What is an Anarchive?
and what does it have to do with DAOs?
- The anarchive is best defined for the purposes of the Immediations project as a repertory of traces of collaborative research-creation events. The traces are not inert, but are carriers of potential. They are reactivatable, and their reactivation helps trigger a new event which continues the creative process from which they came, but in a new iteration.
- Thus the anarchive is not documentation of a past activity. Rather, it is a feed-forward mechanism for lines of creative process, under continuing variation.
- The anarchive needs documentation – the archive – from which to depart and through which to pass. It is an excess energy of the archive: a kind of supplement or surplus-value of the archive.
- Its supplemental, excessive nature means that it is never contained in any particular archive or documentation element contained in an archive. It is never contained in an object. The anarchive is made of the formative movements going into and coming out of the archive, for which the objects contained in the archive serve as springboards. The anarchive as such is made of formative tendencies; compositional forces seeking a new taking-form; lures for further process. Archives are their waystations.
- Since it exceeds the archive and is uncontainable in any single object or collection of objects, the anarchive is by nature a cross-platform phenomenon. It is activated in the relays: between media, between verbal and material expressions, between digital and off-line archivings, and most of all between all of the various archival forms it may take and the live, collaborative interactions that reactivate the anarchival traces, and in turn create new ones.
- The anarchive pertains to the event. It is a kind of event derivative, or surplus-value of the event. This makes it an essential element of the Immediations project, whose stated aim has been to develop an approach to research-creation as a practice of interdisciplinary event design, or to quote the original application, as the practice of creating innovative “platforms for organizing and orienting live, collaborative encounters.”
- Approached anarchivally, the product of research-creation is process. The anarchive is a technique for making research-creation a process-making engine. Many products are produced, but they are not the product. They are the visible indexing of the process’s repeated taking-effect: they embody its traces (thus bringing us full circle to point 1).
The SenseLab’s Immediations project as been working with the Economic Space Agency to conceive of a DAO based on anarchival principles. ECSA, judging our project the most innovative of the ones they are working with, has put its systems development team at our disposal (a key member of the core ECSA team participated in “Distributing the Insensible”). The “Adventure Capital” DAO will be a digital research-creation platform whose particular creative micro-economy will hinge on the movement between online collaborative project development and the actualization of the projects in offline events. The creation of value will occur when anarchival traces are culled from live events and returned to the online platform, to enter an ever-expanding digital anarchive. Value will also be created when a movement occurs between the repertory of anarchival traces and the distillation of one of its affordances into a well-honed process seed that expands the techniques available for research-creation. Connections between different anarchival elements will be made using metadata tags. In addition, autonomous algorithms and bots with different “personalities” will trawl the anarchive to create links among the anarchival elements, and between them and the process seed bank. Their role will be to make connections and combinations that may prove fertile, and contribute creative impetus.
The Adventure Capital DAO will be part of an ecology of other creative “economic spaces,” each with their own specific DAO operating according to its own principles, in its own field of concern. This ecology will be designed in such a way that the success of each member economic space adds value to the others (yielding an assets-based economy of cooperation rather than the dominant debt-based economy of competition). A new cryptocurrency called Agoric, to be launched in April 2017, will underwrite the individual economies.
The hope of the Immediations project is to develop an anarchival DAO as a template for a creative research-creation. The platform will be open source, and will be offered to other organisations, starting with our Immediations community partners, for adaptation to their particular needs. The goal is to provide a tool for creative collaboration that will enable projects to be more self-sustaining, reducing their need for government grant money or foundation funding, and replacing traditional crowd-funding strategies, which are rapidly losing their effectiveness.