Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) offer unique tools for translocal peers to encode rules, relations and values into their joint ventures using blockchain technologies.
In recent years DAOs have been heralded as a powerful stimulus for reshaping how value systems for interdependence and cooperation manifest themselves in arts organising. Radical Friends. Decentralised Autonomous Organisations and the Arts consolidates five years of research into a toolkit for fierce thinking, as well as for new forms of radical care and connectivity that move beyond the established systems of centralised control in the art industry and wider financial networks.
At a time when so many are focused on NFTs, Radical Friends refocuses attention on DAOs as potentially the most radical blockchain-based technology for the arts in the long-term. Contributors engage both past and emergent methodologies for building resilient and mutable systems for mutual aid. Collectively, the book aims to evoke and conjure new imaginative communities, and to share the practices and blueprints that can help produce them.
Radical Friends includes contributions of essays, interviews, exercises, and prototypes from leading thinkers, artists and technologists across this emerging field. This book, follows Furtherfield and Torque Editions ground-breaking book Artists Re:Thinking the Blockchain.
Ruth Catlow & Penny Rafferty
Ramon Amaro, Calum Bowden, Jaya Klara Brekke, Mitchell F. Chan, Cade Diehm, eeefff, Carina Erdmann, Primavera De Filippi, Charlotte Frost, Max Hampshire, Lucile Olympe Haute, Sara Heitlinger, Lara Houston, Cadence Kinsey, Nick Koppenhagen, Kei Kreutler, Laura Lotti, Jonas Lund, Massimiliano Mollona, MetaObjects, Rhea Myers, Omsk Social Club, Bhavisha Panchia, Legacy Russell, Tina Rivers Ryan, Nathan Schneider, Sam Skinner, Sam Spike, Hito Steyerl, Alex S. Taylor, Cassie Thornton, Suzanne Treister, Stacco Troncoso, Ann Marie Utratel, Samson Young
Cover and Inside Illustrations
“Radical Friends is an urgent book for the 21st Century and beyond. It shows us, in the spirit of the legendary poet and artist Etel Adnan, that the technology of the future needs to be about “togetherness, not separation. Love, not suspicion. A common future, not isolation.”
Hans Ulrich Obrist
“How things are run is often more important than what is done. It may not be easy to establish alternative formats and infrastructures, but it’s certainly necessary… This collection shows that it is possible too.”
“This book is about friendship, despair and hope — a beautiful, must-read for all people who are asking unanswerable questions about life, love and the end of the world.”
Franco “Bifo” Beradi
“Web 3 diagonalises the principles of Web 1 and Web 2. Binaries are dead. Everything is both good and evil, emancipatory and oppressive, singular and infinitely replicable. Radical Friends navigates this confusing new terrain in a nuanced and accessible way that is liable to make you feel excited about the future of art, politics, and maybe even the world again.”
“An instant seminal compendium for people who want to gain a deeper understanding of the radical potential of crypto tech for aesthetic institutions.”
Harm van den Dorpel
A list of recommendations, reflecting the dynamic culture we are part of, straddling the fields of art, technology and social change.
Through the Mesh: Media, Borders, and Firewalls | Until Jan 14, 2022, | NeMe Art Centre, Cyprus | A mixed exhibition curated by Patrick Lichty, Wade Wallerstein and NeMe Art Centre | 10 Dec2021 | This exhibition will feature the work of artists who initially began to investigate the cultural space of the networks, biopolitical and informatics; who challenge or jam it. The artworks look at electronic networks as scopophilic and performative, the asymmetric regimes of power they project, and the positive uses of “darkside” technologies. Participating artists: Morehshin Allahyari, Mina Cheon, Joseph Delappe, Vikram Divecha, Hasan Elahi, Negin Ehtesabian, Ben Grosser, Dina Karadžić, Michael Lorsung, Umber Majeed, Josèfa Ntjam, Nathan Shafer – https://bit.ly/3I7REAQ
CODE OF ARMS | Until Jan 15, 2022, | Gazelli Art House, London | The exhibition investigates the history of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in art. The exploration of implementing code and AI in art in the 1970s – 80s comes at a time of rapid change in our understanding and appreciation of computer art. The exhibition brings together pioneer artists in computer and generative art such as Georg Nees (b.1926), Frieder Nake (b.1938), Manfred Mohr (b.1938) and Vera Molnar (b.1924), and iconic artists employing AI in their practice such as Harold Cohen (b.1928), Lynn Hershman Leeson (b.1941), and Mario Klingemann (b.1970) – https://bit.ly/3EQtacj
“Art’s Birthday” | Jan 17, 2022, | An annual event first proposed in 1963 by French artist Robert Filliou. He suggested that 1,000,000 years ago, there was no art. But one day, on the 17th of January to be precise, Art was born. According to Filliou, it happened when someone dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water. Modest beginnings, but look at us now. Each year the Eternal Network evolves to include new partners – working with the ideas of exchange and telecommunications-art – https://bit.ly/3q4ISfY
Deptford Film Club 2: Empathy & Risk | Jan 11, 2022, | 4p – 9 pm | Deptford Film Club 2, London | An exciting screening event to start the New Year. Deptford Film Club is a regular monthly event organised by Empathy&Risk and Looking Forward in partnership. Join us for this first appointment featuring videos by Francis Almendárez, Zain Wahbeh, Carla Geronimi. Curated by Carolina Lio and Katerina Matheson. The Programme includes Anthony Almendárez, Carla Geronimi. Book here – https://bit.ly/3qFW75L
Memeplex™ | Exhibition until Feb 5, 2022, | Seventeen Gallery, London |The mixed show is two stories in one. The first explores the implementation of ideas, belief and conviction that occurs through memetic artefacts. In this instance, they are political living memes that attach themselves to the host in order to perform a survivalist function, reminiscent of the pathogenic fungi Cordyceps. The Cordyceps is a genus of parasitic fungi that grow in the larvae of insects. When these fungi infect their host, they replace its tissue and sprout long, slender stems that grow outside the host’s body. They are known to take over the mind of the host, controlling its mind and behaviour, leading to the nickname ‘zombie fungi’. In the second part of the story, we learn that the human body now carries animal, mineral and botanical genes, and with contact, this increases, bringing into question the human-centric narrative that is navigated through practices of Otherkin, Therian and Skinwalkers.
Memeplex™ is engineered by Omsk Social Club and Joey Holder, Minjeong An, David Cronenberg, Joey Holder, Botond Keresztesi, Kinke Kooi, Jack Jubb, Isaac Lythgoe, Katja Novitskova, Omsk Social Club Transformella malor (fed and cared for by JP Raether) Jonas Schoeneberg Suzanne Treister – https://bit.ly/3t3l3He
Activating Attention: Political Videos on Social Media (Online Conference) | Jan 20 & 21, 2022 | Videoactivism | Videos on social media have become powerful and creative means of influencing public discourses. They are particularly significant for political activists from civil society and their attempts to gain attention for human rights, climate change, social justice, and many other issues. Moving images spread across digital networks, reach the public and evoke emotions, motivate political action, and inspire social movements. What started in the 2010s with pro-democracy movements in the MENA region and transnational anti-capitalist protests has developed into an indispensable form of media practice for all politically involved interventions, from Black Lives Matter to Fridays for Future and resistance movements in authoritarian countries like Belarus or Myanmar – https://bit.ly/3HJW7sa
Radical Friends. DAO Summit for Decentralisation of Power and Resources in the Artworld | Symposium, Jan 22 2022, at 10 am | Free admission | HDK Munich in partnership with Goethe Institut and Furtherfield | Radical Friends discusses the value of and pathways to peer-produced decentralised digital infrastructures for art, culture and society. It aims to create a new environment for mutual aid and solidarity in the cultural sector. By bringing together ground-breaking players from the cultural sector and decentralised peer-to-peer technologists, the summit explores how traditional organisational patterns can be transformed through decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs) enabled by blockchain technology – https://bit.ly/3qHA6DE
SWIPE RIGHT! DATA, DATING, DESIRE | IMAL.org | Until Feb 6, 2022, | Curated by Valentina Peri | What does it mean to love in the digital age? How are digital interfaces reshaping our personal relationships? What do new technologies imply for the future of the romantic sphere? How do screens affect our sexual intimacy and our desire for connection? By bringing together the work of several international and Belgian artists, the exhibition SWIPE RIGHT! Data, Dating, Desire attempts to explore new directions in contemporary romance and map the unprecedented connections between desire, emotion, technology, and economy in the post-pandemic world – https://bit.ly/31rdBKC
FUTURE AGES WILL WONDER | Mixed exhibition at FACT, Liverpool, UK | On until Feb 20, 2022, | Featuring artists: Larry Achiampong and David Blandy, Yarli Allison, Miku Aoki, Trisha Baga, Breakwater (Youngsook Choi and Taey Iohe), Ai Hasegawa and Boedi Widjaja. The show presents an “alternative museum” of artworks that use science and technology to question our past and offer new ways of understanding who we are and where we belong. The artworks on display bring together traditional mediums such as textiles, sculpture, and photography with virtual reality, computer algorithms and synthetic DNA to reimagine stories about our past, present and future. Through this wide range of materials and art-making, the exhibition refocuses where we place attention and what we value: reimagining stories about our past, present and future – https://bit.ly/3p3YD4W
The World After Us: Imaging Techno-Aesthetic Futures | One person show by Nathaniel Stern | Main Gallery Jan 27 – Mar 10, 2022, | Binghamton University, NY | A travelling solo exhibition of sculptures, installations, prints, and photographs that combine plant life with electronic waste, and scientific experimentation with artistic exploration. They take the forms of a wall-hung jungle of computer detritus and biological reclamation; fossilized and reconfigured phones and laptops; and reimagined and re-formed electronics. Taking cues from journalist Alan Weisman’s provocative book The World Without Us, this exhibition is a timely and relevant series of aesthetic and ethical provocations around where and how we might change our ecological trajectories. The World After Us asks us to rethink and potentially transform conversations, thoughts, and actions around media production, use, and waste – https://bit.ly/3G62PZk
Such Stuff as Worlds are Made On | Jan 21st – Feb 20th 2022 | Malta | Reflecting on human time scales, alongside the deep time of the universe, this project explores possible inclusive futures via world-building and speculative art practices, while consciously avoiding the replication of colonial models. Ultimately, the project questions what kinds of new worlds can be created and what kind of rules these worlds will have to follow. Informed by Donna Haraway’s Speculative Fabulations this exhibition looks towards cosmologies and ecosystems for inspirations, answers, and prophecies. Exploring practices that are speculative rather than empirically scientific, it reflects on the limits of human knowledge of our own planet, alongside humankind’s increasing desire to extend itself to neighbouring planets and planetary systems – https://bit.ly/3eXFvAQ
Black Film Festival Atlanta | Online event | Feb 1 – 6, 2022, | Atlanta | BFFA is ecstatic to be the premier outlet in Atlanta for Black filmmakers! It’s our second year running and we continue to receive overwhelming feedback about the festival. Participants and moviegoers alike are excited to be a part of this landmark event in the new filming capital of the South. BFFA’s mission is to highlight the works of talented filmmakers who otherwise may not have the opportunity to showcase their projects. Our goal is to also educate the new filmmaker with industry-related resources and provide an excellent chance to network – https://bit.ly/3FRKTRQ
Visualizing Wellness: The Myant Skiin System Connected Life App | Research Gate | Sara Diamond | This paper presents a design study of the visualization interface to the Myant Skiin Connected Life App (Skiin), a family informatics application that will connect family members, friends, and caregivers, by engaging them together and enabling health and wellness related data sharing and support. It is based on Myant’s highly accurate intelligent textiles garments which collect activity and related biomechanical data through knitted sensors on the garment. Our design seeks to deliver a seamless user experience between this complex of technologies through effective data presentation, visualization, and tooltips – https://bit.ly/3JCbTqY
Mediated Interfaces: The Body on Social Media | Katie Warfield, Crystal Abidin, Carolina Cambre | Bloomsbury Publishing | Images of faces, bodies, selves and digital subjectivities abound on new media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, and others-these images represent our new way of being online and of becoming socially mediated. Although researchers are examining digital embodiment, digital representations, and visual vernaculars as a mode of identity performance and management online, there exists no cohesive collection that compiles all these contemporary philosophies into one reader for use in graduate-level classrooms or for scholars studying the field. The rationale for this book is to produce a scholarly fulcrum that pulls together scholars from disparate fields of inquiry in the humanities doing work on the common theme of the socially mediated body – https://bit.ly/32O6c8P
Diminished Faculties: A Political Phenomenology of Impairment | By Jonathan Sterne | Sterne offers a sweeping cultural study and theorization of impairment. Drawing on his personal history with thyroid cancer and a paralyzed vocal cord, Sterne undertakes a political phenomenology of impairment in which experience is understood from the standpoint of a subject that is not fully able to account for itself. He conceives of impairment as a fundamental dimension of human experience, examining it as both political and physical. While some impairments are enshrined as normal in international standards, others are treated as causes or effects of illness or disability. Sterne demonstrates how impairment is a problem, opportunity, and occasion for approaching larger questions about disability, subjectivity, power, technology, and experience in new ways. Diminished Faculties ends with a practical user’s guide to impairment theory – https://bit.ly/3FTkNy5
Resistance in Digital China: The Southern Weekly Incident | By Sally Xiaojin Chen | Bloomsbury Publishing | By investigating the Southern Weekly Incident, in which censorship of the prominent Chinese newspaper Southern Weekly triggered mass online contention in Chinese society, Resistance in Digital China examines how Chinese people engage in resistance on digital networks whilst cautiously safeguarding their life under authoritarian rule. Chen’s in-depth analysis […] ties together overlapping debates in internet studies, Chinese studies, social movement studies, political communication, and cultural studies to discuss issues of civic connectivity, emotions, embodiment, and the construction of a public sphere in digital China. An in-depth empirical examination of an act of resistance in order to explore political, cultural, and sociological meanings of Chinese people’s resistance within party limits – https://bit.ly/3sWpBzc
Indie Games in the Digital Age | Edited by M.J. Clarke and Cynthia Wang | Bloomsbury Publishing | A host of digital affordances, including reduced cost production tools, open distribution platforms, and ubiquitous connectivity, have engendered the growth of indie games among makers and users, forcing critics to reconsider the question of who makes games and why. Taking seriously this new mode of cultural production compels analysts to reconsider the blurred boundaries and relations of makers, users and texts as well as their respective relationship to cultural power and hierarchy. The contributions to Indie Games in the Digital Age consider these questions and examine a series of firms, makers, games and scenes, ranging from giants like Nintendo and Microsoft to grassroots games like Cards Against Humanity and Stardew Valley, to chart more precisely the productive and instructive disruption that this new site of cultural production offers – https://bit.ly/3sTBRAa
Written by the Body: Examining the expansive nature of Indigenous gender representations in history, literature, and film | By Lisa Tatonetti | Written by the Body moves from the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century archive to turn-of-the-century and late-twentieth-century fiction to documentaries, HIV/AIDS activism, and, finally, recent experimental film and literature. Across it all, Tatonetti shows how Indigenous gender expansiveness, and particularly queer and non-cisgender articulations, moves between and among Native peoples to forge kinship, offer protection, and make a change. She charts how the body functions as a somatic archive of Indigenous knowledge in Native histories, works of literature, and activisms—exploring representations of Idle No More in the documentary Trick or Treaty, the all-female wildland firefighting crew depicted in Apache 8, Chief Theresa Spence, activist Carole laFavor, S. Alice Callahan, Thirza Cuthand, Joshua Whitehead, Carrie House, and more – https://bit.ly/3xCfH5S
IgnoTheory: A Compositional System for Intermedia Art Based on Tiling Patterns and Labelled Graphs | Paul Hertz | SpringerLink | Hertz examines the rule-based tiling patterns and graphs that he uses for algorithmic art and music composition, with particular attention to the symmetries between spatial and temporal concepts of order. The tiling patterns can be regarded as 2D maps which are transformed into graphs with vertices labelled with pitch class names from the Western diatonic musical system. Vertices can also be marked with parameters derived from colouring rules and other combinatorial procedures. Traversal of the graphs can generate material for musical composition and performance. Rotations and reflections of the tiling patterns correspond to transpositions, reorderings and inversions of musical material – https://bit.ly/3F1Aa65
Holding in Common: A short reflection to end the year | Kei Kreutler | Gnosis Guild | How you spend the time in your life is precious. The question of how we should be living differently is a gift. Reflecting on the work of the past year, it’s clear that attention is building. As a recent tweet said, “The first rule of Web3 fight club is you must always talk about Web3 fight club”. The signal-to-noise ratio may be lower than ever, but at the same time, acronyms like DAOs begin to take on public meaning. The question of how we should be working differently repeats. Choosing to spend my time working on DAOs, I have to continually revisit, reevaluate, and reinvigorate my aims – https://bit.ly/32V7gaL
Black Box East: Right-Wing Anti-Colonialism and Universalising Postcolonialism | Berliner Gazette | By Abonné·e de Mediapart | By undertaking a sharp analysis of gender debates in Hungary, the political scientist Eszter Kováts aims at carving out a critical space for East-Central Europe between right-wing anti-colonialism and universalising postcolonialism. “Gender debates are a good example for the anti-colonial rhetoric of the Right. Anti-gender politics is a global phenomenon since the beginning of the 2010s. Reproductive rights, violence against women, sexual education, LGBT issues, gender mainstreaming, and gender studies are targeted by social movements and right-wing (populist) parties.” – https://bit.ly/32YfyhN
Crypto Criticism, Part Two: Confronting the Left’s negative critique of cryptocurrency | By Daniel Pinchbeck | In the last part of this essay, I considered a few of the main criticisms of cryptocurrency coming from the traditional Left. To review: Leftists argue that cryptocurrencies are not actually a new form of money – a universal unit of exchange for purchasing goods and services – but mainly function as speculative assets that are highly volatile and prey to market manipulation, such as “pump and dump” and “rug pulling1” schemes. Leftists think that cryptocurrencies, in general, increase the “financialization” of the economy (the movement away from producing goods to trading complex financial products) as well as the privatization of public goods or commonly held resources. They believe these ongoing trends have caused negative outcomes over the last half-century, such as Structural Adjustment Programs in the developing world and the 2008 crash of the global financial system – https://bit.ly/32WuPQj
The Lore Zone: Memes → Memories → Micro-Mythologies | By Libby Marrs & Tiger Dingsun | Otherinternet | This series explores Lore: the new modes of self-mythologization developed within network media, and the forms of history and canon stored within media artefacts that online groups produce. The memes we encounter on Clearnet feeds are usually parts of larger stories, stemming from semi-private sites more conducive to worldbuilding. The affordances of different types of online space change how information is produced, circulated, and remembered across platforms. What happens when platforms enable the archival of information? What happens when they encourage collective experiences versus personal, inward-facing ones? – https://bit.ly/3qMdaTC
The Ghostchain. (Or taking things for what they are) | Geraldine Juárez | Paletten | It goes without saying that the global art market is a decadent enterprise based on rampant speculation, that in collusion with institutions, it only seems to exist to serve the rich. Salespeople representing NFT platforms use this fact to spread reactionary narratives about taking back control. We hear that now, finally! Digital art can be turned into a unique asset that can be sold for a certain amount of crypto without intermediaries – https://bit.ly/3sOniy1
Interspecies Meditation and Sharing Circle | Furtherfield | Soundcloud | This meditation can be practised alone or with others to build empathy pathways to other life forms. We use our imaginations and a bonding ritual to enter the body and consciousness of a different species and to reflect on the nature of their existence. This ritual transports us to the interspecies multiverse where we sit for a guided meditation. If you are in a group you can follow the meditation with a sharing circle to describe the experiences you have of your new bodies and sentience. By listening to each other you will understand more about your place in the web of life – https://bit.ly/3JBt8Zt
Édouard Louis: Why Is Individual Responsibility Only for the Poor? | An interview with Edouard Louis | Jacobin Mag | French author Édouard Louis is famous for his works portraying the daily humiliations of working-class life. In an interview, he explains how our rulers avoid responsibility for their decisions — while blaming the rest of us for how we cope with the consequences. The radicalism of his words when he defends his class — the working class — contrasts starkly with the softness of his voice. Yes, Édouard Louis is angry. But even anger can be beautiful when it appears in fine prose – https://bit.ly/3qHkfFb
Blockchain may redefine the Web – it’s up to us to make sure it’s done well | By Laura Lotti | Open Democracy | How can cryptocurrencies create new possibilities for organising economically, politically and socially? As cryptocurrencies go mainstream with exorbitant valuations, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) enable new markets for the ‘creator economy’, we wonder: is blockchain technology neoliberalism’s new best friend? It certainly accelerates the tendency to turn attention, reputation, influence, decisional power, even art, into assets and trade them for a price – https://bit.ly/3pMgRJF
Open Call: Hotel generation at Arebyte | Deadline Feb 14, 2022, | Hotel generation provides four young artists from UK cities with curatorial guidance to create an exhibition proposal for arebyte’s exhibition space in London. In addition to assistance with proposal writing, progressing ideas and budgeting, the programme offers industry support through creative software training, as well as marketing and fundraising workshops. It culminates in a fully funded solo show as part of arebyte Gallery programme for the winning candidate selected by a panel of judges. The other participants get the opportunity to develop an online work based on their exhibition proposal, shown as part of arebyte on Screen programme. This initiative aims to nurture a sense of place in the London art scene which can be notoriously difficult to infiltrate and creates new conversations between London and other UK cities – https://bit.ly/3q0wMEF
Tactical Tech needs a new Development Administrator | They are looking for a committed and engaged person interested in learning and growing while using their professional skills within our Development team. The Development team is responsible for fundraising, grant management, partnership management, monitoring and evaluation as well as organisational communications. This new role of Administrator is being established to improve the efficiency across these functions as they impact the wider organisation. Tactical Tech works on challenges of data-driven technologies – https://bit.ly/3qM4Kf9
Open Call: Research and Development Fellowships | Jan 11, 2022, at 23:59 GMT| Spike Island, Bristol, UK | A 12-month fellowship programme offered by The West of England Visual Arts Alliance (WEVAA) in aim to provide the opportunity to focus on research, gathering insight and input from other artists and communities. We seek visual art projects that have considered how their work contributes to and develops the broader visual arts community in the West of England region. These could be projects in the early stages of development, for which time, space and support is needed in order to progress to a scale that has lasting benefits for other artists and the region – https://bit.ly/3pMe03s
Digital Projects Assistant at Matt’s Gallery London | Deadline Jan 16 2022. Matt’s Gallery is seeking a Digital Projects Assistant to join its team on a fixed-term, part-time basis. Part-Time, 2 days per week (Thursday & Friday) £10,000 p/a, pro-rata to £25,000 Fixed Term, 12 months. Matt’s Gallery is a contemporary non-profit art gallery, established 42 years ago in East London. During its time, Matt’s Gallery has been an independent and influential force in the visual arts sector, both nationally and internationally, championing the careers of artists such as Willie Doherty, Benedict Drew, Jimmie Durham, Susan Hiller, Mike Nelson, Nathaniel Mellors, Lindsay Seers, Tai Shani and Imogen Stidworthy. In March 2022, the gallery will open its new space in Nine Elms, South West London – https://bit.ly/3pK0AVH
Artists Wanted! Submit to SIGGRAPH 2022 Art Gallery | Let your creative juices flow — SIGGRAPH 2022 Art Gallery submissions are open! We want to see your cutting-edge, compelling digital and technologically mediated artworks that include but are not limited to, creative projects that explore the intersection of art and health, push the boundaries of our knowledge, re-examine our bodies and place in the world, advance human abilities, and design today’s (and future) realities. Submit your digital art creations by Tuesday, February 1, 2022, and showcase your artistic innovation! https://bit.ly/3FTj2RA
Image: Installation View of Memeplex featuring Joey Holder, Omsk Social Club, Jack Jubb, Suzanne Treister, Botond Keresztesi and David Cronenberg. Courtsey of Seventeen 2021-22.
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