"Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather."
from A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace by John Perry Barlow
We live in a time where the institutional foundations of our society seem increasingly in doubt, and arriving at a consensus on truth and reality seems more difficult than ever. As our commitment to the post-war economic order is questioned, and the social contract of the state redefined, we find little help in building a more equitable society from the corporations of Silicon Valley that a free cyberspace has birthed. Now Blockchain based technologies threaten to further disrupt and decentralize our concepts of global governance and economy. While much is being said about the improvements these technologies will bring, why will their effects turn out differently from the open web? How do we promote a better society for people while handing the steering wheel further over to machines?
With this year's special look at Distributed Systems and Blockchain, we present a number of subversive interventions against technological control along with the largest collection of Blockchain based artworks ever assembled on the West Coast. The artists in this exhibition offer looks at the possibility of technology to still make space for free culture, allow freedom from surveillance, and help us retain agency. Through the creative exploration of some of the most cutting-edge, and least understood, systems of global infrastructure today, they find sites of trauma ahead, and fissures where progress is still possible.