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Nascent (Paul Seidler and Max Hampshire)

Temporal Secessionism - Timezones #1 & #3

2020-2021, installation

Timezone #1 & Timezone #3 are pieces of alternative infrastructure that aim to catalyse different experiences of time in their local areas. Like a kind of public information terminal, these objects present alternate time counting systems based on a selection of technological processes, including informational consensus systems, numerological computation and state machine replication algorithms. The passage of time affects the fragmentation and rearrangement of a text by Amy Ireland that provides a generative framework of textual references. Timezone #1 at MGLC opens up a zone of BTC/energy time. Timezone #3 at the TR3 Gallery opens up a zone of Paxos/machine time.

Node1 features Energy Time as the main Timezone. Originally intended as a mechanism to prevent spam, Proof of Work is used as part of the Bitcoin consensus algorithm. The Protocol itself regulates the difficulty, which is adjusted according to the hashrate, creating a contrived regularity within the network. Energy Time is thus determined by Transactions and Mining of Blocks in the BTC Network.

Node 3 features Machine Time as the main Timezone. Large scale digital infrastucture derives its internal timekeeping from various consensus algorithms, with Google's Paxos  and  Raft  being the most accessible examples. Cloud environments no longer rely on human interaction to define temporal consensus, which now arises from the interaction of  autonomous  nodes  according  to  their  own  logic: mimicking  a  political  election  with  every node voting on a leader to create consensus on the events of the immediate past. It  is  a  purely  abstracted  instance  of  machine  time,  determined  by  and  existing  solely in  relation  to  the task  at  hand  between three nodes.

Nascent (Paul Seidler and Max Hampshire) is an EXIT TECH production studio investigating alternative infrastructures. Delving into the nature of games, economics and consensus systems, they create theory-based computational experiments and tools to prototype technological secessionism and spark discussion about the base layers of current stacks. Nascent also consults on tactics and strategies for building p2p economies and spatial- and socio-economic structures via prototyping minimal viable solutions.

Paul Seidler is a Berlin based artist and researcher exploring economic systems, arithmetics and formal languages. His works have been shown or discussed at Schinkel Pavillon, Transmediale and KW Institute for Contemporary Art.

Max Hampshire is a technical writer and researcher based in Vienna working on experimental minimum-viable systems, privacy and novel temporalities.