Eric founded Normcorp — a speculative startup dealing with art that lives on the blockchain: "... a premiere post-digital lifestyle brand ... We create re-materialized art objects for the discerning modern collector."
Why blockchain? How did you get interested in the technology? What might you say to folks who wonder about the intersection of art and technology? Your future with it?
My interest in the blockchain originates from the idea that it provides new ways of doing stuff. What stuff? From democratic voting to privacy to economies that re-distribute wealth and offer new ways of creating value. In theory this technology can put power back in the hands of regular people. While we see the exact opposite of this happening right now, the blockchain as a subset of distributed technology provides avenues to think critically about what we are doing and why.
What distributed technologies offer is a space where a new types of exchange can be prototyped; one that can shape with the needs and desires of the 'whole' rather then a small community of financial insiders and gatekeepers.
My work is about pushing the boundaries of what is possible in thinking about these emerging systems. In this way, the role of the artist is acting as a critical voice as we make decisions about what type of world we want to live in going forward.
Eric Barry Drasin (American) is a research-based artist exploring the relationship between art and systems of value. Through emerging blockchain technologies, Eric creates digital or “distributed” processes, objects, and organizations and that problematize and reprogram fundamental assumptions about how value is constructed and disseminated.
In 2017 Eric founded Normcorp, a speculative blockchain startup dealing with art that lives on the blockchain:
"We're starting a startup. We value value. Normcorp is the premiere post-digital lifestyle brand; a platform for the creation of luxury distributed objects, rare and beautiful contracts, and collectible companies. We create re-materialized art objects for the discerning modern collector."
The blockchain is a distributed ledger technology used for accounting digital currencies, such as Bitcoin. As the technology develops, there are emerging features allowing for the currency to become programmable, and for legal contracts to be programmed around the currency. The automation of legal contracts and currency exchange lowers the cost for these transactions to occur, and negates the need for a mediating party.
Eric uses contracts and legal frameworks as material for injecting collectivity, cooperation and utopian absurdity into systems designed to consolidate power. One of the vehicles for this is the technology startup. In this way, by embodying the technology startup and realizing it as a sculptural art object, the work serves to “disrupt” the forces of disruption and subvert the biases of digital capitalism.
Eric’s work is rooted in media ecology and performance. Using experimental media techniques and custom software systems, Eric’s performances and installations have explored how media can transform relationship. Sound and video is often projected into the environment creating immersive and interactive experiences. Groups of creative technologist will often perform together, utilizing scores as speculative models of utopian space.
Eric has performed nationally using custom interactive audiovisual systems.
His recent project, Diggers, is a series of expanded video scores about failed cybernetic utopias. Through the use of networked media, aleatoric score, and performative feedback, Realtime media is contextualized as an interdependent and fluctuating psychic space; an extension bridging interior and exterior awareness. In this way, the mediated relationship between self and other can be sculpted through signal processing.
Eric founded a video art collective called the Fast Food Collective in 2012, and has been curating realtime media performances in NYC since 2013. He has worked as a curator through Culturehub/LaMama, Outpost Artists Resources, Secret Project Robot and other spaces in NYC. In 2016, Eric co-founded Moving Pictures Gallery, a platform for digital art. In 2017, Eric founded and produced the Confetti Machine Realtime Media Festival.