On 28 January Geert Lovink will visit Bureau Europa to talk about currency design, technologies of payment, and the role of designers in economic experiments.
In the aftermath of multiple financial crises, a growing number of developers, hackers, entrepreneurs and other creators have occupied themselves with the design of our financial future. Disillusioned by ‘the system’, they have turned to information technology and the idea of users who arrange their own rewards in peer-to-peer systems. Especially the advance of ‘cryptocurrency’ Bitcoin has been in the spotlight, but in fact the list of alternative platforms is endless (e.g. Amazon Coins, Linden Dollars, BerkShares).
In this lecture, Lovink will take a closer look at the, often ambitious, promises and aims of these economic alternatives. Many models express a desire to remove all political control of finance through the mediation of technology. However, it is unclear if design choices stand the test of real-world implementation. Bitcoin, claiming to be free, anonymous, secure, and politically neutral by design, has received severe criticism on all those aspects. Similarly, the Internet itself was once promoted as a technology that automatically expands democratic practice. Because such linearity is rarely the case, scaling up globally seems to be a common challenge for economic ‘alternatives’. Should they try to find a more local, ‘complimentary’ function? How and on which scale can these new techniques create economic and social value?
Geert Lovink is a media theorist, Internet critic and author of Zero Comments (2007), Networks Without a Cause (2012), and Social Media Abyss (coming up). From 2004-2013 he taught in the new media Master program at Media Studies, University of Amsterdam. In his current role as director of the Institute of Network Cultures, Geert Lovink has co-organised various conferences on critical media theory and contemporary media culture. He is also a leading scholar in the Moneylab Project, bringing together artists, activists and researchers.
This lecture is part of the series ‘Evaluating Alternatives’, in which Bureau Europa discusses alternative revenue models for and by designers and the creative industry. The evening will be moderated by author, lecturer, and researcher Theo Ploeg.
Theo Ploeg, journalist and lecturer, will be moderating this evening
Date: 28 January, 19:30 - 21:30
Location: Bureau Europa