The Decentralized Autonomous Kunstverein (DAK) is an art association inspired by developments in blockchain technology and the unique Kunstverein tradition of non-profit art associations in Germany. Being a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), the DAK will be a net-based organization that is directed and funded by its members on a voluntary basis, without a permanent space or home jurisdiction, initiating projects however and wherever on the globe its members decide. The organization’s mission is to promote experimental approaches to creating and curating contemporary art, exploring the potential of decentralized collective work within the context of contemporary art and technology. To fulfill this purpose, the members of the DAK will collectively work to finance and curate exhibitions, screenings, performances and related programming.
The DAK will operate on transparent communication, decision making and execution of all operations in a direct democratic structure without any central judicature, geographically oriented or otherwise. In doing so, the DAK will not rely on the laws of any state or central authority, nor recognize itself as a part of any jurisdiction beyond its diffused membership. Juridical systems that rule over a particular locale where physical exhibitions or other events take place will be considered temporary and contextual to that specific event and cannot apply to the totality of the organization itself. In keeping with these values, the DAK does not seek to license or copyright any content produced by or for the organization and supports fair use, open source values and the right to artistic appropriation. Internally, the DAK bylaws will function primarily as focal points for behavior, rather than relying on enforcement through coercion or policing. A meritocratic system will secure individual member voting rights through the contribution of work in addition to, or in lieu of, monetary support. The DAK will operate on the values of individual sovereignty, decentralized collective governance and non-coercion, though it remains open to diverse economic, political and ideological positions within membership and with potential partner organizations and institutions.
The DAK will utilize Project Aragon’s DAO building set to create a decentralized cooperative entity that is accessible globally on the Ethereum network. All voting on primary operations, such as exhibition proposals, financial operations and proposals to change the bylaws, will be conducted as an open, transparent and auditable on-chain transaction. Further, the organization will make use of a variety of other platforms to conduct its operations, including Slack for internal communication, GitBook for bylaw amendments and Are.na for exhibition proposal documents and collective research. Key concerns will be addressed through collective discourse and voting.
Decision Making as a DAO
The DAK will make use of a calibrated token voting mechanism realized with Aragon and other Smart Contract Dapps as soon as technically feasible. During the proto-phase the DAK will discuss and test a variety of mechanisms.
A starting point will be a non-transferable merit token (MRT) giving weight to the votes of the holders. MRT is earned in two ways:
- by working for the DAK
- by providing monetary contributions to the DAK
The first option to earn MRT is by being useful to the DAK, i.e. doing work as an artist, curator, writer, designer, developer, DAK representative or as a member of the DAK coordinating board. These MRT tokens are minted via a biannual allocation proposal made by the coordinating board following the allocation guidelines stated in the DAK bylaws and approved or denied via a vote by the whole DAK. The second way will give MRT to monetary contributors in an exponentially decreasing fashion with an annual reset of the return function. MRT is non-transferable and non-consumable, therefore the most voting power accrues for long term DAK members providing work consistently over time. To combat an oligarchy of an inactive but high voting established, a percentage of all MRT being in existence for more than one year is slashed on an annual cycle.
Potential forms of the DAK
There will be four key elements for producing virtual and physical manifestations of the DAK’s projects:
- DAK Representative: a person helping to onboard new DAK members at a physical or virtual location. Representatives will be awarded merit-tokens.
- Onboarding Locality: A desk, booth, corner, bar counter or web platform with a DAK representative providing information about the DAK and helping interested people to join.
- Node: Every space, physical or virtual, that is providing an Onboarding Locality.
- Full Node: Every space, physical or virtual, that is hosting a DAK show or event and is providing an Onboarding Locality.