Black Swan DAO - Hackathon

eros on swan dish
© Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

KW Institute for Contemporary Art 221A Digital Strategy Initiative: Blockchains and Cultural Padlocks

The Goethe-Institut Toronto is an Arts Partner of 221A Gallery Vancouver & KW Berlin
This program is an affiliate event of the Goethe-Institut’s Algorithmic Culture series.

In response to the invitation to be a stakeholder in Black Swan’s game of communes—in which participants role play and test the sustainability of different modes of exchange—Vancouver’s 221A Gallery is establishing a Decentralized Flexible Organization (DFO), where members govern the decision-making process through voting tokes and create a low-barrier platform welcoming equity-owed groups and individuals into the crypto and blockchain space.

A 36+hour beta-testing role-playing hackathon by Black Swan DAO at Berlin’s KW Gallery tests the sustainability of four different economic models on which to base the Black Swan DAO (decentralized autonomous organization). Each working group will be known as a commune, interrupting the traditional notion of a commune as a grassroots-only organization. The hackathon’s units will include Clan Commune, Guild Commune, Cult Commune, Venture Commune, all acting as micro-grids, together and alone. They will be asked to manage a resource set, aiming to create a sustainable economic strategy. Each commune will receive a set of real resources to work with, contributed by the project’s arts stakeholders like the Goethe-Institut Toronto. They will distribute, grow and acquire sustainable road maps for their future endeavours, which will manifest post-hackathon as real-world effects. Each group will explore their own historical example of cultural economics and be able to mutate and exchange over the 36+ hours in order to ensure the survival of their resources. 

This live process will include workshops, Live Action Role Playing, debriefs, and the manifestation of resource use. The workshop will be followed up by a report on findings in collaboration with local writers who will be onsite during the event. Black Swan will develop a lasting open source toolkit and projects born at the hackathon will be produced publicly within the next year.

About Black Swan DAO 

Black Swan is a new decentralized approach to the traditional art world templates for art making. It favours artist-led p2p (peer-to-peer) funding and community organising to place resources into the hands of the users, rather than the gatekeepers of the arts. Black Swan was originally designed as an experiment to rethink the mechanisms that produce the current and next generations of creative practitioners. Black Swan refuses the notion that there is no other way in culture, that resources are limited and that opportunities should be taken at all costs. Inspired by a lone sighting of a black swan in the 17th century, which on first sight invalidated the ‘fact’ that only white swans existed, Black Swan dares to envision an alternative, deploying advanced technologies and organisational forms to enable a more interdependent art world held together by radical friends over profits. Black Swan works towards a utopian and conspiratorial edge in thinking about the practice of art. It performs itself as a self-governed and self-curated funding organisation, which will seem so obvious that people will imagine it always existed as an alternative to the white swan. Black Swan is currently maintained by Laura Lotti, Penny Rafferty and Calum Bowden via the incubator and co-working space in Berlin. 

About KW Institute for Contemporary Art

KW Institute for Contemporary Art, also known as Kunst-Werke Berlin, has been for the past three decades one of Berlin’s leading public non-collecting art venues. KW was founded by curator Klaus Biesenbach and a group of young art enthusiasts in a derelict former margarine factory in Berlin-Mitte in the early 1990s. Since then, KW has contributed significantly to the development of Berlin as an international centre for contemporary art.

KW aims to critically examine current tendencies within society through the production, display, and discourse of contemporary art through exhibitions, commissioned works, and various event formats. Since 1998, the exhibition spaces are also used by the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art.