Promises of the Blockchain

15.12.2023 – 07.04.2024

Are cryptocurrencies unpredictable speculation or alternative means of payment? Do they advance radical de-centrality or promote technological monopolies? Will they become climate killers or do they encourage transparency, autonomy and democratization? When it comes to Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies, opinions differ vastly. The exhibition Cryptomania. Promises of the Blockchain at the Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen brings together contemporary artworks of many different perspectives to critically evaluate potentials and risks of decentralized internet, digital means of payment or NFTs.

Cryptocurrencies are based on blockchain technologies. Many understand this development as a digital revolution and turning point: digital payment can be realized in seconds, autonomously without intermediaries like banks, as the validity of the transaction is traceable anywhere and anytime due to the transparency of the blockchain. According to its advocates, cryptocurrencies therefore enable a low-barrier access to the financial system. DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organisations) are establishing forms of digital cooperatives. Smart Contracts are replacing banks and notaries. Tokenization is creating possibilities of participation in financial assets. But what does democratization mean and how decentralized do blockchain technologies really operate? Is it possible to reduce the power of global corporations or will new technical and financial monopolies emerge? To what extent are blockchain technologies monetization strategies? In collaboration with external partners from the fields of science, finance, fashion and beekeeping, the central promises of the blockchain – transparency, democratization, sustainability, freedom, decentralization, trust and wealth – are analyzed and critically assessed.

At the same time, the exhibition Cryptomania. Promises of the Blockchain addresses these questions in an engagement with various contemporary artistic positions. Collaborations of human and non-human actors, changed possibilities of political activism, and DAOs as new forms of organization are discussed with their opportunities and risks. The hands-on participatory BlockLab examines how non-hierarchical structures could create new digital spaces for collaboration, activism and protest and how a society of human and non-human participants might work. The learning exhibition grows steadily through interaction with the visitors.

Artists: Nick Aldridge, BeeDAO, Sarah Friend, Géraldine Honauer, Egor Kraft, Noëlle Kröger, looty, Florian Meisenberg, Julia Schneider, terra0 und Molly White.

Curator: Ina Neddermeyer (Head of the Art Department)

Preview for members of the press: Wednesday, December, 13, 2023, 11.00 a.m.

Opening: Thursday, December 14, 2023, 07.00 pm, free entry

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