With the emergence of blockchain technologies, as with every new technological innovation, come sweeping restructurings and changes in all fields. The transformative potential of every new set of tools is in how they are put to use, and the ways in which they are co-shaped through the concerns, imperatives and visions of those who use them.
Thanks to blockchain, we are now able to experiment with autonomous governance for culture in ways that were never before possible, creating programmable economies around cultural work that can encode shared sets of values, while contributing towards protecting and improving shared resources. Blockchain technologies may be presenting us with a new window of opportunity; an exit strategy from a system that is built to serve the interests of the 1%. The art world is ripe for disruption!
The Trojan DAO rises!
The Trojan DAO is initiated by a group of artists, formed in Athens, during the times of austerity and debt crisis. Building on our experiences of working at a place where most institutions, private and public, are struggling with insolvency, and capital controls have put severe restrictions on financial flows. Experiencing the old structures collapsing around us has also been extremely creative, a kind of escape from comfort zones. As direct results of the crisis, we are surrounded by grassroots experiments in direct democracy and self-organization. We have only had each other to count on!
We too began to conceive of a way to break free from the limitations of the obsolete systems we find artistic production being part of, and transform them into a field of new possibilities - while remaining unbureaucratic, responsive and creative. As creators ourselves we imagined the future art organizations as being artworks rather than profit-geared hierarchic structures. We imagine open social sculptures, able to be participated in and exited with equal ease, in the place of the entrenched and slow to adapt bureaucracies. Structures that would more closely resemble living organisms and collaborative distributed works of art, that cannot be censored and that can operate without CEOs, committees, middlemen and beyond borders. We began to conceive of a performance-as-institution, so as to look beyond the artificial scarcities and competitive practices that are holding creativity back.
The limitations of the established art industry are well documented: It is a system within which the lack of transparency, the reliance on the perpetuation of precarious and voluntary work, over-bureaucratization and corruption are systemic. It is a system build primarily for the gatekeepers and middlemen to capture value. Ten years after the latest global financial crisis began, the art world emerges more dependant on centralised finance than ever; concentrating its productive resources in the hands of the few, while most, especially those involved in locally focused, community-based cultural practices, struggle for sustainability.
Pursuing this vision, in January 2019, in Aracon, we connected with DAO incubator, a group of DAO developers, researchers and enthusiasts that was forming at the time, and began the process of running community meetings and workshops in Athens exploring the various aspects of DAO creation and participation.
The Trojan DAO’s Mission: Create art oganizations as art-works!
The Trojan DAO is project starting from Athens but existing simultaneously nowhere and everywhere, empowered through the steadfast iron will of unstoppable code, that encodes the principles of autonomy and synergy. The Trojan DAO replaces the old bureaucratic functions of an art institution with an internet-native framework with no central management which is regulated by a set of automatically enforceable rules on a public blockchain, and whose goal is to take a life of its own and coordinate participants to achieve a shared common mission.
As an art collective originating in Athens, we are launching the Trojan DAO as a new way to support our art practices. The Trojan DAO is an art organization that is governed by its participants — the members are always in control to decide together how its funds are distributed.
With the Trojan DAO as a collective vehicle, we coordinate to organise and fund art events, exhibitions, actions, and more.
We seek ways to support each other and cultivate new possibilities through collaboration, whether we be artists, art theorists, curators, art venues, technologists or have other roles within an autonomous art ecosystem, we create value collectively, and have been doing so through capital controls and austerity. We are spreading the roots of a cooperative plurality. To enable art projects, supporters and publics both from Athens and elsewhere, to connect in new ways, breaking down silos, and operating beyond boders.
Participants in art projects should be able to coordinate and access funding without the need for centralized institutions, central banks, and top-down bureaucracies.
Art organizations should be able to operate at much lower costs and be easy for everyone who participates to be part of decision-making and be rewarded for their contributions.
Art organizations should operate transparently, with all their financial information publicly available at all times.
The art world is running on an old operating system.
Technology will bring inevitable changes in the way art is created and financed. The Trojan DAO’s mission is to bring together a community that includes artists, technologists, and others, to achieve what we can’t do individually. We embrace the opportunity to create new organizations for art, as artworks.
Our community values:
Decentralization generates Experimentation
Collaboration over competition
DAO AS A COLLECTIVE ARTWORK
DAOs are a new creative medium. Art has always been at the forefront of change. Replacing the bureaucracies of the past with immutable code written on the blockchain, the Trojan DAO evolves as a participatory artwork. Transparent, fluid, performative, synergistic, inclusive, interventional.
ART. COMMUNITY. TECHNOLOGY.
The Trojan DAO develops through exchanges of energies between artists and developers exploring blockchain as a creative tool. In this quest, we share an urge to interact, communicate, learn from each other and from like-minded people from other disciplines.
The Trojan DAO will diligently use the ETH under its control within a framework of mutual accountability to create new possibilities and benefits to its participants while collaborating and improving access to blockchain as a new creative and organizational medium for artists.
Do you share our vision?
— Join us! Let’s embark on this journey of transformation together!