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Furtherfield Art and Blockchain Resource

At Furtherfield we have worked with decentralised network practices in arts and technology since we published our first webpages in 1996 – before the great centralisation – when the web thought it was already distributed and P2P. We took the spirit of punk and DIY in a more collaborative direction inspired by Free and Open Source Software methods and cultures, to build new platforms and art contexts with a playful Do It With Others (DIWO) ethos. We still connect with artists, techies, activists and thinkers from our base in Finsbury Park in North London, and internationally online. In 2015 Furtherfield launched the Art Data Money programme that sought to develop a commons for the arts in the network age.

DECAL – Decentralised Arts Lab is the outcome.

DECAL exists to mobilise crowdsourced research and development by leading artists, using blockchain and web 3.0 technologies for fairer, more dynamic and connected cultural ecologies and economies now.


Furtherfield Spring Editorial 2018 – Blockchain Imaginaries
2018

Introduction to Furtherfield Spring season of art and blockchain essays, interviews, events, exploration and critique.

Collected writings by Rob Myers
2014 – Present

On blockchain geometries, accelerationist art, crypto and DAWCs, art for algorithms, and (Conceptual) Art, cryptocurrency and beyond.

DAOWO – The blockchain laboratory and debate series for reinventing the arts 
Oct 2017 – Present
A temporary laboratory for the creation of a living blockchain art laboratory devised by Ruth Catlow and Ben Vickers in collaboration with Goethe Institut, London.

New World Order
2017 – 18

Artists envision a world made by machines, markets and natural processes, without states or other human institutions in an international touring exhibition curated by Furtherfield.

Artists Re:thinking the Blockchain 
2017

The first book of its kind, bringing together artistic, speculative, conceptual and technical engagements with blockchains.
Edited by Ruth Catlow, Marc Garrett, Nathan Jones, and Sam Skinner

Jaya Klara Brekke. I SAW THE BLOCKCHAIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD, TURNED AROUND, AND WALKED BACK
Jaya Klara Brekke. I SAW THE BLOCKCHAIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD, TURNED AROUND, AND WALKED BACK

Jaya Klara Brekke: I saw the Blockchain at the End of The World, turned around, and walked back 
2018

Written on the occasion of the New World Order group exhibition for PostScriptUM #31 Series published by Aksioma, edited by Janez Janša

Blockchain Art Commission*
2017

Clickmine by Sarah Friend is a hyperinflationary ERC-20 token that is minted by a clicking game.
A Furtherfield and NEoN Digital Arts Festival Co-commission

Ethereal Summit NY
2018

Commission and exhibition of contemporary artists working with public blockchains as a medium for conceptual and social experimentation. Jurors and curators, Ruth Catlow, Giani Fabricio, Sam Hart, Will King, Saraswathi Subbaraman

The Blockchain: Change Everything Forever
2016

A short film to stimulate cross sector debate around how emerging blockchain technologies change the social contract, directed by Pete Gomes

Role Play Your Way to Budgetary Blockchain Bliss
2016

Ruth Catlow and Ben Vickers brought the LARPing tradition to INC’s MoneyLab. Inviting participants to take on generic roles from the business cycle of start up tech companies trying to make the next big thing with the latest technological innovation.

Blockchain’s Potential in the Arts 
2016

A gathering of organisations, academics and policy makers in arts and culture to explore blockchain’s potential. Convened by Ben Vickers and Ruth Catlow and hosted by the Austrian Cultural Forum, London.

The Human Face of Cryptoeconomies
2015

An exhibition curated by Futherfield to explore how might we produce, exchange and value things differently for a transformed artistic, economic and social future?


Selected Press

http://rhizome.org/editorial/2018/jun/14/island-mentality/

https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/cryptokitty-blockchain/index.html

http://hyperallergic.com/440936/what-blockchain-means-for-contemporary-art/

https://www.artbasel.com/news/artists-as-cryptofinanciers–welcome-to-the-blockchain

https://soundcloud.com/artontheblockchain/episode-17-a-conversation-wruth-catlow-from-furtherfieldorg-sam-hart-of-avantorg


The Human Face of Cryptoeconomies

Exhibition, Furtherfield Gallery, London Oct 2015 – Nov 2015

Émilie Brout and Maxime Marion exhibit ornamental Gold and Glitter created with ‘found’ internet GIFs and Nakamoto (The Proof) – a video documenting the artists’ attempt to produce a fake passport of the mysterious creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. FaceCoin by Rob Myers is an artwork that is also a machine for mining faces as proof of aesthetic work. His Shareable Readymades are iconic 3D printable artworks for an era of digital copying and sharing. The Museum of Contemporary Commodities by Paula Crutchlow and Dr Ian Cook treats everyday purchases as if they were our future heritage and Jennifer Lyn Morone™ Inc reclaims ownership of personal data by turning her entire being into a corporation. The Alternet by Sarah T Gold conceives of a way for us to determine with whom, and on what terms, we share our data and Shu Lea Cheang anticipates a future world where garlic is the new social currency.

Press:
JJ Charlesworth for Art Review Jan-Feb 2016


The Blockchain: Change Everything Forever

Short film, 2016

The underpinning technology of digital currencies and smart contracts, the blockchain is reshaping concepts of value, trust, law and governance. This film sets out to diversify the people involved in its future by bringing together leading thinkers, computer scientists, entrepreneurs, artists and activists who discuss:

A Furtherfield film with Digital Catapult London. Directed by Pete Gomes, concept and research by Ruth Catlow. Featuring interviews with: Dr Anat Elhalal; Ben Vickers; Dr Catherine Mulligan; Elias Haase; Irra Ariella Khi; Jaime Sevilla; Jaya Klara Brekke; Kei Kreutler; Pavlo Tanasyuk; Rob Myers; Sam Davies; and Vinay Gupta


Role Play Your Way to Budgetary Blockchain Bliss

Live Action Role Play, 2016

This 2-day start up tech hackathon compressed into 2 hours was aimed at creating Blockchain based businesses ideas that improve the life and future of cats. The workshop critically emulated the extravagant discourse and excitement surrounding the super-automation and hyperconnectivity that comes with blockchain and similar technologies, and the capacity of the technology stakeholders to both increase and diminish global inequity. Devised by Ben Vickers, Ruth Catlow for Institute of Network Cultures’ MoneyLab.

Report:
http://networkcultures.org/moneylab/2016/12/06/role-play-your-way-to-budgetary-blockchain-bliss/


New World Order

International Touring Exhibition, 2017 – 2018

Jaya Klara Brekke, Max Dovey, Pete Gomes, HandFastr, Rob Myers, Primavera De Filippi of O’Khaos, Terra0, Lina Theodorou and xfx (aka Ami Clarke). Curated by Furtherfield

A self-owning forest with ideas of expansion, a self-replicating android flower, a cryptocurrency rig to mine human breath, a five minute marriage contract, a Hippocratic Oath for software developers; in an exhibition about living with blockchain technologies.

Artists investigate and test the possible consequences of blockchain technologies, and their capacity to embody divergent political ideas. They explore dramatic new conceptions of global governance and economy, that could permanently enrich or demote the role of humans. They portray a world in which responsibility for many aspects of life are transferred, permanently (for better or worse) from natural and social systems into a secure, networked, digital ledger of transactions, and computer-executed contracts.

Produced as part of the State Machines programme*

Press: https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/cryptokitty-blockchain/index.html


Artists Re:thinking the Blockchain

Book published by Torque Editions, 2017

Artists Re:Thinking the Blockchain is the first book of its kind, intersecting artistic, speculative, conceptual and technical engagements with the the technology heralded as “the new internet”. The book features a range of newly commissioned essays, fictions, illustration and art documentation exploring what the blockchain should and could mean for our collective futures.

Artists Re:Thinking The Blockchain
Imagined as a future-artefact of a time before the blockchain changed the world, and a protocol by which a community of thinkers can transform what that future might be, Artists Re:Thinking The Blockchain acts as a gathering and focusing of contemporary ideas surrounding this still largely mythical technology. The full colour printed first edition includes DOCUMENTATION of artistic projects engaged in the blockchain, including key works PlantoidTerra0 and Bittercoin, THEORISATION of key areas in the global blockchain conversation by writers such as Hito SteyerlRachel O’DwyerRob MyersBen Vickers and Holly Herndon, and NEW POETRY, ILLUSTRATION and SPECULATIVE FICTION by Theodorios ChiotisCecilia WeeJuhee Hahm and many more. It is edited by Ruth Catlow, Marc Garrett, Nathan Jones and Sam Skinner.

Along with a print edition, Artists Re:Thinking the Blockchain includes a web-based project in partnership with Design Informatics at University of Edinburgh: Finbook is an interface where readers and bots can trade on the value of chapters included in the book. As such it imagines a new regime for cultural value under blockchain conditions.

This book and surrounding events is produced in collaboration between Torque and Furtherfield, connecting Furtherfield’s Art Data Money project with Torque’s experimental publishing programme. It is supported by an Arts Council England Grants for the Arts, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology and through the State Machines project by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Buy Artists Re:thinking the Blockchain

Format: Paperback
ISBN number: 978-0-9932487-5-7
Torque and Furtherfield, London, 2017
Distributor: Liverpool University Press

Press:
http://we-make-money-not-art.com/artists-rethinking-the-blockchain/
https://hyperallergic.com/440936/what-blockchain-means-for-contemporary-art/
http://networkcultures.org/moneylab/2018/01/26/artists-rethinking-the-blockchain/


DAOWO

The blockchain laboratory and debate series for reinventing the arts, 2017 – Present

This series brings together artists, musicians, technologists, engineers, and theorists to join forces in the interrogation and production of new blockchain technologies. The focus is to understand how blockchains might be used to enable a critical, sustainable and empowered culture, that transcends the emerging hazards and limitations of pure market speculation of cryptoeconomics.

Devised by Ruth Catlow and Ben Vickers in collaboration with Goethe Institut, London.
Contributors include Ramon Amaro, Jaya Klara Brekke, Ed Fornieles, Jess Houlgrave, Janez Jansa, Helen Kaplinsky, Thor Karlsson, Kei Kreutler, Sarah Meiklejohn, Julian Oliver, Emily Rosamond, Hito Steyerl, Mark Waugh, Laura Willis.

Visit the DAOWO website to view video and pdf resources

Produced as part of the State Machines programme*

Press:
http://rhizome.org/editorial/2018/jan/03/reinventing-the-art-lab-on-the-blockchain/
http://rhizome.org/editorial/2018/jun/14/island-mentality/


*State Machines: Art, Work and Identity in an Age of Planetary-Scale Computation

Focusing on how such technologies impact identity and citizenship, digital labour and finance, the project joins five experienced partners Aksioma (SI), Drugo More (HR), Furtherfield (UK), Institute of Network Cultures (NL) and NeMe (CY) together with a range of artists, curators, theorists and audiences. State Machines insists on the need for new forms of expression and new artistic practices to address the most urgent questions of our time, and seeks to educate and empower the digital subjects of today to become active, engaged, and effective digital citizens of tomorrow.

This project has been funded with the support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

BLOCKCHAIN ART COMMISSION

Call for Proposals from Furtherfield and NEoN Digital Arts Festival
For exhibition 9th November 2017
Fee and production costs £2500

While archaeology has often understood cultures through excavations of hoards and coins, what will today’s digital currencies tell future archaeologists about the way we live and trade?

This co-commission with NEoN Digital Arts Festival forms part of Furtherfield’s ongoing investigations into the politics of the blockchain, smart contracts, and cryptocurrency systems like Ethereum. It invites artists to imagine themselves as future media archaeologists, as recorders of our current information-based society, and as time-travelers highlighting the continued relevance of our long past. Will you dig for the digital, brush the dirt off the non-material, or excavate the internet?

In an era that threatens to be a digital dark age for future historians [1], blockchains may prove to be rare digital artefacts valuable enough to preserve into the future. There are already dozens of dead chains from abandoned cryptocurrencies [2], but with billions of dollars of value tied up in Bitcoin, Ethereum and other leading coins, the incentives to maintain their public ledgers are strong. Culture and knowledge have already been hidden in the blockchain – from images of Nelson Mandela to WikiLeaks cables [3] – but it is the blockchain as a record of our economic activity that concerns us here. This already has its history; on these public digital ledgers we can find everything from the ten thousand Bitcoins that were used to buy two pizzas [4] to the fifty million dollars of Ether that were stolen [5] in a hack on code running on the Ethereum blockchain. We just don’t have the best tools to visualise them yet.

We invite proposals for a new artistic online commission that takes the blockchain as the site of its manifestation. For example, artworks that are:

Whatever it is, it should work as a future media archeological artefact of blockchain finance and it has to be exhibitable online.

Background

Hailed as both emancipatory opportunity for creative autonomy, and a driver of inequality and corporate opacity, the blockchain [10] is widely described as the Internet of Money. The blockchain is overtaking the WWW as the next big network technology for speculation and disruption. Investors recognise its potential in numerous ways: for high level authentication of identity [11] and matter [12]; for more efficient and secure financial transactions and distribution of digital assets; for communications so secure as to facilitate voting; and as a coordinating technology for the billions of devices connected to the Internet [13]

50 years ago this year, the world’s first ATM was designed, built and shipped from Dundee and installed in Enfield, less than 10 miles from Furtherfield. With this commission Furtherfield and NEoN recognise the role that the city of Dundee has played in the history of the development of smart technologies for financial transactions, through it being home to the R&D wing of The National Cash Register Corporation – NCR. [14]

NEoN Digital Arts Festival 2017 will expand on it being Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, and seek to use its arts programme to unveil hidden histories through the practice of ‘media archaeology’. Media archaeologists uncover and reconsider the obsolete, persistent, and hidden material cultures of the technological age – from big data software algorithms to tiny silicon chips. With support from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund, and Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, NEoN and Furtherfield invite artists to consider how the blockchain is the new ATM of the future.

The commission will be launched online and at NEoN Digital Arts Festival, and presented at the Digital Futures programme at V&A Museum and MoneyLab both in London in Spring 2018 as part of the European collaboration, State Machines which investigates the new relationships between states, citizens and the stateless made possible by emerging technologies.

Schedule

Open Call announced 11th August
Deadline 4th September
6-9 September – follow up conversations where necessary (by email/phone)
13th September – decision made, artists informed and announced
19th September – public debate about cryptocurrencies in Dundee (organised by Scotcoin https://www.meetup.com/scotland-and-digital-currency/events/242087813/)
9th October – selected artist give progress report
9th November – Work installed for opening of NEoN Festival, Dundee. Artist presents work
Spring 2018 – Work re-presented with MoneyLab and V&A Digital Futures
(Note an additional £500 is available for accommodation and expenses for attendance at events in Dundee and London)

Submission Requirements

Submissions must include a proposal:

Proposal

Documents should be submitted as PDFs or as links to a Google Doc, a GitHub Repo, or another easily read and easily accessed format.

If you have questions or enquiries about this commission please email alison.furtherfield[AT]Gmail.com

Submissions via Blockchain

Notice of submissions via the Bitcoin blockchain should be sent via an OP_RETURN message starting with the word FField followed by a single space and the url of the proposal. E.g.:

FField https://docs.google.com/document/d/2oGsmli7Mlm-M_CZkL8WTKM3oUU3a

OP_RETURN messages can be created using the Crypto Grafitti service:

http://www.cryptograffiti.info/

Submissions via Keybase

Notice of submissions via Keybase messaging, or submissions of documents via KeybaseFS should be sent to:

https://keybase.io/ruthcatlow

(Note: Keybase does require registration but is free to join.)

Submissions via Email

Notice of submissions, or submissions of documents via email can be sent to ruth.catlow[AT]furtherfield.org

Please use the subject line “Furtherfield NEoN Proposal”.

Partners

Furtherfield
Through artworks, labs and debate around arts and technology, people from all walks of life explore today’s important questions. The urban green space of London’s Finsbury Park, where Furtherfield’s Gallery and Lab are located, is now a platform for fieldwork in human and machine imagination – addressing the value of public realm in our fast-changing, globally connected and uniquely superdiverse context. An international network of associates use artistic methods to interrogate emerging technologies to extend access and grasp their wider potential. In this way new cultural, social and economic value is developed in partnership with arts, research, business and public sectors.

NEoN
NEoN (North East of North) based in Dundee, Scotland aims to advance the understanding and accessibility of digital and technology driven art forms and to encourage high quality within the production of this medium. NEoN has organised 7 annual festivals to date including exhibitions, workshops, talks, conferences, live performances and public discussions. It is a platform to showcase national and international digital art forms. By bringing together emerging talent and well-established artists, NEoN aims to influence and reshape the genre. We are committed to helping our fabulous city of Dundee, well known for its digital culture and innovation, to become better connected through experiencing great art, networking and celebrating what our wee corner of Scotland has to offer in the field of digital arts.

State Machines: Art, Work and Identity in an Age of Planetary-Scale Computation
Focusing on how such technologies impact identity and citizenship, digital labour and finance, the project joins five experienced partners Aksioma (SI), Drugo More (HR),  Furtherfield (UK),Institute of Network Cultures (NL) and NeMe (CY) together with a range of artists, curators, theorists and audiences. State Machines insists on the need for new forms of expression and new artistic practices to address the most urgent questions of our time, and seeks to educate and empower the digital subjects of today to become active, engaged, and effective digital citizens of tomorrow.

V&A Digital Futures: Digital Futures
V&A Digital Futures: Digital Futures is a monthly meetup and open platform for displaying and discussing of work by professionals working with art, technology, design, science and beyond.  It is also a networking event, bringing together people from different backgrounds and disciplines with a view to generating future collaborations.

Creative Scotland
Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. It enables people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. It distributes funding from the Scottish Government and The National Lottery.

This project has been funded with the support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.