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.