Session #6: Crypto_Fantasies: Coloniality, Blockchain and Art

In the 6th and last session of Un-Making Image in 2018, Sarmad Magazine hosts a lecture by artist and researcher, Eric Patel at TENT Rotterdam.

Building on research initiated during a residency at Flacc Workplace in Belgium, Eric Patel relates colonial protocols, blockchain hype and artistic methods to ask how racial and gender discrimination can be challenged on digital platforms today.

The first part of the talk relies on both historical and current examples to unpack the logic of coloniality and its presence in hierarchical systems. We begin with forms of cultural and economic dependence as understood with the term ‘crypto-colonialism’, move into measurement and quantification as a form surveillance power during the Culture System period in Dutch Indonesia and concludes with the politics of ‘conditional’ and ‘unconditional’ citizenship in the present.

For the second part, we focus on the emergence of blockchain in the public mind, its promises of ‘friction free’ cooperation and data management and often unspoken issues on lack of diversity among its predominantly white, heteronormative workforce and users.

Finally, we conclude by speculating about the role of art in the power matrices of technology and capital. What classifications and relations can it expose through post/decolonial perspectives? Can it imagine and enable a plurality of globally transformative and viable futures?

About the guest:
Eric Patel is an artist based in Rotterdam and New York. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles, International Center of Photography in New York and recently completed his graduate studies at AKV|St. Joost in Den Bosch. His work focuses on post/decolonial narratives, systems and otherness.

* This project is supported by Gemente Rotterdam (Subsidie Visuele Kunsten) and Stad in de Maak. This event is hosted by TENT Rotterdam.