Cryptoart and its political component
Cryptoart is used in the community of blockchain enthusiasts as a very heterogeneous term. Some want to see it explicitly only in relation to crypto currencies and especially Bitcoin; others have a much broader definition that includes various art forms with different contents and results – always based on the new technological possibilities of the blockchain.
De facto, Bitcoin was created in times of a very unstable financial world and seems to be the child of dissatisfaction with the existing centralized financial markets. Bitcoin was not just a technological innovation that caused quite a stir over the following years – Bitcoin is rather a statement; the desire for change; the desire to no longer accept a system of artificially created dependencies and the centralized power structures that go with them. Bitcoin was political from the beginning.
It stands to reason that Cryptoart, however you define it, has a deeply political component in its roots. If I were allowed to take a radical view and define cryptoart in terms that are binding for everything and everyone, I would have to demand this political component in order to call an artwork “cryptoart”. The rest would be NFTart or blockchain based art. Such an absolutization is far from my mind – but not the claim to myself to appreciate the political component and to give it a high value in my oeuvre. After all, art does not always want to be beautiful, to amuse or to captivate the viewer for a brief moment. Art, as I understand it, often wants to convey values and open up spaces that at best spark the viewer’s will to actively change something in his life or for his fellow human beings for the better.
This claim led to the series “RIOT DAYS”, consisting of five paintings; a fragmentary series that is a testimony to the recent past and thus to the electrifying beginnings of the twenties of the 21st century.
THE CASE OF GEORGE FLOYD
29 May 2020
Four days ago, a 46-year-old African American named George Floyd died in Minneapolis. The cause is a brutal and violent arrest by a police officer who, despite repeated requests from the arrested man and the indication that he could not breathe, did not stop kneeling on his neck. George Floyd loses consciousness after some time and dies shortly afterwards as a result of the obvious police violence. The course of events is filmed by passers-by and spreads virally on the worldwide web.
The Internet as a space that connects us all globally and the transparency that comes with it shows us humans in an unfiltered way through a video that racism and police violence are still explosive issues in our society. The consequences are not long in coming. People show solidarity and protest; they take to the streets and demand justice for Floyd, because the officers should never be at liberty.
SOLIDARITY, PROTEST AND DAYS OF REVOLT
29 May 2020
The situation escalated and the protests, initially held in Minneapolis, spread like fire across the entire USA. There is looting, even more violence; fighting in the streets between protesters and state representatives. More deaths. TV shows streets filled with smoke from tear gas These days of rioting recall the riots in Los Angeles in 1992 when four policemen were acquitted in the case of mistreatment of the African American Rodney King. RIOT DAYS… 28 years later again civil war-like conditions. The country is divided. Violence is the order of the day. The fire of unrest spreads intercontinental.
BITCOIN WILL SAVE US!
1 June 2020
I follow new images of the riots every day… One thing immediately catches my eye: a young man is standing in the middle of a protesting group with a sign saying Bitcoin will save us! – to some this may not seem impressive, but in the peaceful way this man is standing there, he wants to convey exactly that: Bitcoin is a kind of peaceful protest; a protest born out of economic tensions and centralized manipulation of financial markets. It’s all connected to everything…
A PRESIDENT BLOWS HIS TRUMPET
2 June 2020
We are already used to it. A U.S. President who seems “close” to the people… by his brief comments on Twitter. Trump loves Twitter; it’s where he blows his trumpet and shocks the world again and again with comments. It is his most important communication channel. These days, however, this love is not mutual, because Twitter marks a tweet from Trump with a warning. The reason: glorification of violence. In Trump’s eyes an affront and censorship.
The fact is that Trump threatens the American people with the military in case of looting and that they will not stop shooting. His rhetoric is degrading; threatening and harsh. There is no question of censorship here, because Twitter has made the tweet publicly available and merely added a note to make people more aware of the rhetoric mentioned.
Such world events, which we are confronted with again and again, seem strange to me. As far as I can remember and in view of all the different experiences, people have always been the same to me. Of course they are not equal in terms of capital in a Bourdieuian sense; but as human beings per se and in their dignity – they are. I have always wondered about this hatred between different ethnicities, between men and women or followers of different religions. It seems that history repeats and repeats itself, and it will take centuries for the mankind to grow beyond this stage of development.
What is evident in recent events, and in particular this further case of police brutality, is a still deeply divided country in the United Nations of America. The still open wound of slavery and the oppression of other ethnicities seems to have little chance of healing, because systematic racism is still the order of the day, which means that some of our fellow human beings have to experience physical or psychological violence. People seem to be equal, but if we look more closely, they are not.
There are not many words left for me to say about this, because this is not a scientific treatise that deals with this subject in any depth. This short collection is only a modest, artistic contribution, which carries within itself a spark of hope… a hope that people will recognize the enemy within themselves, transform it and at the same time become their best friend. A hope which sees mankind united in mutual esteem and equality. A hope in which people will find great unity.