Alchemical Infrastructures: Making Blockchain in Iceland

Zane Griffin Talley Cooper, University of Pennsylvania;
Katie Gressitt-Diaz, Rutgers University;
Kyle Cassidy, University of Pennsylvania

New Orleans 2019: Experiencing / listening

Alchemical Infrastructures: Making Blockchain in Iceland explores not the mining of cryptocurrency, but the complicated, difficult, political, and energy-intensive practice of making cryptocurrency in Iceland; a combinatory process of infrastructures, social systems, political institutions, and desires, all intentionally brought together in search of new monetary futures — or in other words, alchemy. The project assembles and mixes three different modes of qualitative research in an attempt to synthesize an understanding of what the practice of blockchain looks, feels, smells, and sounds like. This multi-modal triad includes an experimental documentary film, produced in 360-degree immersive video, materializing and spatializing the practice of blockchain in Iceland by blending multiple voices and environments. Conceptual sound work by Katie Gressitt-Diaz explores the variated sonic environments conjured forth in the alchemical making of cryptocurrency. Lastly, Cassidy's photo series highlights the personal stakes, ambitions, and passions of individuals involved in Iceland’s cryptocurrency ecology.

After 4S, the project will be displayed at the University of Pennsylvania as a year-long exhibit. Here is the link to the exhibit announcement: