Artists Re:Thinking the Blockchain

Help fund this landmark publication and discourse programme, augmenting the arrival of the blockchain into the arts.

We did it!

On 8th Aug 2016 we successfully raised £560 of £500 target with 28 supporters in 21 days

New stretch target

If we raise more money than we need, we will print more copies, and include even more colour illustrations.  If we reach the stretch target we will increase the number of pages and contributions in the book.

SUMMARY

The Blockchain is the technology that underlies the first ever international currency 'Bitcoin', launched in 2007.  Now the Blockchain itself is frequently associated with impending transformations in governance, cultural dissemination and democracy.

"It's going to change everything!" (The Guardian)

Among other things, we are suspicious of cultural production being brought under the same regime as finance. 

This book is an important and urgent gathering of artists, publics and ideals around what the blockchain could, and should, mean for us all. We seek also to register and amplify the leakages, weirdness and side-effects that this new technology inaugurates.

 Alongside an illustrated print edition, the project includes a range of public-participation and debating sessions in towns and cities up and down the UK, and the first-ever book launch taking place on the blockchain itself.

Including Sci-Fi / Theory / Poetry / Illustration / Diagrams / Recipes / Code works / Artist Pages 

YOUR SUPPORT WILL FUND

  • A fully illustrated Artists Re:Thinking the Blockchain book as print and free download, including: 
    • illustrated poetry, sci-fi and speculative texts 
    • examples and discussion on current art works exploring blockchain
    • writing from leading figures in the blockchain theory and implementation
    • exercises to guide your first steps into this new technology.
  • A diverse public DISCOURSE programme taking place in London, at Furtherfield gallery, and in a shopping arcade in St Helens with Heart of Glass.  
  • IRL launch EVENTS in London, St Helens and Liverpool, and a custom made stand for 20 UK book shops.
  • The FIRST EVER blockchain-based book launch, and the code for doing this made available to the open source community.*

[* ascribe.io [@ascribeIO] are a great project who allow for unbreakable digital attribution via the blockchain. Our attempt to publish via the blockchain, will differ in that it will take the form of an actual artifact or protocol present on the blockchain itself.]

YOU WILL GET

Besides serious karma, your faith in this project will be rewarded with: advance copies of the print edition // an email digital copy // original screen prints // very limited edition dust jacket-poster // copies of other books from Torque's archive // your name in the book itself.

STATEMENT from EDITORS at Torque and Furtherfield

THE BLOCKCHAIN is widely heralded as the new internet - another dimension in the ever-faster ever-more-powerful interlocking of ideas, actions and values.   [1]

It’s nothing more than a ledger distributed across a large array of machines. An apparatus that enables digital ownership and exchange without a central administering body. But from these simple premises, it has been credited with the potential to transform everything, from trade, to cultural production, to the way we’re governed.

But even as we write, this “new dawn” for transactions is being re-imagined as the next sleep-cycle taking us deeper into the neoliberal dream of complete financialisation.  In this dream, Finance and Technology quicken their demented mining of value tokens from phenomena, while the grammars of culture, family, nature, politics and spacetime itself evaporate into a flurry of question and exclamation marks in their wake.

The permanence and irrevocable automation of blockchain systems wedded to the irrationality and sweep of techno-financial hybrids has led to forecasts ranging from 'fully automated luxury communism', to our ultimate cryptological enslavement to machines, or the collapse of time itself, as the feature of algorithms to make-happen overtakes the temporal concerns of flesh and earth.

This book is not a site for a ludic cynicism or uncritical valorisation, though it celebrates the energies of these excessive forms of thinking.  We welcome the potentials for ever more nuanced democratic apparatus, and the decentralization of power from state-corporation cabals, while rejecting the notion that any single technology would automatically enact these ideological transformations. We seek also to register and amplify the leakages, weirdness and side-effects that this new technology inaugurates.

WE HAVE ALREADY launched an open call for  

  •      book-based artworks which reflect on blockchain themes
  •      science fictions and theorisations, particularly in their hybrid form
  •      proposals for documentation of online and IRL artworks
  •      poems, particularly based on the ‘new book’ and formal constraint txtblock [2]

WE HAVE ALREADY confirmed works by leading thinkers and artists such as Jaromil, Ben Vickers, Rachel O'Dwyer, Rob Myers and Lars Holdus (TCF).   

WE HAVE ALREADY confirmed £5000 of funding from Creative Exchange, and prepared an Arts Council application.  

WE HAVE ALREADY arranged for venues in London and the North West to host our discourse programme.

WE JUST NEED YOUR HELP to push the project over the line.  Your support will add quality to the print edition, and help us convince the Arts Council that this is an important project to support.

THE TEAM

Artists Re:Thinking the Blockchain is a collaboration between Torque and Furtherfield, connecting Furtherfield's Art Data Money project with Torque's experimental publishing programme.

The book will be elegantly designed by Mark Simmonds, who has done the last two Torque publications.http://www.marksimmonds.info/ 

TORQUE is an innovative publisher founded by artist-researchers Nathan Jones and Sam Skinner in 2013.  We value the opportunity to develop our research in close contact with communities of readers, and the wider public whose lives are so integrally connected to the art and ideas we provide a platform for.  In particular, Torque focuses on issues of mind, language and technology, where these phenomena meet, intertwine and co-constitute.  Our latest book The Act of Reading considered this shared habit from the perspectives of neuroscience, politics, poetics, linguistics and book works and much more.  Artists Re:Thinking the Blockchain also continues our innovative approach to including the results of participatory conversations in our books, acting as a record of opinions, hopes and fears around particular moments, and an instigation for our communities of readers.

FURTHERFIELD was founded by artists Ruth Catlow and Marc Garrett in 1996 and is been sustained by the work of its community; specialist and amateur artists, activists, thinkers, and technologists, who, together cultivate open, critical contexts for making and thinking. Furtherfield is now a dynamic, creative and social nerve centre where upwards of 26,000 contributors worldwide have built a visionary culture around co-creation – swapping and sharing code, music, images, video and ideas.  This book follows on from Furtherfield's lauded Art Data Money programme, and is the next in the series from Artists Re:Thinking Games, which sold out shortly after its release in 2010.

torquetorque.net || furtherfield.org

https://www.facebook.com/torquebooks

@furtherfield

#artblockbook

Contact mail@torquetorque.net

NOTES / FURTHER READING:

[1] Some of the contributors confirmed for the book so far, have existing texts and media available online which outline the potentials and concepts raised by the Blockchain.  In particular, we recommend:

Jaromil “the Promise of the Blockchain” https://vimeo.com/161759320

Rob Myers “Crypto 2.0 and DAWCS”  http://furtherfield.org/features/articles/crypto-20-and-dawcs

Rachel O’Dwyer http://commonstransition.org/the-revolution-will-not-be-decentralised-blockchains/

We also heartily recommend Vinay Gupta’s summary

Here https://vimeo.com/161183966

And here https://medium.com/@ConsenSys/programmable-blockchains-in-context-ethereum-s-future-cd8451eb421e#.5r2pzxmze

[2] Txtblock is a formal constraint for publishing on the Blockchain, proposed in a whitepaper published on Rhizome in November 2015.

“The Block is the Successor to the Book: A publishing proposal”

BY RASMUS SVENSSON & HANNA NILSSON

https://rhizome.org/editorial/2015/nov/17/the-block-is-the-successor-to-the-book-a-publishing-proposal/


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