About “Is Art”

This is the text for the current showing of “Is Art”.

“Is Art”, 2016/2017, Ethereum DApp, Rob Myers.

Late 1960s Conceptual Art and mid 1990s net.art are useful inspiration for thinking about the blockchain and smart contracts. These art movements stood in critical tension with the systems of communication, law and commerce of their eras. Each treated rootless information, whether about sense data or network messages, as the critical subject of art and a new potential artworld. Their promise and their eventual recuperation by the existing artworld chimes with the historical experience of the blockchain.

“Is Art” takes the Conceptual Art ideas of dematerialisation (art that is not presented in a fixed physical form) and nomination (something that is art because someone or something says it is) and combines them with the net.art idea of the interactive artwork that exists in or interferes with network protocols.

In it, an Ethereum smart contract contains the assertion that it either “is” or “is not” art. A web page connected to the Ethereum network displays the state of this assertion to anyone who can access the contract and allows them switch it between states. When they do so this will become a fact secured in Ethereum’s blockchain with the strength of millions of dollars of computing power a day.

Is this sufficient to determine whether the contract is or is not art? Where and how is the claim really being made and determined? How does this relate to historical examples of such artworks? And how does it relate to other claims of fact stored in other smart contracts?

To Change The Status Of The Contract

1. Click anywhere on the screen.
2. In the dialog that opens, click “Update”.
3. And in the dialog that opens in response to *that*, click on “Accept”.
4. Watch for the update on both screens.

“Bad Shibe” at New World Order

Lina Theodorou’s installation at Furtherfield’s “New World Order” featuring their wonderful illustrations for my story “Bad Shibe”.

You can buy the print version of Bad Shibe, featuring those illustrations, at the show or online via PayPal or with Bitcoin.

Via Furtherfield – https://twitter.com/furtherfield/status/865569017515438084

“Is Art” at Ethereal

Is Art” in the FOAM space at Ethereal summit in New York. You can manipulate it using the MacBook and watch its state update via the blockchain on the tablet next to it.

From show curator the awesome Sam Hart (thanks Sam!) – https://twitter.com/hxrts/status/866447265229156353

New World Order

My novella “Bad Shibe” and Lina Theodorou’s amaze illustrations for it are in Furtherfield Gallery’s show “New World Order” from Saturday 20 May – Sunday 25 June 2017.

Click here for more details, including the press release and catalogue for the show.

As well as Bad Shibe, I have an essay in the book “Artists Re:thinking the Blockchain” being published during the show and blink and you’ll miss me talking about smart contracts in the blockchain documentary “Change Everything Forever.”

From the press release:

A mysterious and controversial technology is among us. The Blockchain underpins digital currencies and makes possible dramatic new conceptions of global governance and economy, that could permanently enrich or demote the role of humans – depending on who you talk to.

A self-owning forest with ideas of expansion, a self-replicating android flower, a tale of lost innocence, a DIY money making rig, a Hippocratic Oath for software developers, a five minute marriage contract; this exhibition presented by Furtherfield shows us life with blockchain technologies – through artworks by Jaya Klara Brekke, Pete Gomes, Rob Myers, Primavera De Filippi of O’Khaos, Terra0, Lina Theodorou and xfx (aka Ami Clarke).

Imagine a world in which responsibility for many aspects of life (reproduction, decision-making, organisation, nurture, stewardship) are mechanised and automated. Transferred, once and for all, from natural and social systems into a secure, networked, digital ledger of transactions and computer-executed contracts.

The artworks in this exhibition envision future world-making by machines, markets and natural processes, free from interference by states and other human institutions.

Art And The Blockchain

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Facecoin is at the “Art and the Blockchain” show at Digital Catapult.

Here’s Ruth Catlows’ article about it –

https://www.digitalcatapultcentre.org.uk/art-and-the-blockchain/

Urinal At Cabaret Voltaire

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(Image via http://www.3d-model.ch/3d-druck-dada/ )

Cabaret Voltaire hosted an event to celebrate the centenary of Dada led by McKenzie Wark.

It featuring 3D printing including the Urinal:

http://www.makery.info/en/2016/02/05/hacktion-dada-data/

Afterwards a print of the Urinal showed up in the gift shop:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10207412269439235

Play Art Data Money at London Art Fair

Bunnybots – Cryptoart for art angels” at London Art Fair.

Play and remix here –

http://playyourplace.co.uk/playnew.html?id=203

Furtherfield mention my work and Primavera di Filippi as influences. 🙂

Shareable Readymades At London Art Fair

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Furtherfield are taking the Shareable Readymades to London Art Fair this week, they’re for sale for Bitcoin and GBP.

Who’d like a solid gold urinal?

Shareable Readymades At “Common Property”

Antonio Roberts, Dead Copyright, 2015. Courtesy the artist
Antonio Roberts, Dead Copyright, 2015. Courtesy the artist.

Jerwood Encounters: Common Property

15 JANUARY – 21 FEBRUARY 2016
EDWIN BURDIS/ HANNAH KNOX/ ROB MYERS/ OWEN G. PARRY/ ANTONIO ROBERTS/ SUPERFLEX

Curated by Hannah Pierce, Jerwood Encounters: Common Property seeks to demonstrate how artists engage with and relate to copyright through the work of six emerging and mid-career artists, including three new commissions. The exhibition and accompanying events programme seeks to generate new conversations about how copyright is currently impacting the way visual artists make and distribute their work, and demonstrates how artists are challenging the limitations of copyright through their practice.

Prints of Urinal, Balloon Dog and Pipe are in the show.

There’s also a new image in the catalogue that I created specially for it, I’ll talk more about that when it is released.