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Diffractions Collective

The Convexity of Stranded Futures

How  movements such as competition, synergy or exit from various Modernities that carry the refrain of the 20th century, serve as enabling templates or seductive assimilations for productive visions of the future? How speculation and abduction devolve into the vulgar ideology of futurism, and issuch a course indeed inevitable? Do speculative visions predicated on abductive logic inevitably have to become a commoditized item intended to be cashed out through reappropriation, thus feeding the closed circuit of Capitalism-as-perpetuum mobile?

In order to illustrate the ways capital infiltrates contemporary visions, we can come to grasp Modernity as a site where time itself became understood as either a gamble or hedge against specific ‘options’ of the future. Drawing on the financial instrument of options, we ask how this tool operates as a mechanism to either lock down or unlock specific spaces of possibilities. Finance thus becomes a liquid and distributed battleground for the competition of futures. This competition is however no longer a dialectical spectacle tending towards the conspiratorial construct of an absolute One, but rather a chaosmos of agonistic, symbiotic, commensal or parasitic part-objects. The relationship between liquidity within capital markets and the instrument of ‘options’ assumes the possibility to revise our understanding and notion of strategy.

Speculation in this sense opposes the locking up of Capital as an oligopolistic or monopolistic hyper-accumulation in the form of monopolized assets or closed-source fixed capital. Through an arguable democratization of finance, the means of reinforcing the option of diverse futures seem to be at hand. These investments can be anarchic and syndicalist, socially activist or beneficial to historical justice movements that attempt to seek the neuralgic points for redeeming an unfulfilled project, or indeed for drafting a relatively new one. 

Robert Meister notes that ‘A justice option would be exercised by a revolution that would bring about an event of disaccumulation, namely, the illiquidity of capital markets’ that arise on the arc of convexity, particularly through the seizing of events that have become enabled and exercised through the effectuation of ‘optioning’ at the right moment. Globalized financial capital has the ability to purchase or open an ‘option’ that affords the means to counter and differentially shape the social and economic landscape which might be misaligned with the maxim of the maximization of profit. 

What are the new, better futurisms afforded by distributed and liquid grassroots investment projects, such as cryptocurrency DAOs, and how can these become critical indexes for calculating or hedging against the social fabric? Join us in this wager, and we will harvest the gains unlocked in the turmoil of an increasingly precarious and turbulent world.

Emerging in 2013 as a platform for critical discussion on art and algorithm, Diffractions Collective now labors at the intersection of art and philosophy, focusing mainly on philosophy of technology, dromology, governance, semiotic economy, and conflict. After holding events at the Školská 28 gallery in Prague, in the spring of 2016 the Collective relocated their activities to the Display z.s. gallery. Since then, it has become a platform for contemporary theory and praxis, mobilizing assemblages of artists, writers, coders and thinkers in the wider CEE region.