Decentralised Autonomous Organisation
Blockchain Prototype

On 25 Feb 2021, MetaObjects presented as part of The DAOWO Sessions, Ensembl, a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) using blockchain technologies to reflect upon questions of value, stake, roles, work, collectivity and sharing in an interdisciplinary context of contemporary music-making. Ensembl seeks to ask the questions:

  • How should value be shared and revenue be distributed in complex collaborative projects?
  • How do we define stakeholders and objects, and how value is attributed?
  • How do we seed an ecosystem with resources without dictating its structure?

The project, initiated by Samson Young together with MetaObjects and Dr. Massimiliano Mollona, presents an outline for applying blockchain technologies to collectively manage roles, resources, decision-making within multi-disciplinary artistic collaborations. The DAOWO Initiative is a partnership between the Goethe-Institut London, Furtherfield/DECAL and Serpentine Galleries.

In the presentation, we provided the conceptual and technical framework and its theoretical implications. Improvisation is taken as the content and analogy for ways of organising artistic practices. The score in music composition is taken as a starting point for how projects may be performed, adapted and reinterpreted in the on-going flow of practice. In this way, the work is continuously evolving and taking new forms, where the concept of individual authorship moves towards sets of collective and processual activities. Aspects of labor include research, administration, and technical development are also considered as part of the production process. Ensembl raises questions of authorship and collective forms of artistic production, where objects are never stable or static, but constantly being made, (re)performed, (re)distributed bringing new life to a work.

Following this presentation, on 22 Jan 2022, MetaObjects presented Ensembl as part of the Radical Friends: Online DAO Summit for Decentralisation of Power and Resources in the Art World at Haus der Kunst, Munich. Ensembl is also featured in the Radical Friends: Decentralised Autonomous Organisations and the Arts book, edited by Ruth Catlow and Penny Rafferty and published by Torque Editions in July 2022.

How it Works

Participants enter the project to create an Ensembl and are asked to vote on the bylaws of the DAO. Participants can log work as activities contributing to the project on the blockchain. Participants may place requests for everyone to vote on including how budgets and stake are allocated and when a project is considered complete. Propagators such as curators, promoters and agents may also become a participant by contributing opportunities to present and distribute the work in exchange for a stake in the project. Proceeds from sales and performances are distributed to the participants at the end of the project as dividends. An amount of proceeds will remain in the project to allow it to continue. Participants may leave the project by cashing out their stake, while other participants may choose to continue the collaboration or create their own Ensembl as a forking of the initial project.