Dear fellow discourse lovers,
Greetings from the Salon team, currently dispersed across several locations. Eliot wrote that April was the cruellest month, perhaps he was anticipating the indifferent levels of wi-fi connectivity across Europe. But far from being cruel, the Salon’s April has been a very welcoming one. To wit:
New 0x Salon Team Members: Katharine Tyndall & Steven Warwick
This month we offer a warm Salon salute to our newest team members. Katharine Tyndall is a researcher, artist, and writer who has already contributed a great deal to the Salon’s outputs. Katharine’s work is diverse and covers a range of subjects including speculative imaginaries, ecologies - particularly climate change and soil studies. Her much beloved Xanthropocene meme account is logging off for good this month, so catch it while you can.
Steven Warwick is a creative force whose work ranges across genres and media. Many will know Steven’s musical work, not least his latest release MOI which is an ambitious but highly personal collection of tracks. Steven’s exhibition at Klosterruine, ‘Winter Shift’, continues to run and was recently touted as a ‘must see’ show by Artforum.
Both of our new team members will be contributing to our collaborative drama, and working on independent projects.
Recent Salon ‘DAOcolonisation’ - co-hosted by Alice Yuan Zhang
On 4 April we held the first IRL salon of the year at Trust…and here’s hoping it' will be one of many to come as COVID restrictions begin to wane in Berlin. This edition of the Salon was co-presented by our resident, Alice Yuan Zhang.
The ‘DAOcolonisation’ Salon touched on the ever-expanding world of Distributed Autonomous Organisations, a central feature of the emerging Web3 landscape. The question of the gap between the rhetoric of DAO logic - promising transparency, interoperability, and community ownership - and the reality of DAO-nomics provided a major subject of discussion, not least as DAO finances grow - presently seeing valuations of over $8 billion in aggregate.
The Salon questioned if DAOs, as currently manifested, truly provide the kind of liberated financial landscape they promise. For example, the fidelity to the blockchain that so many DAO advocates profess is among the most complicated aspects of the DAO's liberatory potential. Could ‘off-chain’ models such as DisCOs or even the original lo-fi ‘co-op’ approach work better? The tension between engineering expertise in production and democracy of use continues to be a vexed topic for DAO true believers.
Power asymmetries, ever the bugbear of techno-optimist solutions, also featured in the discussion. The colonial heritage of information systems, and the imperatives this historical weight often brings to bear on what is ‘imaginable’ for the digital future made several Salonniers uncomfortable, and, as Web3 becomes more and more a part of the quotidian lexicon, the urgency of these queries will only continue to grow.
We’ll be preparing an audio report on the Salon soon. Also, get ready, an IRL edition of the ‘Price of Anarchy’ salon topic is coming up next. Get involved in the discussions in our Discord server: if you’re not already in there with us, drop us a line for an invite.
Anna Engelhardt’s ‘Death Under Computation’ Discord event series
This month also saw Salon resident Anna Engelhardt commencing the ‘Death Under Computation’ event series in our Discord server. To discuss the grim synergy of cyberwar and nuclear war, Anna was joined by the philosopher Svitlana Matviyenko whose work centres on the suddenly-recrudescent threat posed by the archetypal site of European nuclear disaster, Chernobyl Power Plant in Ukraine. Recent attacks on nuclear plants by Russia at Zaporizhzhia work many people up to the dangers nuclear power presents, particularly in a global security environment characterised increasingly by the kind of nineteenth century ‘balance of power’ conflicts that brought the world such classic calamities as World Wars 1 and 2.
‘The Art of Indifference Project’ for S+T+ARTS Repairing The Present
The Salon’s (semi)famous S+T+ARTS project is developing apace. We’re continuing work on the play with our new fellows, and Wassim is spending some time in Copenhagen with the team at Art Hub as we push forwards with various facets of the project: not least a multi-player game based on the Indifference Engine storyline, and a theatrical production in the shadow of Hamlet’s castle this summer. If you’re in the area in May, Wassim is giving a lecture on the philosophical and creative underpinnings of the project on Thursday 12th. More info & tickets here.
That’s it for April, but things are picking up as spring gets sprung from its cage. Stay tuned here for news about other exciting projects, including our new 0x Salon Revue, coming soon to a feed (and bookshelf) near you.
What is the 0x Salon? At the Salon we are working tirelessly to unlearn any possible answer to this question. New beginnings are our end, and openness is our means. The Salon is a meeting point for methodologies, a site for distinct disciplines and epistemologies to connect, however casually, for conversation among friends.
Discursive knowledge sharing and production is a key aim for salonniers and organisers. One could think of it as an epistemological skunkworks where nothing is forbidden and nothing is required beyond a spirit of enquiry. Since 2020, the 0x Salon has been meeting at Berlin’s storied Trust workspace, itself a haven for artists, designers, and technologists striving to move in new directions beyond their disciplines. Trust provides the backdrop for the broad and encompassing discussions that the Salon fosters. As the Salon seeks to provide a minimally prescribed forum for intellectuals from various disciplines to think freely without formality and the often siloed approach of academia, we employ Chatham House Rules for every salon, ensuring anonymity to all involved so that participants can have the confidence to question all answers (and even all questions) without fear or favour. More about the 0x Salon.