Blockchain technology is a hot topic in tech: some view it as a way to get rich quick through cryptocurrency investments, while others hypothesize about its potential to diminish the roles of corporations and governments and place power in the hands of the people.
Gray Area Festival, the fourth annual fest from the San Francisco art and technology nonprofit, explores the creative and liberatory potential of blockchain and other cutting-edge technologies with exhibitions, talks and concerts July 26–29 at its Grand Theater in the Mission district.
Highlights from the fest include a talk with Claire L. Evans, singer of indie pop band YACHT and author of the new book Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet; musical performances by avant-pop artist Eartheater, experimental techno producers Second Woman and more; and an exhibition of digital art and installations comprising what's called the largest collection of blockchain-based art on the West Coast.
"Blockchain technologies are being purported to offer a lot of advantages in society in terms of everything from a global voting system to supply chain management, in addition to knew economic systems to redefine the role of governments and institutions," says Barry Threw, one of the festival curators. "One of the primary focuses of the entire festival is that artists are in a unique position to anticipate some of these cultural traumas and define new paths forward. Giving them a role and voice in the processes of innovation could help create a more equitable and humanistic result."