PWR, #1 (trustless), 0x9ab9f7a4b85412bfbe2f4f63b1c98808851c4f32, Tongersestraat 42a, Maastricht, NL, 9/10 2015. Photograph of Bitcoin mining rig. Courtesy of the artists.
Blockchains are distributed databases, secure and transparent by virtue of peer-to-peer communities that cryptographically validate each entry. As the technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, the blockchain has given rise to divergent speculations about the future of politics and finance outside of direct state control, from collective utopias to sublime dystopias.
Organized by Rhizome's Artistic Director, Michael Connor, "Blockchain Horizons" convenes artists, critics, and entrepreneurs to discuss the cultural implications of this technology for publishing, licensing, and distribution. In doing so, it treats the blockchain as social fact rather than science fiction.
Participants include Kevin McCoy, artist, entrepreneur, and founder of Monegraph, a blockchain-based solution for attributing and distributing art, conceived of at Seven on Seven 2014 and currently a member of NEW INC.; Berlin-based PWR (Hanna Nilsson & Rasmus Svensson), who are developing a decentralized platform for publication and distribution of digital texts; and Rachel O'Dwyer, a Dublin-based researcher and curator with a focus on the political economy of communications, digital currencies and media cultures. In addition, Nora Khan, DeForrest Brown, and The Actual School will present a work-in-progress online project titled Futures Along the Blockchain. Conceived by Lars Holdhus and commissioned by Rhizome, the site convenes an online group discussion about the blockchain and proposes applying it to questions of music distribution.
Rhizome's public programs are made possible, in part, through the support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, the Carolyn K. Tribe Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts.