<MoneyLab> Pūrākau & further notes on joining MoneyLab #12: Viral Tokenization

Walter Langelaar walter.langelaar at vuw.ac.nz
Wed Jun 2 11:16:34 CEST 2021

When artists express interest in blockchain, it is largely aesthetic. I’ve seen a few blockchain miners in galleries. Usually, artists tend to aestheticise the workers, prettying them up within a commodity fetish. That’s fine, but the way blockchain’s own sculptural vocabularies form and proliferate under pressured conditions is aesthetically novel and interesting by itself. For instance, the miners tended to evolve away from the computer cases, opening out and through rack-mounted forms toward these open shelf-like frames that start to appear like servers. The underlying ideological frame of bitcoin is aesthetically interesting too. If you look at it one way, bitcoin was a spiritual attack on capitalism, in much the same way as coinage itself was an attack on the Indigenous Māori world. Do you want to hear a story? The last time I visited Auckland Museum, I was struck by an object in the entrance way. I didn’t even go into the Museum; I just stood there. Just in through the entranceway. Encased in a plexiglass vitrine, there is a large carved bowl. It’s called a kumete. It’s one of those large ornately carved bowls with the expanding stomach of a figure as the main round part of the bowl. But the story it depicts is only half conventional. It is missing a key figure: Pōtaka-tawhiti, a dog, famous in Māori tradition, who after being consumed by the rival chief Uenuku, cries out from the expanding stomach ultimately causing us to make the long journey to Aotearoa New Zealand in the Te Arawa canoe. This in-between version is in the Māori section, but it is slightly stood-away from it. The placement makes you think this is not a real kumete or not a high-status object. Depending on your frame, this is true. As far as I understand, the half-caste kumete was made by the Museum itself in the 1960s, so in a certain sense it’s appropriative, and it has a coin-slot as it used to be the donation box for the Museum. What then is the reason for the bloating stomach if it is no longer the spirit of a dog? Perhaps it is the coins. Remember, ‘Bitcoin is a river where if you catch a fish everyone can see that you’ve caught a fish, and more importantly you can’t put it back.’

excerpt from Roman Mitch' doctorate 'The Artwork is Always Right' (2018), University of Auckland, page 148

also on show through his '2014 Blockchain Study, Thirty-Five Times' at p0.nz/i gallery, for MoneyLab #12: Viral Tokenization; along with other works by Billy Rennekamp, ₘₒₕᵢₙᵢ [🐢]  OoakosiMo , Laurence Olsen-Smith, neurocolor, Eric Barry Drasin, Marika Pratley, Fabio Morreale, and Ben Nolan.

Tomorrow we will send out the Zoom Webinar links for those wanting to join us online this Friday and Saturday,
which will also be posted via http://moneylab-wellington.nz/info/


To remain congruent with several topics and themes under discussion for the coming conference and exhibition, there will be no formal registration possible nor necessary for joining either in person or via the internet.
If you come to the gallery on Friday, or to Te Aro campus on Saturday, you will be provided with the (at current alert level) optional COVID19 contact tracing QR codes, and we will be operating under the now common 'Alert Level 1<https://covid19.govt.nz/business-and-money/businesses/doing-business-at-alert-level-1/>' guidelines.

You can use the Zoom Webinar links with or without a Zoom account (all registration features will be switched off); if prompted for an email address feel free to use your favourite burner. We have opted to stay with Zoom as it currently provides the best trade-offs in terms of amount of people who already use this service vs core functionality vs what works in our location, while wanting to cater to an international audience as well (and not making you sign up for even more products in the process).
We will also have anonymous Q&A switched on in Zoom in case you feel you need this to participate.

We are a small team running this event 'no-budget' (besides the occasional p&d group philanthropy surrounding p0.nz/i gallery), so please bear with us during Zoom hang-ups, presentation switches, and other miscellaneous technical glitches.
We are extremely grateful to all our participants and collaborators for dedicating their time and effort to what we hope will be a great weekend :)

Looking forward,
Mā te wā,

Walter Langelaar
 Media Design
Hoahoa Pāpāho
 Victoria University of Wellington
Te Herenga Waka
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