The Blockchain philosophy provides a utopian vision of what exchanges of value can mean and how they might be radically different from our current systems.
This weekend, I participated in the bitfwd and Blocumenta Arts Blockathon to learn more about art and how we can use it help further our understand this new technology. I had the awesome opportunity to meet Dara, Pushkar, Reija and Kush.
Throughout our conversations over the weekend, it became clear that although Blockchain technology does provide a radical new way to have transactions and accountability, it still maintains the fundamental structures of capitalism and value in the 21st century. So we approached the weekend in attempting to make an artwork that rebels against this structure in a playful and tongue in cheek way.
Right now you can take money out of your physical wallet and set it alight, thereby erasing the value of it completely. Now in ashes, it can not be used to perpetuate the power structures mentioned previously. We asked ourselves “is there a blockchain equivalent of burning your money?”.
Our project proposal was an artwork where we ask the viewer to discard and burn some Ether by sending it to the ENS burner address:
This black hole has no way to have its funds retrieved. As Ether is burned, a random six digits from the hash are converted into a hex colour. A pixel of that colour is added to a unique image collectively being created by everyone who burns some Ether.
This is not a transaction, it is not a purchase — the artists get nothing, the viewer just loses capital — all that is created is a seemingly random image of an expanding mass — the “black hole” gets larger. As the mass reaches maximum capacity, taking over the whole screen, what remains is one still image, a colour plane made of 250,000 individual pixels.
Once all the pixels are filled, the image is saved and the web canvas is destroyed. The screen that displays the image becomes the only copy of our unique digital painting. If the process was to run again, a new unique artwork would be generated.
As a team, everyone definitely enjoyed this process by learning from one another in both our arts and technology interests. The biggest takeaway for me was understanding the need to challenge and explore different conventions of thinking around how our current systems work,. If we want to build new technology for the betterment of our society, we have to cooperate and take input from people of different backgrounds whilst thinking outside the box.
A huge thanks to Daniel Bar 丹尼尔👩🏼🎤, Denise, Baden and everyone else for making this weekend an awesome experience :)