[NetBehaviour] The Situationist Blockchain
eryk.salvaggio at gmail.com
Thu Dec 16 05:08:01 UTC 2021
Wanted to share a new piece of work created for an art & research residency, “Excavations: Governance Archeology for the Future of the Internet,” created by UCBoulder and King’s College, London:
The goal was to research pre-digital forms of governance and imagine adapting them to contemporary online governance structures.
Our proposal was to study the Situationist International and attempt to reconcile the anarchic stance with protocols and ideologies around cryptocurrencies. The result is The Situationist Blockchain, or LutteCoin:
From the exhibition website:
We propose a decentralized peer-to-peer Situationist blockchain. The Situationist International was a French anarchist movement inspired by surrealism, Dada, and libertarian Marxism. They proposed that we navigate the world through a "mystifying illusion" of spectacles present in advertising, films -- even vacations and leisure -- that consolidates control in the name of economic productivity. This is true on its face: we spend hours of "free" time on social networks, for example, turning that leisure into data which is collected and sold by those providing us with "leisure." This is, fundamentally, an employee relationship being given freely to corporations. UX interfaces and digital interactions extend the spectacle, rewarding users with illusions in exchange for distracting them from the ways they wish to actually live.
Abandoning the spectacle of economic productivity, our “Proof of Non-Work Consensus Protocol” turns devices into an otherwise useless object, or “brick.” Users, liberated from the spectacle of electronic interfaces, pursue other dreams. Meanwhile, the devices mine and create cryptocurrencies only to be immediately burned. The devices are essentially frozen and interfaces made inaccessible. The CPU power processes at full capacity, and cannot be turned off. Eventually, they burn out, and with it, so does any currency it has produced. This perfects the process of automating human leisure, mining and destroying wealth in an endless parody of economics.
There is also a write up of the research, included as a white paper for the “cryptocurrency” we’re pitching, which explores the relationship we’ve identified between financialization, the seductive allure of “liberatory” cryptocurrencies, and the spectacle of user interfaces under surveillance capitalism:
I welcome any feedback from the NetBehavior community on this project!
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