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  • ArtistsReThinkingTheBlockchain

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Artists Re:Thinking the Blockchain

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsAnthology

Published
  • Ruth Catlow (Editor)
  • Marc Garrett (Editor)
  • Nathan Jones (Editor)
  • Sam Skinner (Editor)
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Publication date2017
PublisherTorque Editions
Number of pages340
Volume1
Edition3rd
ISBN (Print)9780993248740
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This book is the result a 12 month research process, in which editors commissioned new works and sought out a range of active international practitioners addressing the question: what does the blockchain mean to art? and how can artists shape and intervene in this emerging technology? Contributions from a range of world-leading and emerging voices in the fields of blockchain theory and art practice were newly commissioned by editors and developed in conversations held at Furtherfield gallery in London during 2016 and 2017.

It is the first book of its kind, addressing the meaning of nascent blockchain technologies to art production and dissemination. Continuing Torque Edition's commitment to hybridity in their published editions, the book's thirty chapters are split into three sections: "Documents" presents a range of extant landmark artworks and events; "Fictions" presents newly commissioned creative text and image works; and "Theories" which opens with a essay by Hito Steyerl, includes a number of original essays addressing how blockchain is, and can be, used and thought. The book's release was accompanied by a newly commissioned digital portal developed by Design Informatics at Edinburgh University: using the unique "Finbook" portal, readers can interact with Financial bots based on chapters within the book as they "trade themselves".

In their introduction to the book (c. 5000 words) Jones and Skinner place a focus on the "janus faced" quality of the blockchain, as a speculative tool with liberating potential, and an already hyper-financialised entity. They frame the book's unique importance as presenting an alternative range of discourse around the blockchain -- outside of from Fin-tech disciplines -- and express an intention that the contents of the book will open the way for newer and more progressive uses of this technology. This purpose has been widely referenced and acknowledged in reviews and profiles of the book.

The book is on its third printed edition, and has been released as a free PDF available on the Torque Editions website. It has been reviewed and profiled in a number of specialist industry and public journals and magazines, including Art Review, Art Monthly, Hyperallergic, We Make Money Not Art, Rhizome and the 2P2Foundation. Further impact for the project includes launch events and invited talks at ArtReview in London, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology in Liverpool, Transmediale in Berlin and Institute of Network Cultures in Amsterdam, each of which Jones has prepared new material for.

It was funded by the European Union via the State Machines project, The Culture Capital Exchange, and Arts Council England.