Speculative Values: Between the Institution and the NFT

Thu Nov, 4 2021, 1PM - 5PM

This program will be presented online. Register here.

What can an institution become when it is organized with the network at its core? This question, which has been a topic of concern for art institutions since the rise of the public internet, is newly relevant thanks to the ascendance of blockchain-based forms of social organizing at a time of ongoing crisis for many legacy institutions.

Collecting art, making grants, and other functions long performed by arts organizations are increasingly being taken on by blockchain-based digital cooperatives known as DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations), which are organized using tools such as NFTs (non-fungible tokens, a means of certifying digital assets on the blockchain). Co-organized by Rhizome and interdisciplinary contemporary arts organization Kadist, this event asks to what extent the work of institutions might be propelled forward using these new models.

Gathering artists, developers, and thinkers for a series of conversations and presentations, the afternoon-long event will also consider the apparent contradictions inherent in these forms, which are both financialized and cooperative; how these relate to the contradictions involved in traditional institutional models; and how these contradictions might play out in the future. 

Participants will include curator and writer Shumon Basar, Jason Bailey (Artnome, ClubNFT), Ruth Catlow (Furtherfield), Priyanka Desai (Tribute Labs), Mat Dryhurst and Holly Herndon (Interdependence), architect Keller Easterling, María Paula Fernández (JPG, Golem, Department of Decentralization), Trevor McFedries (FWB, Brud), artist Rhea Myers, artist Hito Steyerl, curator Nato Thompson, and Aaron Wright (Tribute Labs). The event is co-organized and co-hosted by Joseph del Pesco (Kadist) and Michael Connor, artistic director of Rhizome.


This event is made possible by Kadist.

Rhizome’s public programs are supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.