Cointemporary.com is an artist-run platform for showcasing a single work by an artist for ten days at a time, or until the work is sold. One of the defining features of the site is that it sells work for Bitcoin only. This feature allows Cointemporary to free the art exhibited from the currently dominant monetary system in which contemporary art now finds itself, and to point the way to other possibilities. Bitcoin remains a highly volatile and controversial new (crypto-) currency, to which Cointemporary draws a parallel with the valuation of contemporary art. Furthermore, Bitcoin represents a decentralized online payment network and a new form of autonomy in the global financial system that does not yet exist in a similar way in the art world.
These interests are related to many of those found in Armen Avanessian’s concept text for Tomorrow Today, as well as the general theme of art and capital. Indeed, it is a strategy of Cointemporary’s to use Bitcoin to suggest an alternative way of conceiving of value in contemporary art and a way to embed art in a potentially very liberating economic model. Of particular interest here is the Blockchain, a digital distributed ledger, which underwrites the transaction history of the crypto-currency by uniquely encoding every transaction. One exceptionally liberating potentiality is how this technology could be used to free us of bank’s hegemonic financial cycle. Indeed, the very possibility of Bitcoin or some other yet-to-come payment method frees us to reflect on the very idea of an “exhibition” space and how we view art. Will galleries fall by the wayside, as paper dollars and euros likely will, or will they just morph into something new? Working with cycles along other lines, for Cointemporary is partnering with Christine König Galerie for curated by_Vienna 2015 to show a series of works that are loosely associated with the idea of reflection and the cyclical nature of our interaction with capital. What do we see when we look back at ourselves and our relation to art and capital?
What do we see when we look back at the moment of making? These reflective moments will happen in an exhibition space freed from the normal confines of a “curated” show, and will offer the opportunity for visitors and viewers to experience a possible future.