SI audio podcast #4: Dispatches from 'block that chain'

posted October 12, 2019 08:34

photo: 'Block That Chain' worklab, Graz, October 2019. It's way more fun than it looks, I promise!

This episode of the Serious Introspection audio podcast talks with several members of the block that chain worklab that I participated in in Graz, Austria. block that chain is a week-long worklab hosted by the wonderful to explore the questions, problems, and deeper issues behind blockchain technology. I was delighted to be part of this, as it drew together a mix of artists, hackers, musicians, theorists, and sociologists for an intensive programme to utilise our expertise and perspectives.

The week had no shortage of theoretical discussions which touched on ethics, economics, and technology, while provided me a much-needed alternative viewpoint –– or rather, viewpoints –– to most media coverage of blockchain issues, which is primarily dominated by finance and tech industry reporting, or else kneejerk alarmism. Some participants created software to visualise and sonificate online discourse on the topic; others worked on theoretical models for future projects or developed existing tools.

I'm still formulating my own thoughts about blockchain after this week, especially in relation to my past work with Biathlon; I'll  likely write something soon in the new issue of Acedia. In the meantime, if you are interested in blockchain technology (even if you feel negative towards the hype), you might find some stimulating and fun ideas in the podcast. I talk with Martin Schitter, Bailey Keogh, Michael Mastrototaro, Jurij Smrke and Goran Bečirevič.

Here are links to the guests and topics mentioned during the discussions:

Martin Schitter [02:15]:

Bailey Keogh [21:26]:

Michael Mastrototaro [40:45]:

Jurij Smrke / Goran Bečirevič [59:29]




Subscribe to Acedia!

Acedia is an email newsletter I send very rarely, no more than once per week (but more like a few times a year), which details my thoughts, observations, media intake, and other news. It is loosely modelled after the now-defunct The New Vulgate by Joe Carducci and Warren Ellis's Orbital Operations. Acedia exists because I prefer email over Facebook/Twitter and other Internet communication methods.
See past issues

Your email address:

Previous posts...

SI audio podcast #3: Andy Beckerman remembers the wild kindness of David Berman

posted August 18, 2019 10:23

photo: the host + the guest, sometime in 2004 or 2005.

Read more

Serious Introspection special episode @ Nida - 'The Shutout'

posted July 10, 2019 07:50

There's some cliché about old dogs and new tricks that I always mangle, but clichés are better when stated incorrectly. It's been over three years since I (John) hosted a regular live talk show with Justin and Ernest, but we brought the act out again for a special reunion performance at the Nida Art Colony's ninth inter-format symposium, 'On the Fluidity of Humour and Absurdity' in Nida, Lithuania. It was fun to do it again, and we were joined by guest Dafna Maimon, old friend Vytautas Michelkevičius, and some random people from the audience. This was presented as the 'lounge' event after a long day of art symposium presentations, performances, and talks, so the audience, all crowded into a small room with a bunch of absurdly constructed furniture courtesy of Justin, was pretty exhausted. But yet a stronger sense of anarchy existed here than at any of our performances in Finland; at least audience members took to the stage, someone fell through a table, and someone tried to set me on fire.

Read more

Latest tweet:

I just published a three-volume set of books, and if anyone would like to buy them you can go to…

Even older posts...

Serious Introspection returns!

posted June 21, 2019 07:57

For the first time in three years, Serious Introspection will convene, this time at the Nida Art Colony 9th Inter-format Symposium. The full lineup of host John, hype man Justin, and meta-media specialist Ernest will be there, as part of the Error Collective 'lounge' on Saturday, 29 June. The theme of the symposium is absurdity and humour, so I don't really understand why they invited a show about seirous introspection. Anyway, the symposium is a closed event so there's little point in advertising it here, but we'll try to videorecord and post it, just like the old days.

Read more

January 2019: Festival of the Not, Newcastle

posted January 03, 2019 12:21

I'm delighted to return to Newcastle this month, once again as part of a production by CIRCA Projects + Giles Bailey. This time it's a festival, entitled Festival of the Not and taking place at the newly re-opened Star & Shadow Cinema. I'm thrilled to be part of this, as our work together in the summer of 2017 was an incredible experience, and I've also been following the Star & Shadow's activities remotely (ever since performing there in Lied Music, with Mark Vernon, back in 2010).

I will be participating in a discussion with artist Louwrien Wijers on art and economics, but also leading a workshop/working group throughout the festival built around experimental documentation. If you would like to participate in this project – called Documentation of the Not – you can register for it here. Some more about the workshop, quoted from my proposal:

Cultural experiences are documented and disseminated for multiple purposes: for social media, to please funders, to establish press kits and CVs, etc. Traditionally, the role of documentation falls under the administrative team, sometimes with professional photographers or videographers involved (if budget allows). The dominance of social media has decentralised documentation, at least that which is not the ‘official’ part of the festival. But generally, the format of documentation remains constant: experiential (in personalised, social media contexts using images and video) or quantitative (in reports to funders, with statistics, etc.).

Read more

October activities: Radio of Changes @ Urbanapa x Ateneum, talk in Nashville

posted December 27, 2018 10:11

Hi!  I am part of the Radio of Changes project with Emily & Roy Boswell. We are conducting live hexagram readings on the top floor of Ateneum museum in Helsinki all this week, for a radio broadcast that goes throughout the festival. The hexagram readings will be broadcast as well as some radio dramas we have worked on, interviews, documentation of the festival and some other content. More information (and our hexagrams, which can be consulted online) can be found at

Later this month, I'll be in Nashville, TN, talking about my work with Biathlon/Temporary/Kuusi Palaa. The event, Building decentralized culture structures in Helsinki, will be a talk followed by an open discussion. It takes place at Fort Houston on 29 October at 18:00, and you can register for this (it's free!) via this Eventbrite link.

Read more is the website of John W. Fail since 2007.

Contact via email link on site footer.