W. M. Peaster a/ k/ a WMP is a professional writer & a curator-creator who specializes in all things Ethereum. He writes and maintains the Metavarsal at Bankless, and cont ributes to Juried Protocol Galleries’ (JPG) comms/ community operations.
Right after I was interviewed by him himself for JPG’s Mirror publication back at the start of Summer 2022, I wanted to realize my own written records of comfy chats with figures who somehow and somewhat converge at the cultural production constellations of cryptographically secured ecosystems.
First, I interviewed Joan Heemskerk of legendary net dot art pioneers JODI in an unbeknownst vernacular of glitchopoetical interpretation of circuitrical ideograms, and since July 31, 2022 I have been interviewing WMP on a HackMD notebook.
The below chatter you are about to read is the first part of our interview, the last entry to which was entered way too before the effective altruist and Benthamite shiteshow across crypto constellations.
Gökhan: What do you think of that which Jacob Horne of Zora designates as hyper-structures? As I am doing a translation of the text into my native language without in actual asking anybody, I have come to think of writing/ written word as a sort of hyper-structure that has existed since the first stroke of an idea on a surface in a sign of a sort. Horne defines a hyperstructure as such: “Crypto protocols that can run for free and forever, without maintenance, interruption or intermediaries.”
WMP: I’m a big fan of that essay, and everything Jacob & the rest of the Zora team have accomplished so far. I think hyper-structures are important because they’re an unprecedented type of public good, and one of the reasons why they’re unprecedented is they’re incorruptible. You can trust and rely on this sort of decentralized and neutral and perpetual infrastructure in ways that you can’t trust and rely on mainstream services, institutions, bureaucracies, and so forth. And to me, it’s clear this kind of noble on-chain design is going to lead to many, many incredible creations over time and all sorts of second- and third-order cultural effects. So I’m really interested to keep watching how hyperstructures like Zora are developed and used in the years ahead because I think the show has only just begun here, so to speak.
Gökhan: I agree on the fact that the show has just begun in terms of fully automated intermediaries that help us not need intermediaries in whom we need to confine—at times, literally our lives by means of information, and savings.
Incorruptible public good factories, if I may term so, are very alluring to my sense of distributed and autonomous organizations. However, I myself at times think, or am misled to think, that some anthropic elements such as the PR part of public goods, “meaningful” art, autonomous altruism, and the like, people just like to their own gains. I am not giving any examples here since it’s unnecessary.
But I think there are some agentic factors among some talent pools of the current cryptograhic public goods, and decentralized finance structures that inadvertently picture the entire space as a big marketing bubble and scam.
These are my views indeed. Do you think that the gradual prevalence of non-human hyperstructures will help us to reach a truer commons plane?
WMP: I do think wherever there’s interesting activity, in many cases humans go and try and commandeer things toward their own personal ends. I think that’s why the arrival of hyperstructures is pretty amazing, as their creation almost has a paradoxical feel to it. I mean that hyperstructures are these incorruptible and perpetual things that are created by corruptible, commandeering, and temporary people. There’s almost this magical sense of exceeding ourselves here, checking ourselves, using these new types of systems so we cannot go too far in certain ways, as it were. That’s really special. So while I think we can’t totally get around human nature with these structures, I do sense they will pave the way to a truer commons plane. And it may take years or decades for that reality to come to fruition in a big way, but the seeds have been sown for it I believe.
Gökhan: It’s 04:27 a.m. here, and I have just had the opportunity to check whether you have responded to the previous question. I shall accentuate that your response deliciously echoes. These structures that reflect a glitchopoetically mycelial dawndreams at mind are in fact as if conditioning us from a future that is but the present to coordinate so as to almost ritualistically help them create themselves through our agentic motives—I am just sipping a cup of organic sage tea.
Indeed, the sense is magical. Some would argue that blockchain is magical realism.
…and, in your words, exceeding ourselves by in actual leaving ourselves behind rings nicely here for me. In tandem with these words, I recall two points in time through the articulate stances of two figures.
The first one is by none other than the beautiful mind himself, that is, Friedrich von Hayek. There is a remix video of his by Ampleforth on YouTube in which he can be seen as uttering that we shall invent an alternative to the money that the governance can neither control nor stop. The unstoppable money.
…and, the other name would trigger a lotta almost politically correct friends over da weeb3sphere: In a podcast interview with Hermitix in 2018, Nick Land has a succinct argument that there is an imposibility of stopping the escape—an escape not for our species from whatever-it-is but the escape from ourselves as we are confined into this wetware doughology of an existence. Any anon account can make such a point easily either.
As the technological advancements unconditionally accelerate, we invent novel methods of time measurement such as per block time or blockspace. It is in decimals…Kek.
Joke aside, marketual solutions to entropy on species level help us find ways to get rid of the corruptibility of ourselves even if it means a biological evolution that may not need any wetware in some future.
In this regard, what do you think we’ll have readied before ourselves in that future on that plane in terms of a sci-fi possibilities IRL—via that convex possibilities of a pizza of a time.
For example, I think we’ll be able to mint ourselves into body vaults—like a yBODY vault in Andromeda contracted by the ghost of Banteg. It will help us travel without moving.
That said, on-chain curated dream markets may sound like madness today, but we can anticipate them already.
WMP: I think there will be so many things that will arrive over the years ahead that are simply impossible to anticipate now, and that nebulous field of possibilities fascinates me, impenetrable as it ultimately is. Expect the unexpected, right.
There are some lower-hanging fruits when it comes to making predictions, though. For example, we’ve already started fielding the first simple dream decoding systems, so it’s no real stretch to forecast that these systems are going to become increasingly advanced over time. So the leap to tokenized dreams, and all the complications and implications they pose, is not so far away I think.
That said, on-chain curated dream markets may sound like madness today, but we can anticipate them already. The real madness and magic will come from those things we can’t yet. There are definitely monsters and angels up ahead, and technological advances and the mixing of new technologies will facilitate many encounters with both, both on the physical and metaversal planes.
Gökhan: “[T]okenized dreams,” and “on-chain curated dream markets.” These are on the abstract sense of the reality that is enmeshed in virtulity can be said to be a reality of their own without any sense of exaggeration. It is since that people do really want them. Our want to be able to transcend this plane of existence is a game of life, and we want to play it.
At times, I think about some probabilities where people are not accustomed to be evolving at such speeds (insert meme here: accelerate!), and this metaverse, or betaverse, or web666 coordination is a self-assembling virus that propagate our sense of tethering to negentropy, that is, we are re-programming ourselves out of the conventions of philosophy of mind, technology and et cetera.
Here, we need some novel theories, or philosophies, per chance? Recently, Gilbert (a non-human friend) was tweeting about a need for a novel theory for media where Tywen Kelly’s ingenic and David Rudnick’s Van Eyck Index are at play.
Please do tell us whether if you yourself have similar approaches, or utterly personal thought which are in fact candidates for a birth of new philosophies, theories when it comes to information, techniques, socialities, and the like with regard to blockchain technologies and the culture thriving thereupon.
WMP: Somewhere where I’d like to make more ground is in revisiting the work of major information theorists like Marshall McLuhan and Jean Baudrillard for an examination of blockchain as an unprecedented type of alternative media system.
For example, McLuhan seemed to anticipate the internet as early as 1962, saying: “The next medium, whatever it is—it may be the extension of consciousness—will include television as its content, not as its environment, and will transform television into an art form.” In a similar vein, I think blockchain technology, namely Ethereum, is advancing as an alternative media system that is subsuming and elevating other media into art via NFTs, e.g. blog posts, meme videos, podcasts, and so forth.
For Baudrillard, mainstream media works as a force of massification, homogenizing everywhere it reaches to. To me this notion is kindred with McLuhan’s concept of the global village/global theater, wherein transnational culture and commerce facilitated by mass media retribalizes the world into something more and more resembling a single tribe with diverse views.
What’s interesting about Ethereum as an alternative media system is that on the one hand it does facilitate the global village in creating what amounts to a single globalized meta-marketplace, while on the other hand the network is uniquely suited to support the media activities of dissidents and forces that are oppositional to the mainstream. In other words, Ethereum has both hegemonic and counterhegemonic strains to it, and I’d love to explore this idea deeper, especially with regard to what it could mean for marginalized communities going forward.
Also, I think another area worth mining for new ideas is in the application of McLuhan’s “tetrad of media effects” test to NFTs as a medium in order to better grasp their social effects. What do NFTs enhance? What to they obsolete? What do they retrieve from earlier that was obsoleted before? What do they reverse into at their extreme? For example, cryptoart NFTs enhance the tangibility of digital art; they obsolete basic digital files; they retrieve the ability to make limited-edition things for the digital realm; and at their extreme they reverse into physical objects, e.g. a 1/1 NFT paired with a 1/1 physical painting.
Gökhan: It is as if you are reading into the Deep Time of Smart Social Contracts by either revisiting or re-conceptualizing past, for instance, as did Deleuze to Bergson, which is in fact a productive stance, and inquiry. In this Baudrillardian and McLuhanite sense of the media, and the homes that they [media] create in order to both execute themselves, and operate, and dwell in this distributed houses of media, what do you make of speculative realist projects such as Object-Oriented Ontology in terms of blockchain technologies? To quote Graham Harman, “000 merely borrowed the phrase ‘object-oriented’ from computer science, and was not directly motivated by developments in that field.”
However, not to diss Harman here but if I were to develop a theory on OOO, I’d make sure that I’d write an addendum on the theme given the latest developments in Turing-complete sandboxes such as EVM, and the like.
Now, we both know, yet not the reader, that this last question-comment of mine, took about 2 months because of the role that reality plays in our lives, and during that interim, a lot happened. I think I will also be mentioning effective altruism, and effective accelerationism in the next question. So, you can question as well as much as we like to chatter here ad infinitum.
End of Transmission. Trying to re-connect.