Adventure Capital – Call

*re-named as 3e Process Seed Bank, within future postings

 

an invitation to voyage

valuing thinking in the making

within a collective economy of abundance

 

The Adventure Capital DAO will be the online organizing platform for the Three Ecologies institute (3E), an experimental initiative in collective learning (see attached summary). 3E is an outgrowth of the SenseLab (senselab.ca), a university-based research laboratory that over the last 15 years has developed a unique set of approaches to creative thinking and making operating at the intersection of philosophy, art, and activism. 3E will spin off from the SenseLab into an autonomous organization institutionally and financially independent of the university. The aim of this move is to free the kind of experimentations the SenseLab has dedicated itself to from the increasing pressures placed upon institutions of learning to reshape themselves according to the dictates of the neoliberal economy. Adventure Capital will provide 3E with an internal alter-economy consonant with its collective ethos and experimental politics of knowledge production. The economic features of the platform will be integrated with collaborative project-building tools. The Adventure Capital DAO as a whole will be coupled with a purely financial investment platform (perhaps operating as a hedge fund) called Chaosmosis.

 

Some of the orientations informing the ethos that Adventure Capital will seek to embody:

– collective process has a dynamic of its own that is not reducible to the sum of individual inputs, but is emergent: a kind of surplus-value of relation

– following from that, for truly collective process, participants must be drawn out of their already acquired certainties and personal positionings, into a transindividual space of participation where what happens is led by the process itself, following its evolving requirements

– the most effective way to draw participants out of their personal fiefdoms into collective process is to awaken their appetite for more: to propose attractors drawing them forward together toward the limit of what they already know; to construct lures spurring them collectively to the edge of what they can do

–  to be effective, this must be an embodied practice; it must combine conceptual exploration with movement- and materials-based making, for a truly exploratory learning process inventive of new modes of knowledge (rather than just producing new content for the existing grist mill); it must go beyond content to process, with a dedication for the emergence of the new

– rigorous techniques are necessary: techniques of relation that are improvisational in nature

– for the improvisation to yield a compelling result, the conditions for the interaction must be set in place with care and precision: the process must be open-ended and inventive, but from a basis in well-constructed enabling constraints

– since the interactions are improvisational and open-ended as to what they might yield, what is produced are fundamentally exploratory events; there is no other product other than the collective, creative process of triggering exploratory events of thinking in the making

– the seal of success is that these creative events are experienced as having a value in themselves

 

The 3E project lends itself naturally to DAO, in that its approach is non-hierarchical and self-organizing, fostering the anarchic element necessary to creativity. At the same time, its orientation challenges key elements of the dominant economic model that tend to carry over into the blockchain and blockchain-derived platforms. For example:

– 3E rejects the transaction model, where the fundamental principle is exchange between individual stakeholders. It affirms instead a model of collective appetite: its economy is relational and affective (alluring, attractor-based).

– 3E aims to avoid giving the primary regulatory function to equivalence (for example as quantitatively measured by standard units). It affirms excess: the production of a more-than (surplus-value).

– Accordingly, its economy is to be one of abundance rather than of rarity.

– An economy of abundance derives added value from multiplier effects generated from what is done in common, rather than revolving around what is owned individually. The economy is sharing-based rather than share-based.

– The motor of the interactions is qualitative rather than quantitative: the learning events are experienced as directly enriching, having value in themselves: as being worth the experience purely for their adventure-value (what might be called the surplus-value of life that comes with the exercise of creativity). Any quantifiable or exchangeable currency involved is secondary to adventure-value, functioning as a booster-mechanism for the process of qualitative production, and as a guarantor of its sustainability.

– Although the (smart) contract may be the structuring element of the platform, the true organizing principle is best thought of in nonlegalistic terms, as a social pact: an affective alliance working to leaven the collective.

Work, however, is the wrong word. Play is more like it.

– The rejection of the transaction model extends to decision-making. In other words, voting (especially weighted by ownership shares) is eschewed in favor of non-binary, directly affective modes of decision.

 

Our challenge is to embed this ethos in the very structure of the 3E DAO. Some features we have been discussing are presented below in schematic form, along with outstanding questions to be addressed:

 

Decision-making. We envision an “attract-o-meter” (or perhaps “lure-o-meter,” rhyming with “thermometer”) that registers the intensity of participants’ attraction to a proposed idea or action, for example a proposition for a platform for relation that will become the springboard for interactions in an upcoming real-world event. The attractions will be registered on a continuum rather than in a non-binary fashion, for example using a color line stretching between “hot” and “cold” poles (alternatively, degrees of saturation of a figure of a single hue could be used).The participant responds to a proposition by moving a slider closer or farther away from the “hot” pole. The tool would then aggregate the responses into a display of the collective attractive force of the proposition. The individual responses would be saved and could be displayed as a set, perhaps as a thumbnail mosaic (without attribution to individuals), so the distribution of the responses that have been averaged out into an aggregate color can be seen. As the proposition is altered or elaborated upon, responses are integrated and the display of its allure evolves. The evolution could be visualized as an animated time-line running through the color variations. There is no specific cut-off point at which a proposition is voted up or down. If the proposition operates as an effective lure, participants will become invested in it, and it will move toward actualization in the real-world event. In the event, an analogue version of this could be used in the form of an attractor circle: participants synchronously moving closer or farther away from the center point in reponse to a series of statements or propositions, giving an immediately embodied affective response embedded in a collective movement.

Question: Is there a way to generate new ideas on the platform by playing algorithmically between lure-o-meters? For example, if an algorithm extracted patterns from the accompanying discussions of the proposition, or comments or tags entered in response to the lure-o-meter’s evolution, could the system itself suggest new variations on the proposition, modulated by affective trends associated with other propositions? Could it suggest compositions: combinations of propositions that seem to express convergent, or suggestively contrastive, tendencies? Could it suggest altogether new propositions or affective directions by extrapolation? With an element of randomness? In short, can the decision-making technique be made to function creatively and emergently, making a nonhuman collaborator of the system itself?

 

Coin. The 3E currency will be tied to the movement of ideas from the online development stage to actualization in real-word 3E events, and back again. In other words, value will accrue as a kind of event derivative, in a way that registers the lived adventure-value of the experimental interactions, and the potential they produce for more creative adventure in the future. When a proposition is realized in an offline event, traces of its occurrence are collected (roughly corresponding to practices of artistic documentation, as inflected by the SenseLab’s evolving practice of “anarchiving”). The traces are deposited online, integrated into an (an)archive set up to serve as a kind of library of techniques for relation, which then might be reused, improvised upon anew, shared with other groups, form the basis of theorizations or artworks, etc – more a “process seed bank” than a static library. The traces will be called action-traces. Their depositing online is the 3E equivalent of mining. Participants respond to them, using the lure-o-meter technique, and add comments, explanations, practical instructions on things like how the enabling contraints are constructed and how they work, semantic tags, and other metadata that add functionality to the process seed bank. This collective process will be the equivalent of proof of work. The quantity of coin created will be determined by an algorithm analyzing the attractive force of the traces, and the quantity and/or distribution of the added data (which itself can be algorithmically data-mined for emergent tendencies, in the same as the decision-making process is). Coin might also be created when participants make use of the process seed bank to move toward the online composition of another proposition based on material in the process seed bank, as measured by a lure-o-meter associated with the resulting project. The traces of the movement from the process seed bank to the production of the new proposal (what could those be?) would be called “action-potentials.” Value would accrue most likely to action-potentials at a different rate than to action-traces. In this way, the financial system would be wholly integrated with the collective process of learning-event invention and realization, and would function as one of the internal drivers of that process, as well as as a system for the valorization and monetization of results. To mark its nature as an event-derivative, the 3E coin may be named “Occurrency” (other suggestions are “Allure,” or “Zest”). The coin will be held in common, with no distribution into individual shares, and will be used to support future collective events.

Questions: 1) On what basis will Occurrency be convertible into fiat money, in order to financially sustain the activities of 3E? Would the convertibility depend on the liquidity of the Chaosmosis Fund, with 3E converted into commonly held shares in the fund, and from there convertible into fiat to be used to cover event expenses (allocated by lure-o-meter)? If so, how would the rate of exchange be determined, and according to what variables would it fluctuate? Would Occurrency be directly pegged to national currencies, or only indirectly through its rate of exchange into Chaosmosis shares ? Could the supply/demand dynamics behind currency pricing mechanisms be reversed, so that the value goes up the more Occurrency is produced, avoiding a return to a logic of rarity (on the theory that the mining of Occurrency registers validated productive activity and that productive activity adds value to the 3E project, as well as on the assumption that in a processual economy of excess where value is pegged to lived quality, or surplus-value of life, there is no such thing as inflation)? 2) Would Chaosmosis operate along the lines of Robin Hood’s original hedge fund (with individuals who invest in it personally retaining a percentage of the earnings, the rest going into the common kitty used to finance 3E activities)? Or would it operate through crowd-funding? Or a combination of the two? 3) Would 3E be used as a currency internally to the platform? Doing so might risk returning to a transactional exchange basis and ultimately a shareholder model, undermining the collective ethos of the surplus-value production. On the positive side, this would enable the Adventure Capital DAO to receive donations in fiat money that would then be converted in Occurrency to be used internally (rather than going into Chaosmosis shares). Is there a way to avoid these dangers while still using Occurrency as internal coin?

 

Sharing-based organizational support tools. Ideally, Adventure Capital would include tools providing practical organizational support, for example matching people who travel to events to empty couches. Or perhaps, it would be integrated into Slack/Trello, or integrate Slack-like elements into itself, to enable the collective planning and tracking of practical tasks (logistical planning for things like airfares, collective meal preparation, arrival schedules, materials sourcing, equipment sourcing, etc.). Would these features also be integrated into the Occurrency economy?

 

Other possibilities/questions (which can be discussed in more detail if time permits):

1) Providing some individual incentives, in the form of Occurrency distributions to individuals for their private use. These would have to be entirely randomized, to avoid returning to a work/salary model, and could not account for a large percentage of the coinage. The randomization would add a lottery-like element to the financial ecology.

2) Developing over the long term, in parallel to Adventure Capital, a mutual aid system. It could operate on a needs-basis, to assist people to personally sustain themselves in the real economy (donations of money, food, expertise, labor, tools or other necessary objects, etc). It could also operate on a desire- or wish-fulfilment basis (with no justification of need, on the generous principle that one person’s need is another’s desire, and vice versa). In any case, it would operate as a trust-based gift economy, without accounting (no quantification of exchanges) and without expectation of quid pro quo. This would be modeled on the traditional Kenyan “osotua” system (in which those who give most accrue the most respect and thus accumulate something like prestige-value, or gratitude-value, ensuring that when they are in want others will step up for them). This would work according to a different logic than Adventure Capital in important ways. It would avoid the traditional economic operators discussed earlier. But it would constitute a different form of collectivity because it would require a closed network based on personal affinities and long-term personal commitments. Something approximating an extended kinship system of biologically unrelated individuals would have to be constructed. For this to work, some form of membership would be needed to ensure the conditions for trust – a way of being invited in, being accepted into the fold, and being initiated into the gift-economy ethos. Would it be desirable to extend the 3E economy in this way? The advantage is that a mutual aid system of this kind would make osotuans able to afford to participate more intensely in Adventure Capital activities. But at the same time, it would create something of a schizophrenic situation, with the overall network operationg across two very different logics. It would also risk in-group/out-group dynamics forming. Is there a way to navigate these complications?

3) Gamifying individual investmenst in Chaosmosis through a smart phone app that also operates according to affective principles. One idea is for an Affect Resonator that would prompt actions based on the registering of collective mood through the app, using a color system like that of the lure-o-meter. The prompts would have an element of humor or absurdity to avoid the system from being hectoring (details can be discussed if there is time and interest).

4) Is it possible to build more potentials for emergence directly into the code? Would these involve inducing glitches, injections of randomness, or automated pattern generation (or some combination of these)? Can nonhuman powers of surprise, amounting to a kind of machine-based intuition, be harnessed toward the creative work of the collective?