As you may be aware, we received some good news earlier this year: the very first arts funding application that the 0x Salon made was successful! We are (jointly with janitor-at-large Wassim) undertaking a Repairing The Present Fellowship awarded by S+T+ARTS which is made possible by the European Commission and Ars Electronica. As part of the Fellowship, Wassim and the 0x Salon are also artists-in-residence at Art Hub Copenhagen in Denmark for spring and summer. We’re extremely thankful to all parties involved for this wonderful opportunity.
To give an impression of what’s to come, here are some initial details about the project and outputs we are working towards. A team of 0x Salon Residents and Fellows has been assembled from our incredible community, and you can read more about us over at the Salon’s Team webpage.
Under the banner of ‘The Art of Indifference’ (which is a reference to 0x005 The Indifference Engine), we will collaboratively interrogate the implications and externalities of proof-of-work based networks such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, probing the tensions they create between capital and ecology in our current scarcity-based global economic regime. We will conduct a multi-modal programme of artistic and pedagogical experiments in 2022, working towards two main families of outputs: participatory games and performed works.
Part 1: ‘The Immaculate Misconception’: an interactive storytelling environment inspired by pre-internet gamebooks, wherein participants make a series of policy decisions over time as Bitcoin proliferates and global sea levels rise. Participants can adopt various strategies: accelerate the quest for limitless energy, attempt to exile Bitcoin off-planet, conduct an insurrection, or acquiesce to our new machine god. We will explore a variety of ludic realisations: web-based production, card decks, board games, LARPs, and site-specific installations.
Part 2: ‘The Black Hole of Money’: a fictional, performative literary work that satirises Bitcoin’s ecocidal growth. Set in 2040, it follows human and AI characters living together in an uneasy truce on our Hothouse Earth. The centre of attention (and ‘star’ character) is, (un)naturally, Bitcoin, a literal black hole (of gravity), as well as a metaphorical one (of money). As a consequence of (quasi)rational self-interest, not all characters want to acknowledge Bitcoin’s impact on its surroundings, thus making changing Bitcoin as Herculean a task as changing a black hole. We will explore audiovisual, sonic, written, and performed forms of realisation.
While we work on an updated version of our proof-of-work presentation and Wassim continues work on a book on the same topic, here’s a keynote video lecture from December’20 which provides some additional background. We’d also recommend Wassim’s recent articles Bitcointingency for Weird Economies and Reminiscences of a Clock Operator for Nascent.
Much more to come very soon, if you’d like to connect with us to talk collaborations, invitations, support please do! the0xsalon [at] gmail [dot] com