Emotional Autonomous Region
When Crypto Meets Funeral & Wedding
Artist: SHI Ruini
Curator: MIAO Zijin
Jun 30 - Jul 23 2022
「How should we present an inappropriate opening ceremony? 」This is the open question raised when the exhibition was initially conceived.
Ruini Shi and her team present two virtual platforms named "FuneralPlay" and "LoveCounter" investigating whether a better and more friendly interactive experience could be achieved by users attending digital funerals and weddings if blockchain technology reaches certain maturity. De-centralized emotional service operations simulate "X-to-Earn", a reward mechanism of blockchain game. Participants invest in FuneralPlay in exchange for souvenirs in memory of the deceased (Play-to-Earn); likewise, the mourning time invested in FuneralPlay could be exchanged for souvenirs in memory of the deceased (Mourn-to-Earn). Lovers who sign LoveCounter, an intelligent marriage contract, will earn love Karma for the time they spend together online, the properties they contribute and the interactions between the two of them to trigger user-defined life events (Love-to-Earn).
Are the new game rules in X-to-Earn for quantifying emotions sufficient to express true sadness or love? Can proof-of-love be delivered for cryptographic transactions? Emotional capitalism supported by Web 2.0, and in particular the dating software, have further standardized and commodified emotions. Through monitoring data generated by users with the assistance of algorithms lockchain-based Web 3.0 empowers users to take back ownership of their personal data from tech giants. What FuneralPlay and LoveCounter, the two interactive websites launched by the artist as conceptual and de-materialized media, produce are performative situations in which diverse values co-exist. Inspirations for scene constructions derive from creators' surveys and sampling of the identities and free will of their families and friends. Such non-fictional and unquantified data of emotions hereby collected attempt to draw an alternative collective portrait of contemporary youth.
If "emotional autonomous region", which exists in parallel with the governance of the state or religion, is reckoned as one of the mental options for alleviating faith crisis, survival guide for the future may include a strategy of disappearance. In other words, escaping from the omnipresence of big data and managing our digital footprints at our own discretion have become an increasingly imperative urge. Within a closed system, encrypted funeral and wedding offer pathways for vulnerable individuals to cope with force majeure. When we reconnect with the real world, an inappropriate opening ceremony seems more like a ceremony of care, a scarce material in the contemporary context.
Text / Miao Zijin