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
Join the discussion on Discord and share your questions with the speakers.
The Radical Friends Symposium discusses the value of and presents pathways to peer-produced decentralised digital infrastructures for art, culture and society – in particular through Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs) for the cultural sector. The symposium takes as its inspiration the defining principles of friendship – sustained intimacy, fellowship and camaraderie – which, when applied to complex difficulties (particularly those that might otherwise be invisible to us), offers excellent design patterns for social infrastructure. To end gatekeeping and elitism in the artworld we therefore bring this spirit of deep and radical friendship as a way to build resilient and mutable systems for scale-free interdependence and mutual aid.
DAOs provide new digital governance infrastructures that allow people to pool resources, exchange economic value, and form joint-ventures, that defy national borders. DAOs enable people to agree on how risks and rewards should be distributed and to reap the benefits (or otherwise) of a shared activity now and in the future.
At a time when the mainstream artworld is focused on the personal wealth that can be amassed through NFTs, artworld DAOs offer the potential to diversify collaboration and to lower the cost of translocal self-organising, leading to new visions, vehicles and configurations for communally grounded projects. The open source artworld DAOs we do (and don’t) build now will have direct consequences for who owns the future and decides what this means for others.
So gather up your radical friends and grab your tickets for an expansive 8-hour program that includes: lectures; panel discussions; concerts; as well as hybrid talk and body-work formats. Throughout the event, participants are invited to analyse, discuss, and map the obstacles, opportunities, and implications of progressive, decentralised organisations and automation in the artworld. Plus, watch out for 4 prototype DAOs that will be unveiled during proceedings and take part in collectively awarding a 10,000 EURO development grant funded by the Goethe-Institut to 1 of them.
The Radical Friends Symposium is curated by Ruth Catlow (Furtherfield) and Penny Rafferty in dialogue with Sarah Johanna Theurer and Julia Pfeiffer (Haus Der Kunst, Munich). Participants include James Whipple (aka / M.E.S.H.), OMSK Social Club, Jaya Klara Brekke, Harm Van Den Dorpel, Cem Dagdelen, Aude Launay, Sarah Friend, Laura Lotti and Calum Bowden (Black Swan), Bhavisha Panchia and Carly Whitaker (Covalence Studios), Nicolay Spesivtsev and Dzina Zhuk (eeefff) and Massimiliano Mollona alongside Samson Young (Ensembl).
Radical Friends presents results from the DAOWO (Decentralised Autonomous Organisations with Others) project, co-founded by the Goethe-Institut London and Furtherfield with the support of Serpentine Galleries. The award-winning DAOWO is a transnational collaborative network that has been bringing together leading international institutions and communities from the arts and technology for three years to question the advantages and disadvantages of blockchain technologies for art, culture and society from a local perspective. The summit is part of the Goethe-Institut project “Lockdown Lessons”. It searches for answers on what can be learned from the Covid-19 crisis on a global scale concerning social, technological, postcolonial and civil society concerns.
Join us in Edinburgh at the first DAOWO ‘Blockchain & Art Knowledge Sharing Summit’ of 2019
DAOWO (Distributed Autonomous Organisations With Others) Summit UK facilitates cross-sector engagement with leading researchers and key artworld actors to discuss the current state of play and opportunities available for working with blockchain technologies in the arts. Whilst bitcoin continues to be the overarching manifestation of blockchain technology in the public eye, artists and designers have been using the technology to explore new representations of social and cultural economies, and to redesign the art world as we see it today.
This summit will focus on potential impacts, technical affordances and opportunities for developing new blockchain technologies for fairer, more dynamic and connected cultural ecologies and economies.
Although the term ‘blockchain’ has trickled downstream into the public domain, the principles behind the technology remain mysterious to many. Embodied within physical assemblages or social interventions that mine, hash and seal the evidence of human practices, creatives have provided important ‘coordinates’ in the form of artworks that help us to unpick the implications of the technology and the extent to which it re-configures power structures.
Hosted by Prof Chris Speed and Mark Daniels with panellists:
Pip Thornton – The Value of Words in an Age of Linguistic Capitalism
Bettina Nissen & Ailie Rutherford – Designing feminist cryptocurrency for Govanhill
Evan Morgan – GeoPact
Jonathan Rankin – OxChain, Pizza Block
Larissa Pschetz – Karma Kettles
Ruth Catlow, Furtherfield and DECAL
Mark Daniels, New Media Scotland
Clive Gillman, Creative Scotland
Marianne Magnin, Arteïa
Prof Chris Speed, Design Informatics, University of Edinburgh
Ben Vickers, Serpentine Galleries
Through two UK summits, the DAOWO programme is forging a transnational network of arts and blockchain cooperation between cross-sector stakeholders, ensuring new ecologies for the arts can emerge and thrive.
DAOWO Summit UK is a DECAL initiative – co-produced by Furtherfield and Serpentine Galleries in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut London. This event is realised in partnership with the Department of Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh and New Media Scotland.
OxChain is a major EPSRC research project which explores how Blockchain technologies can be used to reshape value in the context of international development and the work of Oxfam, involving the Universities of Edinburgh, Northumbria and Lancaster.