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How can LARPing be a testbed for new political possibilities? Might DAOs serve as “underground prototypes” for fostering movements? Penny Rafferty explores these questions through her work as an artist, critic, and builder of collective worlds. Under the mantle of projects like Radical Friends, Omsk Social Club, and Black Swan, Penny’s work takes propositions that are brought up in the blockchain space and deploys them to other, broader ends, engaging with the structures of collective organizing and harnessing the intellectual spaces opened up by emerging technology to serve different contexts.
In this conversation, Penny talks about what DAOs are as well as what they could be. She also reflects on the moments of communal experience that have shaped her way of thinking, recalling time spent in the punk and hardcore music scenes and Black Bloc protests, alongside her experience banding together with other artists, writers and curators in rapidly-gentrifying Berlin to explore how institutions could better support artists earlier in their careers – and how, in each of these settings, tools from the emergent world of DAOs might help.
The discussion also turns to quadratic voting, the utility of roleplaying and paper prototyping for bringing complex concepts to a wider public, and the importance of tools that empower people access the collective decision-making skills that contemporary political systems often fail to cultivate. She and Simon talk emoji voting, decision-making frameworks beyond absolutism, and why AI will not spell the death of creative production – but it might mean we need new ways of funding it.
Seed Phrase is a project by Simon Denny for THE NEW INSTITUTE. This conversation was recorded in Berlin at Studio Jot, edited in Hamburg by fx:one, and made possible by Georg Diez, Lieke Fröberg, and Alice Gustson and The New Institute, with research and additional support by Adina Glickstein. The music for this podcast is by Amnesia Scanner, from their Web3 project SCAMMER, which was released as a series of NFTs.