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“It’s a question of permanence. What will last the longest? What will give me the strongest sense of comfort that a work will exist well beyond my lifetime?”
“Value Flows,” a pop-up show curated by the decentralized JPG community opens as part of NFT Paris. Artists including Kim Asendorf, Dmitri Cherniak, Deafbeef, Simon Denny & Guile Twardowski, and Sarah Friend contribute works revealing the “on-chain transactions and mechanisms, or off-chain interactions between humans, that live at the core of every blockchain system.” Rippling with DIY energy, it juxtaposes ad-hoc pyramids of analogue displays (image) with the backdrop of a bustling trade show.
Rhea Myers’ solo exhibition “The Ego, and It’s 0wned” opens at Nagel Draxler’s Crypto Kiosk in Berlin, offering blockchain-based “symbolic forms” that ponder property, representation, identity, and secrecy. In the titular piece (2023), for example, the British artist and hacker tokenizes her brain wave recordings while Type Opposite Images (2023, image) reverses colourful Vaporwave tropes. Also on view: new NFT editions of iconic Ethereum works that Myers created in 2014.
“No currency, no collectors, no cashing out. Just having fun swapping and chatting about work that we made and loved.”
Silvio Lorusso and Sebastian Schmieg’s “A Slice of the Pie” platform launches as part of “DYOR,” a crypto art exhibition at Kunsthalle Zürich curated by Nina Röhrs. For its duration, artists can purchase pie segments on a 16 m2 LED wall to show their work, effectively becoming part of the exhibition. The hustle is broadcast 24/7, inviting remote competition and/or collaboration. Once a day, the pie’s state is frozen and minted as an NFT, starting the cycle anew.
“The line between utility, saving one’s market, and wash trading seems to be blurred.”
Sarah Friend’s solo exhibition “Terraforming” opens at Nagel Draxler’s Crypto Kiosk, Berlin, with a series of new works that “turn to the protocol layer of blockchains and the physical reality of the internet as subject matter.” Using text, video, code, and waste from a local data center, the Canadian software artist foregrounds “internet infrastructure, its stories, shape, materials” and the false “dichotomy between competition and cooperation.”
“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.
“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.”
Surfing with Satoshi
“It seems possible that too much globality in terms of trust leads to loss of granularity and silencing of difference, and too much locality leads to a disturbing filter-bubble effect.”
“A Sea of Data,” German media artist Hito Steyerl’s first solo show in Asia, opens at Seoul’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA). Named after an e-flux essay by the artist, the exhibition includes 23 works, spanning 1990-2000s video art through her more recent (often iconic) installations. It also premieres a new commission: Animal Spirits (2022, image) is a sensor-driven animation of post-pandemic (human) conditions—from remote culture to decentralization.
“The dish’s colonial origins not only placed an elided aspect of European history in the spotlight, but also sought to explore the quasi-colonial relations that are built into the Internet’s infrastructure, a mentality we wanted to confront and oppose.”
Software artists and project co-founders Paloma Rodríguez Carrington and Harm van den Dorpel announce the discontinuation of Left Gallery. Active since 2015, the blockchain-based space for the display and dissemination of downloadable objects pioneered crypto art with a curated marketplace and exhibitions. Launched at Spike Art’s Berlin project space, Left Gallery fittingly concludes with NFT auctions of the magazine’s covers throughout the years.
After ‘squatting’ the Ethereum domain of Germany’s Bundeskunsthalle in July 2021, provoking questions about ownership of public art institutions, German artist and filmmaker Hito Steyerl and the Berlin-based Department of Decentralization launch Strike DAO, an “experiment in participatory governance of blockchain art institutions.” Three models are put up for a vote, and visualized through a vote-based re-edit of Steyerl’s eponymous 2010 video piece.
“I think the obsession with immutability and stable identity, which is being imposed on commercial blockchain projects, is very un-cyberfeminist and it’s very un-Satoshi Nakamoto. So that’s definitely a site of a struggle.”
“You are meant to be a good little Homo economicus and behave in accordance with profit maximization.”
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.
“Conceptually, working with NFTs has inspired me to continue evolving my hypothesis that poetry is a technology, a durable, adaptive data storage system for preserving humanity’s most valuable information—poetry as the original blockchain.”
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