Doomsday Blockchain

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After the calamity when computer networks went down, all centralised data was suddenly lost. All that remained was the Bitcoin blockchain that we found copied on all the computers we recovered. 

People had recorded their lives in the margins of Bitcoin transactions because they knew the blockchain could not be altered and would likely survive forever. They recorded their prayers and wedding vows, wishes and messages to the future and memorials for the dead. 

In the same way as the Domesday book became a record of life in the 11th century, the Doomsday Blockchain is now the only record of life in the 21st century.

We are a group of researchers trying to uncover this hidden history by digging through these records. We built a wooden totem for the blockchain in Cambridge that will speak these messages and become a repository of our history. Our goal is an idiosyncratic ‘anarchaeology’ that focuses on “attractions, sensations, events, or phenomena that create a stir and draw our attention; these demand to be portrayed in such a way that their potential to stimulate can develop and flourish” (Zielinski 2006, p. 34)

Zielinski, S., 2006. Deep Time of the Media: Towards and Archaeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technical Means. MIT Press.

We need your help to sort through the quarter of a million messages and review their meaning. Your findings will be spoken aloud over 8 channels at the memorial totem in Cambridge for all to hear. 

The ‘Love’ category includes wedding and valentine messages. ‘Adverts’ promotes crypto currencies and tech products. ‘Tales’ reflects on culture and politics while ‘Hello World’ lists technical tests and proofs of work. ‘Memorials’ voices eulogies for the dead, while ‘Poetry’ are lyrical descriptions of life. ‘Shout Out’ contains messages to the future of humanity and ‘Faith’ relates expressions of belief.

  • INSTRUCTIONS:
  • Scroll - to see the 260,000+ messages that will load as you scroll down. The repository starts in 2009, with the message "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks" inserted by Nakamoto Satoshi the creator of Bitcoin. Enter the repository now >
  • Search - enter any text to search the message repository (case sensitive).
  • Filter - use pre-made tags from the MFTM project to filter the messages. Tags are visible on the left under messages that have been tagged.
  • Categorise - you can see if a messages has already been categorised from the text on the right. You can click on a message to assign it to one of the eight channels by picking from the dropdown menu. The aim is identify the most interesting messages and avoid technical detritus and repetitive texts. 
  • Speak - click on the speaker icon next to the message to play it back. For unasigned messages, select a voice in the message editor. Explore the diversity of voices speaking the messages and match the voices with the message so that Italian texts are spoken by Italian voices.
Mobirise

Doomsday Blockchain Exhibition

12th - 22nd April 2019
The DDBC totem was exhibited outside Cambridge Junction amongst a village of pavilions containing interactive and immersive artworks that explore our relationship with emerging technology. Commissioned and produced by Collusion.

DDBC

DDBC are an art collective Christian Nold, James Stevens, Daniela Boraschi & Alexei Blinov

Find us socialising on twitter, or contact email.

Special thanks: Dermot Finn our co-developer, Volkan Dill for development and production hosting at exn.co.uk, Jake and John for generous pi!

Commission

The project was commissioned and produced by Collusion

For Press inquiries, please contact Clare Green, Project Manager (Comms) via email: clare@collusion.org.uk or 01223 403345

Resources

The opensource code is available on Github and associated WIKI.

This research has been made possible with open resources, not least the Messages from the Mines (MFTM) project.