12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art

Lecture: Katrin Becker. Decentralization as Disembodiment

Lecture held within the framework of the conference The Digital Divide on September 15, 2022 at Stasi Headquarters. Campus for Democracy, Berlin.

With its core features—decentralization, immutability, and transparency—blockchain technology promises to liberate the individual citizen from potentially corrupt institutions and data-greedy companies, and to accelerate and facilitate administrative and legal processes. The idea is to enable self-sovereign individuals to regulate their economic, social, and legal affairs in decentralized autonomous organizations or network states, and to thus create a better and fairer world. In this lecture, Katrin Becker will uncover the extent to which these promises are based on the invisibilization of various kinds of bodies, such as territory, legal corpus, and the human body. She argues that these very bodies are essential for matters of justice and democracy—and that it is their invisibility that keeps visions of blockchain justice caught between utopia and myopia.

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