strickler shares his vision for metalabels, a new model for cultural production “like indie record labels for all forms of creative output.” Following a release proof-of-concept (a ‘record’ in his nomenclature), the Kickstarter co-founder maps creativity after platform capitalism. It entails a move away from lone creator-entrepreneurs to teams, protocol-driven compensation and ownership, and audiences that prioritize context over ‘content.’

“Metaverse homeowners associations. Metaverse building permit red tape. Metaverse NIMBYs. Metaverse property liens. Metaverse neighbourhood watch.”
– Software engineer and Web3 watchdog Molly White, anticipating “other horrific parts of the system of homeownership get recreated virtually” after Decentraland announced it now allows land owners to rent out property
Metalabel x co—matter
After the Creator Economy
A physical and digital zine with contributors including Amber Case, Kei Kreutler, and Mat Dryhurst exploring new ways to produce, distribute, and monetize creative work online

Mario Santamaría’s solo show “Gárgola” opens at Centre d’Art la Panera, Lleida (ES), wedging two metaverses into one exhibition space. An architectural structure marks the exact plot of land the Spanish artist purchased in Next Earth, a virtual 1:1 reproduction of the planet, while suspended screens render a 13,5 billion light-years drop (the fall, 2022) into the Voxels Ethereum virtual world. A winding liquid cooling system further reminds viewers of computing’s (very real) materiality.

“The Fable of Net in Earth,” the 2022 ARKO Art & Tech Festival kicks off in Seoul. Inspired by decentralization (mycology, Web3), it brings together Morehshin Allahyari, SunJeong Hwang, and Young Joo Lee, and others. Featured works include Eobchaecoin (2022), Nahee Kim’s unabashedly ponzi cryptocurrency (it will be very profitable in 2082), and De Anima (2018-21, image), Clara Jo’s film probing humanity’s relationship with nature, that draws on footage from Kenya, Myanmar, and France.

“After 5 weeks of vacationing and disconnecting myself from crypto, it is truly amazing how utterly irrelevant crypto is in every day life and how little it matters to most people. Yes we’re early, but also we are clearly caught up in a tiny niche bubble that no one cares about.”
– Web3 enthusiast Foobazzler, providing a much-needed reality check

“The Byzantine Generals Problem,” a group show seeking consensus on crypto, opens at distant.gallery. Curated by Domenico Quaranta, the online exhibition features Sterling Crispin, Sarah Friend, Ben Grosser, Anna Ridler, and 10 others. Interrogative in tone, included works span Rhea Myers’ blockchain visualizations (2014-5), Kyle McDonald’s Ethereum carbon footprint calculations (2021), through a Web3 Dot Com Séance (2022, image) by Simon Denny and collaborators.

“If we had the Web3 dream world, it would be William Gibson with a concussion. It would be a really stupid cyberpunk hellscape—far dumber than the world we’re actually in.”
– Crypto skeptic David Gerard, imagining the (already wildly dystopian) Sprawl Trilogy plus brain injury, when asked to describe crypto’s ‘vision for the world’ by interlocutor Edward Ongweso Jr.

“Pardon Our Dust,” a solo show by avatar artist LaTurbo Avedon, opens at the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK), Vienna. The show’s titular work (image, 2022) riffs on a slogan used to describe 1990s websites as ‘under construction,’ revising that narrative of progress for nascent Web3. Serving as tour guide and critic, Avedon parses emerging decentralization and ever-present commercialization, in a narrative rendering virtuality torn between “construction and deconstruction.”

“Public blockchains, through making visible latent forces such as financing, unequal returns, or scarce and valuable ownership, are bringing long existing dynamics to the surface to be scrutinized. These forces are not new, they are nude.”
– Technologist Mat Dryhurst, on “the shock of the nude:” the realization that financialization and inequity have been part of our digital lives all along. Web3 introduces “feasible abundance,” Dryhurst argues: free media that sustains the people creating it.
Domenico Quaranta
Surfing with Satoshi
Putting the NFT boom in a historical context, Quaranta investigates blockchain technologies, the role of certificates and contracts in contemporary art, and the evolution of the media art market

“Decentralized Society: Finding Web3’s Soul,” a whitepaper by researchers E. Glen Weyl and Puja Ohlhaver, and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is published. In it, the trio describe a web3 where tokens denoting “commitments, credentials, and affiliations” are “soulbound” to individuals, and these non-transferable identity markers are used to govern more efficiently (e.g. DAO vote-weighting based on expertise) and to generate more equitable datasets (opt-in with privacy controls). Moving beyond ‘trustless’ DeFI frameworks, they propose decentralized sociality (DeSoc) “which encodes trust networks that underpin the real economy today.” Drawing on the community and infosec foibles in crypto over the last decade, they extend the model to prevent concentrations of power, and propose checks and balances to protect its decentralization.

“The WWW was not designed, rather implemented ad hoc. There are no versions. Its story is one of the initial gift and promise of free and open access to knowledge and culture, and the power and money people that have since sought to control, steer, surveil and exploit that gift.”
– Media artist and critical engineer Julian Oliver, pushing back on the framing of (and hype around) Web 3.0
“And, like some kind of bear after a bad-trip hibernation, tech art crawled out of its cave wearing a ‘Have Fun Being Poor’ t-shirt and forgetting the last ten years entirely.”
– Canadian data artist Jer Thorp, on how NFT mania validates his 2018 critique of artistic complicity in hyper-capitalist schemes. “The worst people in the world are constructing the least equitable, most destructive futures and their ideas and politics are being validated and advanced by artists,” laments Thorp.

What comes after platform capitalism? An assemblage called ‘hyperstructures,’ according to Jacob Horne. In an essay published on his website, the co-founder of the NFT marketplace aggregator Zora outlines the frameworks he sees emerging around crypto protocols. Inspired by the utopian architecture of Paolo Soleri, Horne argues the permissionless nature of hyperstructures generates low-friction exchange, yielding more equitable outcomes for participants (versus web 2.0 platforms where the user is the product). Is this the frothy rhetoric we’ll hear as money flows into web3? Yes, but Zora’s manifesto claim that “platforms hold our audiences and content hostage” is not wrong.

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