[NetBehaviour] The Situationist Blockchain

Mez Breeze netwurker at gmail.com
Thu Dec 23 06:16:44 UTC 2021


Potential relevant? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_VsgT5gfMc

On Thu, Dec 23, 2021 at 3:02 AM Eryk Salvaggio <eryk.salvaggio at gmail.com>
wrote:

> Thank you for the critique Ruth! I agree with much, and what I write here
> is just my take. Şerife has also engaged this and may have more to say.
>
> But first, a major clarification: the “invest” page isn’t meant to be
> accessible, and I’m not sure how you found it — it was a placeholder for
> extending some ideas that we didn’t pursue, and I removed links / the idea
> precisely for the reasons you mentioned.
>
> We have ideas on the solidarity aim, but they are fuzzy. For one, there’s
> a tremendous overlap between the “crypto scene” of retail investors and the
> anti-capitalist, anti-work movement (at least in the US). That is, both
> have given up on traditional institutions and pathways to economic
> security. Dogecoin investors — and the language of “Fomo” — are actually
> quite sympathetic to me for this reason. They’re betting that this joke is
> just as good as any other. The issue is that it’s a bit nihilistic, stuck
> in the lane of throwing coins in fountains and making a wish. Right now,
> this project is meant to say “you can’t just make a wish” but we’re at an
> end there because of various boring things like deadlines and time
> constraints. I think if there are revisions / expansions of the work,
> you’ll we’re also pointed in your direction.
>
> As an explanation of why it is what it is now, it’s because of the nature
> of the research residency and the initial thesis: model situationist ideals
> of governance into a digital system. I found very little evidence that the
> situationists were actually very good at community organization, or if they
> were, they articulated very few principles around it. They were idea
> distributors, very much tapped into the idea of propaganda and counter
> propaganda, and hoped for these twists to take a life of their own.
>
> What you’re arguing for is something I’m thinking about too, but in terms
> of what I’ve found (and I’m not an expert) it’s a very necessary evolution
> on the situationist approach and doesn’t reflect actual situationist
> practice as written. Situationist practice as written had elements that
> were quite libertarian and problematic. I would like to see something
> beyond the Situationist model, or, more accurately, go back to that model’s
> foundations.
>
> In the white paper, we discuss how Situationists had essentially
> appropriated Potlatch from Indigenous Americans, and used it as the basis
> for much of their systems of governance. That was reported to them through
> the writings of Franz Boss, which were also somewhat distorted through an
> anti-capitalist lens (rather than “seeing what is.”)
>
> I’m particularly interested in starting from that as a source, rather than
> following the path set by SI’s adoption of it. But that is dense terrain
> requiring careful navigation, and it would be a disservice for two folks
> with an artist’s residency to try to tackle it in a few months. As a
> result, we stop at the hand off, so to speak. If we had another year, you
> might see this more developed, and it continues to develop (though perhaps
> not under this particular framework).
>
> The hope of the project in the scope we could tackle was to reveal the
> mistake of economic liberation as personal liberation, to show that the
> discontent with the system that drives speculative retail investment can be
> leveraged as a tool for something more radical, and make other
> possibilities more visible.
>
> (The residue of empty language you unfortunately encountered was part of
> that: present the slogan, then unpack it. The simple headlines you see on
> the debris pages doesn’t do the approach much justice, and it’s unfortunate
> that they are still discoverable).
>
> So yes, it’s a statement of purpose, rather than an action of purpose,
> that said, I don’t think the intention of the work is “ironic,” though you
> aren’t alone in telling me that it is. I actually think it’s quite sincere
> (perhaps the pages I’ve inadvertently left up are tainting the work, I’m
> not sure!). I also suspect that you and quite a few other folks are a few
> steps ahead of the pivot that this project is trying to make, which is a
> pivot of frame and intent in how we approach technology. I think that pivot
> is obvious to you and others in the furtherfield crypto tent, especially,
> but that the message bears some repeating and clarification.
>
>
>
>
>
> On 22 Dec 2021, at 9:56 am, Ruth Catlow <ruthcatlow at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> 
> The Excavations project looks delicious!
>
> And the Luttecoin video is sooo good! Evocative, stirring and beautifully
> produced.
>
> The project does give me a powerful pang though as I would love to see a
> Situationist critique of the crypto scene that actually detourned the scene
> and I'm not sure this is there yet.
>
> Situationism rejected all art that separated itself from politics. I feel
> this is still somewhat distant from the political machinery of crypto.
>
> I wish it were more actionable. By which I mean I wish it was showing me
> how an engagement, hack or critique of the crypto-scene can build
> solidarity to bring on the actual "bricking". I want to be able to see the
> mechanism by which we will gather around the provocation and bring it
> about. Otherwise, it's somehow safe, in a separate domain.
>
> The moment when I felt this strongest was on the governance page
> https://www.luttecoin.com/governance which led me to the "invest" page
> both of which used the same hollowed-out language found in generic crypto
> and NGO messaging. "Freedom to Dream" and "Make a Difference". I was so
> curious to see how you were going to dig into the economic or governance
> propositions being developed across the political spectrum in the
> crypto-scene.  But it doesn't really go beyond irony.
>
> Situationism was about praxis, about actually changing culture.
> I can't wait for this to happen with the Situationist Blockchain
> Foundation - is this what you hope for Eryk? Can you share any more about
> how it will be funded and governed?
>
> So, to shill my own coin (as they say;)... I'd love it if you and other
> NBers wanted to join us for this conference I'm co-curating with Penny
> Rafferty at HDK in Munich in January. It's called *Radical Friends- the
> DAO Summit for Decentralisation of Power and Resources in the Artworld*
> https://hausderkunst.de/en/events/radical-friends-dao-summit There IS a
> lot more interesting and critical work and play developing now and it would
> be great to build more connections and solidarity.
>
> Thanks for sharing Eryk!
>
> Warmly
> Ruth
>
>
>
> On Wed, 22 Dec 2021, 01:02 Mez Breeze via NetBehaviour, <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
>
>> ...*head nods in approval*...
>>
>> On Thu, Dec 16, 2021 at 4:09 PM Eryk Salvaggio via NetBehaviour <
>> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
>>
>>> Hi all,
>>>
>>>
>>> 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:
>>>
>>>
>>> https://excavations.digital/
>>>
>>>
>>> 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:
>>>
>>>
>>> http://LutteCoin.com
>>>
>>>
>>> ++++
>>>
>>>
>>> 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:
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> https://static1.squarespace.com/static/615ba1842a6b1371238ebc60/t/6196a151193b52305fabe677/1637261649657/LutteCoin.pdf
>>>
>>>
>>> I welcome any feedback from the NetBehavior community on this project!
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> NetBehaviour mailing list
>>> NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
>>> https://lists.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour
>>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> | mezbreezedesign.com
>>
>>
>>
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>

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