22/04/21–10/06/21 (7 weeks)
📃Brief: Design a way to materialise the blockchain.
🤝Group Members: Alex Newson, Tatiana Bohsali, Sue Heeyeon An, Yiwei Han (David).
👁🗨External Partner: This Ain’t Rock’n’Roll — Charlie Waterhouse, Clive Russell
Keywords for week 3: Complex Buckets; Case Study; Field Research; Crazy 8; Final idea: The shop for Brixton.
Complexity Buckets & Case Study
Firstly we followed the advice of our tutor last week and organised the complex concepts of blockchain and Brixton that we have covered so far into buckets to list, then rank and choose them. Through doing this part, we saw some similarities between Blockchain and Brixton in that both are crowd-based and share the value of equality.
We tried to find and evaluate more materialised applications of blockchain like Plantoid. Among them, Alex found a conceptual project called “terra0”, a concept of forest owning itself through blockchain and smart contracts. This was also our first encounter with the concept of DAC/DAO (Decentralised Autonomous Corporation/Organisation). We thought the idea of non-humans owning themselves through the blockchain was very attractive. It shares with the Brixton Pound the same quality of freedom from the control of any centralised authority.
Field Research & Crazy 8
We also went to Brixton to do fieldwork. During our first visit, we got a sense of the open and united culture of the Brixton. On our second visit, we had the opportunity to talk with the manager of Pop Brixton, who is looking at ways to better connect and support local small businesses and create a better community atmosphere, and she told us that now at Pop Brixton, vendors work together and help each other. This inspired us to think about how we can use blockchain technology to promote and enhance mutual help and sharing in a positive way.
Based on all the research references and inspiration, we carried out Crazy8 and found that our ideas had more or less one thing in common. In the final discussion, drawing on the concept of terra0, we arrived at the final idea: “the shop for Brixton” — A self-owned shop based on blockchain and smart contracts and recording all actions that take place in the shop and presenting them to people on a display. The core of our idea for creating this shop is to creating an economy of kind acts and the feedback for a positive community.
Referring to terra0’s white paper and the way Plantoid reproduces itself, we also conceive of a process for an ever-expanding and ambitious blockchain network (as shown in the diagram below):
The first phase is for the shop to own itself and it start to be used by people, the second phase for the shop to accumulate funds through donations, the third step for the shop to reproduce a second shop through funds, and then the cycle continues.
During the presentation, our idea of a ‘self-owned shop’ successfully stimulated a lot of discussion and response from the class. Some classmates asked us questions to ponder: What exactly would be in the shop? Why would people need the shop? John reminds us to remain vigilant and not to be seduced into the idea of the commoditisation effect of the blockchain. If one were to commoditise a social glue, then something would go very wrong. He suggested that we need to figure out how smart contracts work and how the shop can be profitable. Alaistair also reminds us to think about how it will be weaponised?
Next we need to refine our idea and details with rigorous thinking and deep analysis of previous examples.
Catlow, R., Garrett, M., Jones, N. and Skinner, S., 2017. Artists Re: thinking the Blockchain (Vol. 1, №3rd). Torque editions.
Seidler, P., Kolling, P. and Hampshire, M. (2016). terra0 Can an augmented forest own and utilise itself? [online] . Available at: https://terra0.org/assets/pdf/terra0_white_paper_2016.pdf [Accessed 6 Jun. 2021].