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@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@lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
...*head nods in approval*...

On Thu, Dec 16, 2021 at 4:09 PM Eryk Salvaggio via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour@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! 



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