Dear All,

Firstly, just to say we actually got as far as setting up another listserve but are persuaded by all of your arguments that we should keep all our conversations together here in one place. Thanks very much to all of you for speaking out and explaining what's important. We may be inviting a few new people here to join us. We can always come back to this question in the future.

Here are my reflections on a couple of weeks of art and culture in relation to blockchain.

Conversations on Netbehaviour (I currently regard this list as a vital and invaluable extension of my conscience.) I am reading avidly the conversations here as they combine emerging thought, tech and ethics in a very unusual combo. THANK YOU! These are the things I'm noticing and meditating on:

- Environmental and energy costs – more on this soon but I have been looking at Faircoin – proof of cooperation and I wonder if the clear-as-daylight, explicit mapping of environmental harm onto crypto-currency trading could provide the impetus for a global move to 100% renewables and zero carbon emissions.

- It's all about finance and profit and any other story is just an excuse or justification – polishing a turd – this is a serious question- I am meditating on it.

- Intergenerational disconnects (tone, experience, motivation, needs)

- "Even" Off-Grid art (suggesting that anything off network is second class art practice)

- Death and forever (Museums have always given me the creeps with their - never throw anything out policies) When I asked BigChainDB what they meant by "forever" - they are offering a price to store digital data storage forever - they said "as long as we can". :)

- The questions of new religion and rituals

Conversations at DAOWO event Identity Trouble (on the blockchain) –  I regard DAOWO as an attempt to bridge practices and people in critical arts and entrepreneurial and development cultures FTW.

Thor Karlsson presents Authenteq – a blockchain based identity platform that is eminently sensible and useful in a “trustless” world of people who want to rent things from others that they don't know, and move around freely, free of intermediaries. This rings many alarm bells for a room of artists, historians, sociologists and philosophers who value the ability to slip between many identities.

Data as the new credit – makes especial sense in the context of reputation - Emily Rosamond talks about Reputation Warfare, with the example of porn shaming bringing everything into urgent and horrible focus.

With a focus on the Byzantine Generals (the computer science problem behind the double spend problem which is solved by bitcoin) Ramon Amaro's talks about the logic of war and defence at the heart of cryptocultures. I've heard Brett Scott talk about this before too. If a cagillion people can interact with your thing, you have to assume that at least one of them is trying to destroy it. Ramon is a theorist working with the ethics of machine learning and racial bias and I have heard him talk before about how surveillance technologies do not see or read black bodies. This discussion therefore is about what happens to bodies excluded from universal systems of empowerment/control.

I ask a naïve hypothetical question – technologies represent the interests and values of those who develop them, so if our global network technologies were created and funded by cohorts of that more closely matched the ethnic and cultural diversity of everyone in the world, would we now be working with a more just and humane globabl technical infrastructure?

Ramon traced the roots of the algorithm back to Leibnitz and the differential equation – the dream of a universal language of mathematics that could parse and manipulate difference. He cites this as the root of colonialism in western technical cultures. This rhymes with conversations we had last year with Gretta and Jampajimpa and Jupurrula from the Warnayaka Arts centre as part of Networking the Unseen.

Ed Fornielis an artist who creates huge, dynamic and chaotic Live Action Role Plays. I am reminded that for me one of the most problematic of the moves in Identity technologies is the move to pin single indentities to single bodies. Identity is entirely dynamic and relational.

We make each other what we are. It is a dynamic process.

Horror again as imagine myself pinned like a butterfly forever to my body.

Amit Rai wrote to me this morning in an email “What's the relation historically between identity and capital? Branding was an important part of the commodification of slaves, the blockchain is an evolution from that technology, or at least partly I think. “

Respect

Ruth

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