STUDIO BONN. Listening to the Future

Exchange Values


Blockchain vs. the state: Hito Steyerl has occupied the Bundeskunsthalle and is producing a new work there with the audience. An evening about the future of the public, culture and its institutions.

Wednesday, 16 March 2022, 7 p.m. Live in the Forum & livestreamed On July 15, 2021, the artist Hito Steyerl declared the Bundeskunsthalle occupied at STUDIO BONN. She had registered the address of the Bundeskunsthalle on the Ethereum blockchain and thus controlled it via NFT. (See the conversation with Hito Steyerl, Joseph Vogl and Ville Haimala here:…).

With this satirical action, Hito Steyerl demonstrated how arbitrary ownership claims are in the booming market for digital certificates of ownership (NFTs). By „minting“ an entire institution as an NFT, Steyerl simultaneously got serious about the anarchist utopia of blockchain, which promises to distribute control of money and culture from the hands of gatekeepers into the hands of the masses.

But how democratic is the blockchain really? And is the Bundeskunsthalle really that undemocratic? On March 16, centralized institution and decentralized governance, representative democracy and anarchy will show what they are really capable of. Afterwards, Hito Steyerl and the Department of Decentralization will be in Bonn let the audience vote on the future of the Bundeskunsthalle, thanks to a specially developed software.

Three administrative models compete against each other: Managing Director Oliver Hölken explains how the Bundeskunsthalle works. The collective Department of Decentralization shows how blockchain could allow for increased co-design by the public and artists. And the collective Other Internet designs a model for more transparency regarding money and resources. The audience is invited to join in the discussion and ask questions. A website that will be launched in the evening allows 100 guests in the room and on the stream to register (more are not possible for technical reasons). Each of them can distribute four votes among the three options. This method of „quadratic voting“ is also a new form of voting that allows for more differentiated democratic participation.

What consequences the vote will have is still open. But one thing is certain: a new collective work of art. For the software will produce a live recut of Hito Steyerl’s work „Strike“ (2010), which has been in the Contemporary Art Collection of the Federal Republic of Germany since 2015, based on the distribution of votes. The result, „StrikeDAO,“ will be purchased by the Federal Collection and displayed in the exhibition of its new acquisitions at the Bundeskunsthalle from May 7, 2022. Hito Steyerl thus also decentralizes her own work.

Everything too complicated? Read our glossary:… And watch STUDIO BONN, get involved and ask questions.

If you’ve long wanted to understand the cryptic world of blockchain, which could fundamentally change the way we live together, here’s your chance. Hito Steyerl uses the latest technologies of control and surveillance as artistic tools. Her video installations and essays have made her one of the world’s most influential artists. Department of Decentralization (DoD) is a collective of individuals working on Decentralized Open Source and the intersection between such technologies and art. From its inception, the DoD has focused on research around blockchain and arts, as well as trying to establish relations between the hacker and the creative communities and their cultures. DoD developed the voting tool for this evening with Tim Daubenschütz and Lea Filipowicz.

María Paula Fernández, Stina Gustafsson, and Mary Elizabeth McCarthy are traveling from Berlin.

Toby Shorin, Sam Hart, and Laura Lotti represent Other Internet, an applied research organization. They study and build social technology and advise organizations on decentralized coordination.

Oliver Hölken has been the new Managing Director of the Bundeskunsthalle since August 2021. The graduate economist has held various management positions in the administration of Koelncongress GmbH since 2003.

More information: Bundeskunsthalle

Abonniere unseren Newsletter