The global COVID pandemic has revealed a remarkable divergence: While our lives are coming to a standstill in almost every domain, the dynamic of digital transformation is accelerating at an unprecedented pace. This past year has made clear that we are seeing a real crisis between competing technologies. The pandemic is not only exacerbating global economic and political instability, it is also driving the use of internet-based services, which in turn create concentrations of power and monopolies.
In order to defend an open and democratic global society, novel forms of actions and new alliances are needed. Also, we need new technologies to break out of the cycle of centralised data storage, capitalisation and surveillance. Blockchain technology uses decentralised digital process to secure transactions of all kinds - including data, information, financial assets, rights, title deeds and events - securely, directly and efficiently between anonymous parties.
The Goethe-Institut has co-founded a network for transnational cooperation between blockchain technologies and the arts called the Decentralised Autonomous Organisation with Others (DAOWO) programme. It involves a number of leading international art and technology institutions and communities in several cities, including Berlin, Hong Kong, Minsk, Moscow, Johannesburg and London. Visual artists, creative artists and blockchain entrepreneurs are working with local initiatives, communities, institutions and companies to develop new transnational systems and approaches.
Within the framework of the module called Peer-to-Peer: Potentials in Technological Change?, this network is now linking up with other cultural institutions and actors in the field: International DAO teams in the participating cities will be addressing questions of cultural production and distribution as well as the future makeup and organisation of cultural institutions. They are presenting new collaborative models of cooperation between cultural actors, civil society organisations, activists and institutions. New approaches to decentralised working will be developed over the next few months and then presented and discussed at the Haus der Kunst in Munich during the Artworld DAO Summit symposium in January 2022. Pre-existing decentralised and democratically structured international networks are to be expanded to counterbalance market-geared products controlled by a handful of corporations.
The module Peer-to-Peer: Potentials in Technological Change? explores patterns of organisation, communication and action that are to be transposed from blockchain technology to ways of working in the cultural domain and vice versa. So it represents an important contribution to efforts to network, scale and institutionalise decentralised and collaborative structures worldwide, to give them visibility and to empower civil society in the digital age.