It's okay. Right now, this is a very low frequency newsletter.
A Web3 Reader
"I am trying to keep an open mind about these questions. People I like and trust are convinced they’re [NFTs] the best thing since sliced bread, so I wish I could have a more positive view but right now I mainly see hustlers looking for suckers."- Brian Eno
"Internet ‘may be just a passing fad’ as millions give up on it."- Headline from The Daily Mirror, 9 December 2000
There is a lot of noise about crypto, blockchains, NFTs and other digital infrastructure that are commonly referred to as web3 technologies. We’ve all heard it. Some of us may have dabbled with web3. Some of us have dismissed it as a scam and some of us are curious to find out more.
Web3 promises to give power back to individuals, to remove the middleman (again), to give our creations a verifiable provenance and provide us with sovereignty over our personal information and data. Just as they did when the internet first emerged, artist and cultural communities now have an opportunity to make, break and shape this new paradigm. However, exploring this paradigm can be fraught as many people writing about the topic take a position for or against a technology before understanding what it might offer.
It was an artist who first imagined “digicash paracurrencies” of the future that built around celebrities and brands. And as the arts funding landscape has evolved or evaporated, it was often artists who explored alternative models for raising and deciding how to distribute funds. While artists may have provided the inspiration, technologists, and in the case of web3, venture capitalists, have shaped our actual experience of it thanks to the tools at our disposal. If the Internet revolution of the 90s taught us anything, it’s that how we imagined a future Internet to be versus what eventuated is not the same. Those that participated in the early web were shaped by its constraints but also shaped its next iteration. The future of web3 is unlikely to look like it does now. Charting its future means participating in its present.
We are calling for contributions from artists, theorists, researchers, technologists and people who have spent time to understand and engage with web3 technologies (crypto, blockchains, NFTs, DAOs, etc). This is broad, but we are erring on the pragmatic rather than the speculative.
Please note that we are not looking for claims about the infallibility of web3, nor rants about web3 technologies being a bubble, ponzi or environmental catastrophe. Instead, we are looking for considered pieces that will provide useful signposts for artists who might be curious about this new and emerging digital infrastructure, and how to engage and provoke meaningful questions about it, or use it to solve challenges they face in their creative or professional practice.
Interested? Please use this form to submit a 50 to 100 word outline or abstract that describes your contribution.
Final submissions will be around 2,000 words in length.
Links out to a form
Who is putting this reader together?
The reader is a collaboration between Tim Webster / Hey Pixels and Sam De Silva / Common Edge. Tim has spent the past two decades working at intersection of art and technology while Sam has deep experience in journalism and activism.
Will this be the only reader?
Depending on the audience we build and their level of engagement, there will be more to come. You can help us build our audience by joining the Hey Pixels Discord server.
I run an organisation and think this might align with out program. What can I do?
We're looking for partners and we'd love to hear from you! Send us a message using the link in the nav bar.
Aren't there other readers like the one that Moneytalk put together?
Yes. And it's awesome. Our motivation for this reader is to help kickstart the discourse in Australia that goes beyond binary arguments. We also think that our target audience is a little broader targeting art-repreneurs and their technologist collaborators.