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The installation by xfx (a.k.a. Ami Clarke), included a video as data capture, showing glimpses of the material parts of an Ether mining rig. It conveys the energy used and the sweat equity of a DIY cryptocurrency prospector with finely tuned financial calculations and a (not so free) money mining system. This exhibition will tour in 2018 to Aksioma, Slovenia and Drugo More, Rijeka as part of the State Machines programme.

Artists Re:Thinking the Blockchain Introduction / 32

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A throw of the dice will never abolish chance.  Banner Repeater.  Curated by Ami Clarke.

opening: 7-9pm Friday 30th Sept - 27th Nov

Works exhibited:  Pretty Good Privacy by Yuri Pattison, Elaine Sturtevant: Author of the Quixote (artists book), Ami Clarke: Author of the Blank Swan (artists book), video as data capture, showing glimpses of the material parts of an Ether mining rig. It conveys the energy used and the sweat equity of a DIY cryptocurrency prospector with finely tuned financial calculations and a (not so free) money mining system.

From the romantic origins of Stéphane Mallarmé’s text “Un coup de dès jamais n’abolira le hasard” - a throw of the dice will never abolish chance - we consider new ways of thinking through the centuries old puzzle of code, numbers and language. Mallarmé’s famous typographic layout of words on the page, hover for some as a precursor to the concrete poetry of performative code, that from a modernist perspective proved ideological in its refutation of ideology, as well as metaphysics. Mallarmé’s text also resonates through Roland Barthes interpretation, and the advent of the reader, whilst a more recent study by the philosopher Quentin Meillassoux, draws out matters of contingency and chance, through an indeterminate code.

Acting as a moving configuration that materialises in several forms throughout the exhibition period, an online work hovers as a ‘holding page’ projected into the project space as a site of speculation for further works to develop. The work draws on the late Elaine Sturtevant’s early practice of making works of other artists works through Haring Tag and Elie Ayache’s writing on contingency in his book The Blank Swan - with a copy of the publication Elaine Sturtevant: Author of the Quixote also on display. Embedded within the online work in the project space a video hints at the mythologies and rumour that fuel the story of the blockchain, through glimpses of a local home-grown bitcoin mining rig. These works wait, expectantly, for further development through two discursive workshops experimenting with publishing through the blockchain, and how these ideas might bring about new ways of working, and instituting - with invited contributors: Tom Clark, Ruth Catlow, Alessandro Ludovico, Karen Di Franco, and Ben Vickers.

The very first block of data in Bitcoin; the Genesis block, contained a “secret” message inscribed within it of The Times (UK) headline commenting on the fallibility of the current banking system: 'The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks'. A recent news headline reports on the UK Government trials of blockchain technology in the Welfare Payments system, partnering with Barclays Bank. The workshops aim to discuss the several, and possibly contradictory claims made regarding the blockchain, whilst developing a digital puzzle of our findings, that will be inscribed, ascribed, and described through the block.

Yuri Pattison configures Phillip Zimmerman’s Pretty Good Privacy book in two new custom server case works in the project space, following his Un-Publish commission earlier in the year, supported by the Goethe Institute for the Banner Repeater publishing as process event. Pattison's work focus’s on an intriguing instance of publishing as a strategy to avoid censorship. Zimmerman had produced a free software permitting anyone who used it to enjoy the same cryptographic security as governments and large corporations, and notably became of interest to the US government as a result. He published the digital code as a book, and distributed it globally, correctly summising that it would be politically difficult for the Government to then prohibit a book that could be found in a public library or local bookstore.

Yuri Pattison's Un-Publish 2.07 commission: postface; pretty good privacy is free to take away from the project space, during the exhibition period.

New World Order

Aksioma - Institute for Contemporary Art Neubergerjeva 25, SI - 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

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