The Athenean environment

The Trojan DAO also draws great deal of inspiration from the assemblies and community networks that operate in the Athenean environment, as permeable direct-democratic structures that have become the natural incubators for the deepening of tactics of active citizenship and self organization, acting under the imperatives of doing what is possible, when possible, by pooling the scarce resources available during the times of austerity crisis and capital controls, so as to affect change in daily living conditions and tackle the immediate effects of the debt crisis, while also playing an important role of supporting the development of autonomous cultural activities in the city.

The Trojan DAO is also inspired by the no-middleman strategies, such as the rural farmers who banded together to transport their produce to the cities, recapturing a great deal of the value of the fruits of their labor while offering their produce affordably to the city residents.  

We can do much better than criticizing a system that distributes resources poorly. We can act creatively and interventionally by looking beyond existing frameworks, by constructing and experimenting on building new economies - as artworks, that can encode shared sets of shared values, while contributing towards reducing our dependence on the existing bureaucratic mechanisms of extraction. In doing so we can effectively reduce the roles of institutions, middlemen and gatekeepers of the cultural economy, who currently capture most of the value produced by cultural labor, be that monetary or “cultural capital”, enabling more value to be captured at the community level, empowering autonomous artistic practices and fuelling the capacities of participants to enact change locally.

By replacing the operations of traditional corporate systems with protocols coded publicly onto the blockchain, we can create systems that operate in complete transparency, where the information on the decisions made and how funds are allocated are available to be audited by anyone at any time. Organizational structures that run as peer-to-peer networks reducing fraud, censorship or third-party interference. Systems that will be in stark contrast to the opaque “smoke and mirrors” processes that we are so used to dealing with in terms of how the cultural economy, both public and private, operate today, which leave the door wide open for lack of accountability, corruption, and other forms of abuse of power that inevitably arise from centralisation.

Due to the advancements in blockchain technology, we can experiment with a new level of ease on programmable economies around cultural work that aren’t bound by artificial barriers such as national identities or the borders of a single country, where the value created, beyond economic value, can be effectively shared amongst the participants and communities who generate it in the first place, reaching beyond social and geographical divides and economic blockades.

As artists who work within a fragmented cultural landscape whose imperatives are to operate un-bureaucratically, interventionally, critically and responsively in the public sphere, we have much to gain by sharing the resources available to us more effectively. We seek to leverage blockchain technology not as a set of “out -of-the-box” solutions, but as a new versatile medium with which to develop new relations, possibilities, tactics and fields of action, that go beyond the established hierarchies of the existing system.

To create systems that better represent us, means that we must think of economic structures as material that can be intervened on and shaped artistically, so that artists can have a role in informing, expanding and co-shaping the blockchain tools to the needs of their practices.