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Heterochrony of Cryptocurrency

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Heterochrony of Cryptocurrency

Mining facilities require both fair amounts of electricity, and an infallible, mechanically controlled microclimate to operate. Nowadays the largest mining farms deploys in the post-industrial, post-soviet landscape of Bratsk in Irkutskaya Oblast, managing to avoid State control by a legal grey area, which allows it to provide physical space for mining operations. The power produced there is the cheapest in the country (1 rub/KBt) because of three hydroelectric stations: Irkutskaya, Bratskaya, Ust-Ulitskaya. The stations are owned by one of the largest producers of aluminium in the world. Melted aluminum has now solidified and has been actualized as large fans that cools mining hardware. Mining equipment produced in Estonia consists of technology-critical elements that once were buried in Siberian soil. Each transaction using cryptocurrency requires an always increasing, computationally and energetically demanding proof-of-work to be fulfilled. Computation, though ubiquitous,continuous, de-centralized and simultaneous, is geologically and materially site specified, triggering fossil fuel extraction,carbon emissions, and thermodynamic process.

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The work was made as a part of a workshop with Jussi Parikka

A Natural History of Logistics

Brief: The workshop illuminates how questions of modelling and epistemological framing have already hinted at questions that became later identified in advanced technological culture and discourses of terraforming but offer a more long-term view to what sort of non-human agency functions in the “elemental media” of air, soil, and geophysics. The media theoretical framework then, as promised, is to expand on the temporal and spatial scales of analysis, and offer an interface with contemporary topics in architecture. The seminar includes a proposal for *a natural history of logistics.* The focus is on mapping the essential links between earth materialities and multiscalar mediations in ways that offers the media theoretical, at times also historical, at times speculative angle to Pierre Belanger’s call that emerges in architecture. For Belanger “Landscape infrastructure is a live index and indeterminate interface of hard technological systems and soft biophysical processes by design.”, implying the as essential task of mapping those interfaces from the point of view of biophysics as well as geochemistry.

Hence, for natural history of logistics, think of seeds and irrigation systems, water flows and biomass, think of the multiple scales which touch on “different processes and patterns that are either digital or physical, automated or mechanical, live or lived” (Belanger). Think of mediatic systems that map how such models of media emerge; how they might already be incorporated in examples of natural formations (where, we use the word “natural” only as a historical remnant, a placeholder, while actually sketching elements of how to understand the artificial).

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