Art, Community, and the Blockchain
Like many public art installations, Tree of Ténéré is a testament to the power of community. A project on this scale succeeds only when artists, technologists, donors and participants around the world join together and will it to life.
We love our community, and we’re passionate about technologies that help communities like ours thrive. In particular, we believe that blockchain-based technology has the potential to profoundly enhance openness, trust, security and collaboration.
So we’re excited to share that, with your help, Tree of Ténéré will be running several blockchain nodes to keep a record of the contributions made by each member of our community, including YOU.
If you share our passion for community, public art, and/or emerging technologies like blockchain, we’re asking for your support. Read more below, and then please consider joining our community by making a donation of Bitcoin, ether or any other coin during this critical phase of development.
Donors will be invited to a special blockchain genesis ceremony on the playa, where we will record their contributions on the First Block and have a rockin' party beneath the tree. After making your donation, send an email to contact.tenere [at] gmail.com.
How we’re using blockchain
One of the things that makes Tree of Ténéré unique is its openness. By open-sourcing the control software, we made it possible for artists and technologists around the world to create unforgettable light art and interactive experiences for the tree’s 175,000 LEDs. The things they’re creating will amaze and inspire you. And by placing sensors in and around the tree, we’re inviting all participants - including those without technical or artistic training - to create light art using their voices, movements, and biorhythms.
Using blockchain, we’ll keep a public record of the light art that displays on Tree of Ténéré to memorialize and celebrate the contributions of artists, participants, and donors.
Whenever an artist’s light pattern is played on the tree, or a sensor outputs information (like a participant’s heartbeat) that influences that pattern, it will trigger a Smart Contract that writes relevant data to a blockchain residing on several nodes in and around the tree.
Like the rings of a tree, this blockchain will serve as an unalterable living history of this medium and an expression of gratitude to those who helped create it. In important ways, it is also a prototype of a blockchain-based royalty system, in which the act of streaming a piece of content executes a contract that gives some form of consideration to its creator.
What’s recorded on our blockchain
- Patterns and artwork that are played on the tree, including the pattern name, author, and timestamp
- Sensor data that influences the patterns on the tree (heartbeats, soundwaves, Muse data, etc). These are stored as hashed files on the blockchain using Mediachain.
- Donations made to support the project, including donor name and amount (unless anonymous)\
We will publish the details around our blockchain genesis ceremony and implementation on Github shortly and invite your collaboration this year and in the years to come.
This is just the beginning. In future years, we hope to expand our use of blockchain technology to educate our community on its broad implications. Imagine a leaf pendant that serves as a secure wallet and allows you to securely exchange contact information with people you meet on the playa, or “Ténéré tokens” awarded to artists, participants, and donors as an expression of gratitude for contributing to this medium. These are just some of the ways we believe the blockchain can be used to foster stronger communities and tackle ever-greater creative endeavors together. If you’re interested in learning more, check out From Bitcoin to Burning Man and Beyond: The Quest for Identity and Autonomy in a Digital Society, which includes contributions from members of our team.