Subject: Re: DEAR BLOCK CHEN
Date: Sat 20 Nov 11:00:00 CST 2021
Lans King, #0x3b464a1aa10a625c0c5277545338bba65eacc5d616a8ef55fd22d34e139a5cf6, 2021, encoded cryptographic NFC NTAG216 microchip capsule with link to NFT, encased in a glass petri dish, rubber tipped tweezers, NFT displayed on Screen, dimensions variable [NFTs @opensea].
The artist and the work are one. The work is the artist-self. For this work, Lans King surgically implanted an NTAG216 microchip capsule in his left hand. Stored on the microchip capsule is a cryptographic code which represents a registry of the artist-self. The code is the blockchain hash or address given to this specific work on codex protocol, a platform that tracks the ownership, origin, and provenance of artworks on the ethereum blockchain. The chip was implanted by Jowan Österlund of Biohax International, at 2019.03.22.15:43 in Helsingborg, Sweden. The code as well as other information about the work were transferred to the microchip post implantation using RFID protocols. The project is a conceptual artwork in that it is non-physical. The microchip capsule is a readymade artefact. It is an ongoing performance artwork that uses of the artist’s body as a medium. Finally, it is a digital work that employs cryptographic blockchain technology and microchip components.
Artist: Lans King [website] is an interdisciplinary artist. His ongoing project, “The Hyperreality Show”, blurs the lines between real & virtual, analog & digital, humanity & technology, abstraction & figuration. His interconnected ecosystem of works include paintings, videos, installations, sculptures, digital/NFT, and signature painting-video/NFT hybrids. Lans has become known for his artwork network of self, 2019 - ongoing, for which he implanted an NFC microchip capsule in his hand. The microchip is the key element of this conceptual artwork. Stored on the microchip capsule is a cryptographic code that represents a registry of the artist-self. Born in Saint Vincent (British Antilles), Lans King was raised and educated in New York, US. His studies in cognitive science focused on artificial intelligence and human-machine interaction. Previously, he worked in the digital and communication sectors whilst developing his art practice in parallel. Lans currently lives and works between London and Paris.
Martin Lukas Ostachowski, Ephemeral Thoughts on Digital Wallet, 2019, archival print on photo board, 91.5 x 61 cm [NFT].
The artwork entitled “Ephemeral Thoughts on Digital Wallets” explores the value of digital assets, questioning whether this value persists once its environment ceases to exist. The blockchain ecosystem can be seen as a network of hope. When people believe in the system, they keep maintaining the blockchain. Once people lose their trust, they will start to unplug their computers and challenge the newly defined assets and values.
This animation is the visual continuation of my “Cloud Seed Phrase Visualization” project: https://ostachowski.com/cloud-seed-phrase-words-visualization/. In this project, I visualize the 2,048 hexadecimal seed phrase words of the BIP39 (Bitcoin Improvement Protocol) as ellipses generatively. Combinations of seed phrase words form the passwords of digital wallets that hold both cryptocurrencies and a wide variety of digital assets including crypto art.
Artist: Martin Lukas Ostachowski [website] is an artist based in Canada who explores geometric abstraction and minimalism using physical and digital languages through the use of technologies like blockchain. Martin was born in Upper Silesia, a Polish region, to German ancestors in 1984. The area had belonged to Germany before the second world war, and afterward, German culture was suppressed. At the age of four, the adventure that would shape his whole life and artistic process began. Told he was going on a vacation, Martin boarded his first passenger flight with his parents to escape communist Poland and join their family in Germany. Fast-forward to 2013, he again entered a plane to immigrate to Canada.
He began his blockchain experience as an observer at the end of 2017 before starting to tokenize his art in June 2018. He truly believes in the technology’s transformative potential beyond cryptocurrency. Since the way technology is communicated is discouraging for most people, but familiarizing them with it is key to inclusion, it became a passion for Martin to educate people about blockchain. The blockchain itself became the subject of a whole body of work with clouds as its "medium." Clouds are a great symbol for the blockchain ecosystem, considered its fragility. Blockchain is an accumulation of hope, just as a cloud is of water, for a better future, wealth, and socio-economic systems. The moment people lose their hope, they will disconnect their computers, and the blockchain will dissolve, just like a cloud.
Martin Lukas Ostachowski, Perpetuum Mobile, 2021, archival round canvas print of images, 51 x 51 cm [NFT].
A hypothetical machine that can work infinitely without an energy source does not exist. The same applies to an international digital currency that successfully absconds from justice and manipulation. Bitcoin and proof-of-work concepts regularly draw criticism for their high-energy demand, which equals smaller countries’ annual energy consumption. However, one could see it as the price of liberty. The blockchain needs to remain in the air, requiring energy just like a windmill or a plane. As long as blockchain miners worldwide continue to fuel it, the blockchain will stay above the jurisdictions and influence of both governments and central banks. This video collage Perpetuum Mobile consists of six videos recorded on a 1,200-mile passenger flight between Toronto (YYZ) and Dallas (DFW) in March 2018.
Jui-Lan Yao, Cooper, Venus, Value Tec-objects, 2021, video, mixed-media installations, dimensions variable.
Copper and Venus have an ancient spiritual connection. The English word copper is derived from the ancient Greek word "Kyprus", a island sitting in the Mediterranean Sea, the birthplace of Venus Goddess. On the planet of Venus, most of the geographical features are named by goddesses. The highlands of Ishtar in the north and Aphrodite in the southern hemisphere are both the goddess of war in the Soviet-American period and the goddess of beauty in the Roman period. In addition to the nature of love and abundance, they are all goddess with enormous power of control and conquer. Liyue Copper Smelter at Jinshan, now a relic, is part of Taiwan’s "mining history" and able to provide a reference for the cryptocurrency craze that has risen because of the pandemic. According to many survey, most of today’s mining pools are located in China (Xinjiang, Sichuan and Inner Mongolia), and they use coal as the main power source. Cryptocurrency which represents the future of mankind is supported by such an old powering method that was invented in the ancient industrial-revolution era. The glorious prospect of metaverse is like a layer of "gold" plated on a coal mine. In the 1950s when the price of gold was shaken and wars in Korea and Vienna continued, the price of copper rose, Liyue Copper Smelter's strategy of "raising gold with copper" could be seen to be another "nation-protected sacred mountain" of Taiwan (ROC). Today when electric vehicles foretell the replacement of petroleum with electric energy in the future, the international copper prices go skyrocketed again. Copper mines once again become psychologically more valuable than gold. The relic of the copper smelter witnessed how Taiwan participated in this value creation and how it paid for ecological price. While being enchanted by the ideas of "progress", "prosperity", and "competitive power", we still have to ask questions with regard to the design rule of the entire value system: what and to whom we have dispensed and amortized various forms of invisible cost: natural resources, physical labor and emotional labor.
Artist: Jui-Lan Yao [webpage] (born 1989) Born in Taiwan, Tainan, a graduate from the Department of Painting and Calligraphy, National Taiwan University of Arts and from the Department of New Media, Taipei National University of the Arts, Jui-Lan Yao is now creating artworks in Taipei. Her creations are mainly based on traditional training in calligraphy, and painting, as well as interactive technology and relational aesthetics. Jui-Lan went to the Bourges College of Fine Arts in France as an exchange student (2013), and participated in the “Digital Hundred Wokers Project” at PunPlace held in the Tainan City Government Smart Development Center (2018). Her solo exhibition in 2019, “GDR Service,” was distributed across exhibition spaces in 11 different locations in Taipei City by way of a field game. Her artist in residence experience includes STUPIN (Taipei International Art Village, 2017), and “Peripheralized People: Solastalgia between Taiwan and Nepal III,” (NexUs, Kathmandu, 2019). Her artwork was selected and exhibited in the 2020 Taiwan Biennial. She is currently a member of Openlab.Taipei makerspace Community.
Nai-Ren Chang, $100, copper plate, paper, 84 x 59 cm.
Abolishing the gold standard in order to generate more money and to multiply more numbers, seems what is happening in the NFT world, in which values are not created based on limited natural metals/resources. If inflation goes to extreme, will legal tender decrease to zero? I ty to associate the preserved value of artworks endorsed by institutions with the idea of currency, an analogy to modern financial system.
Artist: Born in Miaoli, Taiwan in 1987, Nai-Ren Chang [website] obtained his Master Degree in Graduate Institute of Plastic Arts, Tainan National University of the Arts. His major works include videos, mechanical installations and mixed media. He is interested in the division and the flowing change between natural substance and media, the connection between time slices, human perception of materials and the self. He is good at narrating the nostalgia emerged from the encounter between images and nature.
Rexy Tsang, Sugar High, 2021, sugar and glue, 4.4 x 15.9 x 20.3 cm.
Appropriating the classic game of Jenga, the work consists of 54 (or more) blocks made of sugar on a pedestal. The work mani- fests the excitement and risk of stacking blocks to an increasing height against a shaky base. The work is an analogy to the reck- less pursuit of monetary gains in the greater fool theory, where the person buying the overpriced asset later on, for a higher price, is deemed the greater fool. The work comments on the current cryptocurrency hype, where digital assets climbs to record market price without a solid eco- nomic foundation. The sugar blocks is a direct reference to the optimistic rush that a buyer experiences, expecting the his/her investment to rise. The ephemeral nature of the sugar points to a future collapse of the structure by insects or heat. The protrud- ing pedestal adds to the suspension and potential fall. The all white appearance of the work makes it ghostly against the gal- lery wall, it is as if the work exists halfway between the physical and the ether.
Artist: Rexy Tseng [website] (born 1986) is a visual artist who works primarily in painting and installation. His art practice derives from the dark humor and unrequited desires found within contemporary living conditions. Blurring human forms and objects, Tseng’s works press sensations against logic. By expanding on intimate observations, Tseng stages the unresolved past with possible futures, where he addresses personal politics, technological flaws, traumas, and emotional residues. Born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan until the age of thirteen, Tseng relocated to the United States to further his education. He received a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in 2009, he attended MFA at UCLA in 2012, and he attended MFA at University of Oxford in 2017.
Tseng has exhibited in China, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Russia, Taiwan, and the U.S.. He has received awards and recognition from the Pittsburgh Technology Council, Arte Laguna Prize, Tomorrow Sculpture Awards, New Star Art Award, Taipei Art Awards, Ministry of Culture of Taiwan, National Culture and Arts Foundation of Taiwan, Taipei City Government, and others. Tseng has participated in artist residencies internationally, including Cite internationale des arts, Tokyo Arts and Space, 3331 Arts Chiyoda, Organhaus, and more.
Kevin Abosch, The Six Assurances, 2021, dye-sublimation print on polyester fabric (6 panels), 100 x 200 cm (each).
"The “Six Assurances” are six key foreign policy principles of the United States regarding United States–Taiwan relations. They were passed as unilateral U.S. clarifications to the Third Communiqué between the United States and the People's Republic of China in 1982. They were intended to reassure both Taiwan and the United States Congress that the US would continue to support Taiwan even if it had earlier cut formal diplomatic relations. Conceptual artist Kevin Abosch presents 6 monumental hanging textiles, the result of the artist engaging with deep-learning algorithms having trained on data pertaining to the Six Assurances and current relations between Taiwan, The United States and the People’s Republic of China. The artist works ritualistically in a feedback loop with artificial intelligence (AI), surfacing insights and distilling emotional value from raw data that is encrypted. The encrypted data is presented as hexadecimal code, obfuscated and made near impossible to interpret due to the overlapping of the alphanumerics. The artist asserts that the intention of the original Six Assurances, over time have become lost or at the very least, at the mercy of the changing tides of US politics. Each work addresses one of the Six Assurances. Abosch marks the 40th anniversary of the Six Assurances with these poignant and emotionally charged works.
Artist: Kevin Abosch [website] (born 1969) is an Irish conceptual artist and CryptoArt pioneer known for his works across multiple media for using generative methods including AI and blockchain. Abosch's work addresses the nature of identity and value by posing ontological questions and responding to sociologic dilemmas. Abosch's work has been exhibited throughout the world, often in civic spaces, including The Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, The National Museum of China, The National Gallery of Ireland, Jeu de Paume ( Paris), The Irish Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina, The Bogotá Museum of Modern Art, ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medien) and Dublin Airport.
Hsin-Jen Wang (a.k.a. Aluan), Paths to the Future #NFT, 2021, generative NFT art (4 pieces). Dimensions variable.
> Paths to The Future #Caotun [NFT]
Different political entities gave different shapes to Taiwan. Under such a pluralistic perspective, therefore, Taiwan, along with the shape of its border, varies over the course of time, as if it is an organically metamorphosing island, struggling in a tight corner of international politics. Facing the fact having different interpretations, the artist attempts to address it with the algorithm , thereby altering the composition of Taiwan's topography and rendering it as illusory as real in each viewing.
Artist: Wang Hsin-Jen (a.k.a. Aluan)[website], an internationally recognized pioneer in Taiwan’s audiovisual art field, claimed the top prize at Digital Art Festival Taipei in 2012 and 2015. Specializing in breakbeat, associated with geometrical shapes and forms, concern for the land and culture also feature prominently in this artist’s creations. Incorporating fantasy and cyberpunk style, Wang’s works focus on social issues from student movements to territorial disputes. Algorithms are used to remodel history and point cloud to subvert conventional thinking. No matter in terms of art or issues, Wang has an intense viewpoint and esthetic, resulting in impactful visual banquets. Since 2020, Wang has served as Taiwan Sound Lab’s technical department manager.
Martin Lukas Ostachowski, Encrypted Identities Ex, 2021, archival round canvas print of images, 51 x 51 cm [NFT].
Martin Lukas Ostachowski, Encrypted Identities Zero, 2021, archival round canvas print of images, 51 x 51 cm [NFT].
This series of work explores the deceptive pseudo-anonymity of digital wallets. The addresses of digital wallets often serve as identities across blockchain projects, platforms and virtual realities. It is essential to consider that every interaction and transaction inevitably leads closer to unveiling the alphanumerical curtain of anonymity. The animation consists of images created with artificial intelligence trained on faces and artwork of the artist.
lololol, BreathCultivating, 2021, 4K video and conductor, dimensions variable.
Cultivating Breath is an encrypted file composed of various breathing sounds. 66 sources of breathing vibrations including: earthlings, computer mimics, MEMEs and primates. When the pandemic began in 2020, the human activity interface turned to rely on the virtual world, seeking to establish a universal way to regulate the symbiotic relationship between the inner and outer space of the network.
Artist: lololol [website] is a boundless laughter, an endless extension of lol (laugh out loud), an acronym that appears to be constructed by the building blocks of I-Ching and/or computer code. Founded by Xia Lin and Sheryl Cheung in 2013, the artist collective focuses on how emotions and body politics are informed by diverse technology cultures, with special interest in martial arts and Tao-informed philosophies. Their scope of technological interests ranges from ancient knowledge of martial arts, medicine to all kinds of contemporary inventions. “Future Tao” is the group’s ongoing initiative to engage with Taoist mind and body practices as an alternative approach to technological exploration.
I-Chun Lin, A Reason to Hit oN (Ver. Cryptocurrency), 2021, PVC output, acrylic drawing on acrylic board, LED escape light, dimensions variable.
In this project, I select the six cryptocurrencies with the smallest value among the 7500 kinds. Knowing that they merely have no market value and exchange function at all, I eliminate their quantitative qualities and explore the possibility of exchanging emotional values as ritual and the motivation of human's exchanging behavior and our psychological mechanism with these currencies. Using Bitcoin as the standard, I imagine these currencies become a thick pile of notes, and further transform these thick volume to foot prints, and distribute the foot prints in the exhibition space. The experience of time spending between foot prints can be subjectively re-defined by audiences; just like an open ballroom where unmeasurable encounters happen.
Artist: Yi-Chun Lin (Esther Lin) [website] is an artist living and working in Taipei, Taiwan. In 2016, she completed her MFA degree in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London. She focuses on the storytelling of transition and segmentation in the modern life mechanism, as well as exploring the transformation and fluidity of identity and value. Through exploring the transiting of substance, identification, and memories, she tries to open up the discussion approaching these subject matters as such. Her research and interests include the production of materials in relation to memory, the spatiality of time, duration and process in space, and the relationship between object and documentation. Her current practice focuses on connecting experimental narratives between literature and installation, and their dynamic interaction with society.
In recent years, she participated in a number of domestic and international exhibitions and art exchanges with art communities, including PLAYBOUR (Solid Art, 2021), Migratory Earth God: The Divine Land History of Beitou Bau-De Palace (Bau-De Palace, 2020) , Challenging Time: Online Exchange and Research Residency Program between Thailand and Taiwan (Hong-gah Museum, Jim Thompson Art Center, 2020), Okinawa Asia International Peace Art Project 2020 (Haebaru Cultural Center, 2020), 18th Street Arts Center AIR Program (Los Angeles, 2019), Peer Learning-Taiwanese/Indonesian Contemporary Art Co-Learning Project (Gudskul, 2019), Ulaanbaatar International Media Arts Festival (MN 17 Gallery, 2019), etc. She received the Judge's Award in Taipei Awards in 2015; she was one of the curators of Sisyphus Ver. 20.18 at National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Digital Ark in 2018.
How to buy/own/mint one millilitre of the ocean from the South China Sea? Our on-going experimental project titled Forkonomy() is guided by such a speculative question that takes the figurative and pirated material— the South China Sea (Mandarin: 南海, Nan Hai)— as our object of study.
The northest Austronesians in Taiwan, the Tankas (Mandarin: 蜑家, Dang-Chia) in Hong Kong and many ocean peoples have viewed the world as “a sea of islands” rather than “places along the continent”, which reveals the fact that the sea is home to explore and to make world.
Despite the fact that Nan Hai is one of the world’s most heavily trafficked waterways for international trade, it is also one of the most disputable sea areas in the world over the territorial claims, spanning across Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, The Philippines and Vietnam. In addition, multiple Asian governments assert sovereignty over rocks, reefs, as well as other geographic features and undersea natural resources. This oceanic object is highly tangible and material, and yet significantly economical, military and political. If boundaries were not dotted lines on a map or “imaginary lines in the ocean” (Hau’ofa 1993) to compete for colonial power, but to think about them as making and maintaining kin connections to respect one another, including traditions and histories, then how might we queer the South China Sea otherwise?
Building upon the first version of Forkonomy() in Lab Kill Lab exhibition in Taiwan, an invitation by artist-curator Shu Lea Cheang, we gathered diverse participants, including policymakers, scholars, Marine life conservators, cultural workers, artists and activists, to queering the ownership of the one millilitre of Nan Hai through discussion, auction, contract making, as well as code certificate performance. The second version puts the agreed and the co-owned one millilitre of the Nan Hai as an NFT (non-fungible token) on the blockchain network, which is a decentralized and distributed protocol that facilitates recording transactions of assets, with the aim to further explore the notion of ownership. What does it mean by mining and co-owning one millilitre of the ocean from the South China Sea?
In the project Forkonomy(), we are interested in rethinking the politics of our contemporary economic and technical-cultural systems. By employing free and open source software and decentralized protocols, we set the participatory project as a commoning ship for people of the pacific who want to queer and care the matters of hierarchies, ownership, gendered labour division, as well as to fight against the constant threats of maintaining a high degree of autonomy regarding the land and the sea. Forknomy() shall sail the economy and autonomy into a queer ocean of freedom and the sea of commonwealth.
Artist: Lee Tzu Tung [website] is a political artist from Taiwan. Combining anthropological field research and political activism, zir art projects explore how one survive and negotiates autonomy with multiple forms of political, gender, and illness identities. Surfing between video, installation, web-art and performance artforms, Tzu Tung often introduces participatory method in zir works, invites participants as collective creators to test and decolonize the contemporary form of art, technology, and authorities. Tzu Tung had a MFA with full merit scholarship from School of Art Institute of Chicago, Film, Video, Animation and New Media Program, a BS from National Taiwan University, Agricultural Economics deparment. Zir artworks has been exhibited globally, including MOCA Taipei, C-Lab (TW), Cuchifritos Gallery, Stanford University, Tom Robbinson Gallery (US), Lisbon University (PT), ArtScape(CA) etc. Tzu Tung is also the organizer for serval Taiwan’s Indigenous and gender movements, the founder of an artist-technologist collaborative NPO, and the curator for art and anthropology exhibitions.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Winnie Soon [website] is an artistic coder and researcher interested in queering the intersections of technical and artistic practices as a critical/feminist/queer praxis. With works appearing in museums, galleries, festivals, distributed networks, papers and books, they are the author of two books titled “ Aesthetic Programming: A Handbook of Software Studies” (with Geoff Cox) and “Fix My Code” (with Cornelia Sollfrank). Winnie has won various academic and art awards, including the Winner of The 2018 Aarhus University Research Foundation PhD award, the Top-Ranked LABS Abstracts 2017 of Leonardo, Expanded Media Award for Network Culture at Stuttgarter Filmwinter — Festival for Expanded Media, WRO 2019 Media Art Biennale Award, the Public Library Prize for Electronic Literature (short-listed), and the Special Mention and Silver Award of IFVA – Media Art. Researching in the areas of software studies and computational practices, Winnie is the co-initiator of the art community Code & Share  and the co-editor of the Software Studies Book Series (MIT Press). They are currently based in Denmark and working as Associate Professor at Aarhus University.
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