A mysterious and controversial technology is among us

Video report by Moja Rijeka web portal

The blockchain underpins digital currencies and makes possible dramatic new conceptions of global governance and economy that could permanently enrich or demote the role of humans – depending on who you talk to.

Since there is still not a lot of discussions about this new revolutionary technology, we decided to dedicate a few mid-February days to this topic through a series of talks and lectures, and an international group exhibition.

The aims of the two-day symposium are to broaden the insights on the blockchain technology and its use outside of the sphere of the cryptocurrencies. The event will gather people who will share their experiences with the implementation of blockchain technology into different projects, e.g. projects in the area of sustainable development, humanitarian work, social and financial assistance to disempowered and poor, and new ways of financing cultural and artistic production. The introductory presentation on blockchain technology will be held by an IT journalist, a free software expert and one of the leading domestic computer technicians – Radoslav Dejanović.
 
A member of editorial team Ruth Catlow (Furtherfield, London) will present a book entitled Artists Re:Thinking the Blockchain, which gives insight into the artistic, speculative, conceptual and technical aspects on the topic.
 
Paul Kolling, Jaya Klara Brekke and Max Dovey, artists whose works are part of the New Worls Order exhibition opening in Filodrammatica gallery, will participate in discussions on social and artistic implications of blockchain.
 
Group exhibition New World Order gives a look at blockchain technology from an artistic perspective. The exhibition was produced by the London based art organisation Furtherfield, and arrives in Rijeka as part of the European projects State Machines and Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture. We will have the opportunity to see artworks by Jaya Klara Brekke, Elias Haase, Pete Gomes, Rob Myers, Max DoveyO’Khaos, Paul Seidler, Paul Kolling, Max Hampshire, Lina Theodorou, Corina Angheloiu, James Stewart and xfx (a.k.a. Ami Clarke).
 
The exhibition at the Filodrammatica gallery opens on Thursday, 15 February at 20.00 and stays open until 9 March. Admission is free, more information on the exhibition can be read HERE.
 
Transponder – local legends of the electronic music scene, who are marking Rijeka’s underground since mid 90-s, are in charge of the musical program and fun. Do not expect any ripped DJ sets, but live performances from wicked machines accompanied by atmospheric video visuals.

 

 

PROGRAM

Thursday, 15/2/2018

>> 17:00 – Radoslav Dejanović: Blockchain Basics
lecture (in Croatian), Filodrammatica (large hall)

Photo: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr Gallery)

Simply put, the blockchain is a network communication protocol based on a distributed database that stores records on different connected computers simultaneously. These are collected in blocks and cryptographically secured. Functionally, a blockchain serves as an open, distributed ledger that can permanently record and verify transactions between two parties.

First conceptualized in 2008 and implemented as a core component of the digital currency Bitcoin, blockchains are now being applied to many different fields, including finance, insurance, communications and healthcare. For promoters its promise lies in the removal of third party mediators, from internet providers to banks. It’s no surprise therefore that, like the Web in the Nineties, the blockchain elicits a passionate debate and new utopian visions for the future of communication technologies.

Introductory presentation will be held by Radoslav Dejanović, one of the leading Croatian computer technicians and free software experts, IT journalist, former IT consultant in the City of Zagreb administration, and the owner of the company Operacijski sustavi. He is one of the top 25 IT consultants in Croatia, according to the choice of users of these services. He’s the author of the SF novel Imagined Intelligence (Umišljena inteligencija) and a regular columnist of the Monitor.hr portal.

 

>> 19:00 – Ruth Catlow: Artists Re:thinking the Blockchain
book presentation, Filodrammatica (large hall)

Photo: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr Gallery)

The blockchain is widely heralded as the new internet – another dimension in an ever-faster, ever-more-powerful interlocking of ideas, actions and values. Principally the blockchain is a ledger distributed across a large array of machines that enables digital ownership and exchange without a central administering body. Within the arts it has profound implications as both a means of organising and distributing material, and as a new subject and medium for artistic exploration. Artists Re:thinking the Blockchain is a landmark publication that brings together a diverse array of artists and researchers engaged with the blockchain, unpacking, critiquing and marking the arrival of it on the cultural landscape for a broad readership across the arts and humanities

Edited by Ruth Catlow, Marc Garrett, Nathan Jones and Sam Skinner.

The book will be presented by Ruth Catlow, an artist, writer and curator working with emancipatory network cultures, practices and poetics. She is the co-founder, co-director of Furtherfield. More
 

>> 20:00 – New World Order exhibition opening
Filodrammatica Gallery (stays on view until 9 March)

Featuring experimental artworks by artists Jaya Klara Brekke, Pete Gomes, Rob Myers, O’Khaos, Paul Seidler, Paul Kolling, Max Hampshire, Lina Theodorou and xfx (a.k.a. Ami Clarke), New World Order imagines a world in which responsibility for many aspects of life (reproduction, decision-making, organisation, nurture, stewardship) have been mechanised and automated, deferred to the blockchain, transferred, once and for all, from natural and social systems into a secure, networked, digital ledger of transactions and computer-executed contracts.

Artworks featured in New World Order include a self-owning, self-exploiting forest with ideas of expansion (Terra0); a self-replicating android flower in the form of a metal sculpture that, in return for Bitcoins, commissions an artist to create a new artwork (Plantoid); an illustrated sci-fi novella dealing with the implications of a new wave of fully financialised planetary-scale automation (Bad Shibe); and a film collecting different takes on blockchain technologies by leading thinkers, computer scientists, entrepreneurs, artists and activists (The Blockchain – Change Everything Forever), among other things.

The exhibition is part of a large-scale programme of publications, workshops and talks that brings together leading international artists and writers from across the globe. Curated by Furtherfield and launched at Furtherfield Gallery in London’s Finsbury Park in May 2017, it arrives to Rijeka as part of the European project State Machines, after it was presented at Aksioma Project Space in Ljubljana.

Find out more about exhibited artworks and their authors HERE.

 
Friday, 16/2/2018

>> 10:30 – 14:00 – Decentralised Autonomous Organisations on the Blockchain, workshop
Filodrammatica (large hall), lead by: Ruth Catlow & Max Dovey

 
The workshop is part of DAOWO (Decentralised Autonomous Organisation With Others) workshop series, organized by Furtherfield in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut London and Drugo more, Rijeka, bringing together artists, musicians, technologists, engineers, and theorists to join forces in the interrogation and production of new blockchain technologies.

The focus will be 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. We will try to create a new experimental initiative based on blockchain, and devise new forms of organisation which can contribute to the transformation of cultural production, distribution and consumption.

Number of participants is limited. You can apply for the workshop by e-mail to dubi<at>drugo-more.hr, until 12 February.

 

>> Talks on Blockchain
Filodrammatica (large hall)

 

  • 17:00 – 18:30 – Panel I: Social implications of blockchain
    >> moderated by: Marina Petrović; with: Radoslav Dejanović

Photo: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr Gallery)

Blockchain can be seen as a technology that enables confidence building in a decentralized system without central authority. This view stirs optimism in people who for various reasons lost confidence in central authorities such as the State, international organizations and corporations. However, despite numerous proposals for the use of blockchain in the field of social services, such as creating real-estate registers or providing humanitarian aid through blockchain, so far we haven’t found any widespread implementation of blockchain technology outside the world of financial services. That, of course, does not mean that it won’t happen in the future. The subject of our discussion are the possibilities of decentralization of the traditionally centralized systems and the social implications of such transfer.

 

  • 19:00 – 20:30 – Panel II: Art & blockchain
    >>moderated by: Ruth Catlow; with: Paul Kolling, Jaya Klara Brekke, Max Dowey

Photo: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr Gallery)

As a new technology, blockchain became interesting to artists who started to create their artworks using blockchain. Some of them use blockchain as a tool of decentralisation of artistic work, while others create autonomous systems whose decisions are based on a series of instructions that shape the procedure for dealing with the demands of the environment. The artistic vision thus creates a horizon of possible uses of blockchain in areas that would otherwise be left unexplored, if we would had followed the logic of technology and economics. Discussion participants are the artists who have already implemented blockchain in their projects, whose experience and imagination will help us develop unexpected expectations of this new technology.

 

>> 21:00 – Transponder Party — featuring: AREXX (live), BLCNY (live) & BEXX (live)
Youth cultural centre Palach (Kružna 8)

Photo: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr Gallery)

Almost three years have passed since the last Transponder Party in Palach, which means it’s high time for a new one! Pay close attention to this important note: Do not expect the DJ playing his set from Youtube. Get ready for a couple of hours of live electronic music bursting out of synthesizers, drum machines, guitars and who knows what else! Featuring legendary electro warriors AREXX (live), BLCNY (live) & BEXX (live), accompanied by atmospheric video projections! Made in Rijeka!

Let’s have a listen:

Transponder records is a music label for promotion of electronic music which, by cherishing the electronic music history, supports the research of musical variations and trends originating in contemporary electronic music.

The aim of Transponder Records is to give (not only Rijeka based) musicians and producers of electronic music  a place for presenting their work, allowing them to keep their own sound and music recognisability. These techno/electro/IDM fighters wish to create a nucleus of local electronic music that can serve in honor of Rijeka, presenting it as an inevitable point on the music scene.

 

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