In the framework of the Blockchain In Media program at ESAD Orléans in which I’m a guest researcher, I curated Rodrigo Azaola’s brand new artwork titled SIB’s.
SIB’s uses blockchain technology literally for its original purpose, i.e. recording information in a public database. SIB stands for Systemically Important Banks, those financial institutions whose hypothetical failure would necessarily affect the global economy, thus SIB’s is the documentation of a year’s worth of criminal activity by these banks archived on the Ethereum blockchain.
SIB’s distances itself from the amalgamation between financial speculation and blockchains conveyed by the mass media by going back to the sources of this technology. Reflecting in its very form the opacity in full light of these embezzlements by engraving them in clear in the digital marble which then covers them with a cryptographic layer—easily deactivated to allow their reading by the human eye—, SIB’s is above all a tribute to the ‘origin of the world’ of blockchains: a nod to the genesis block of the first blockchain in which its creator Satoshi Nakamoto inscribed the headline from the Times of the day (January 3, 2009), announcing the bailout of banks by the British government at a time when the crisis was raging.
Although Nakamoto never explained their action, many interpreted it as a reference to the reasons why he was developing Bitcoin: to eliminate banks and intermediaries they considered corrupt and unreliable by creating a peer-to-peer currency.
Rodrigo Azaola, SIB’s, 2020. Digital video, sound, colour, 4”, in collaboration with Bernando Hernández (edition) and Sabiwa (sound) + Impunity landscapes (promoting bribes and kickbacks), 2020. Digital video, no sound, colour, 2′ 57”, on view in the exhibition UNCOOL MEMORIES #2 at the Orleans Theatre, Orléans (FR), 22.10_10.12.2020