Annual Workshop 2023

Digital Biedermeier – or Radical Democratic Utopia?
NFTs as Interfaces of Cryptocurrencies

October 5, 2023 in Berlin / Hamburg / Zoom

Venue Berlin
Cluster of Excellence
Matters of Activity. Image Space Material
Humboldt-University Berlin
Sophienstrasse 22a
10178 Berlin

Venue Hamburg
HAW Hamburg, Department Design
Armgartstr. 24, AULA (A 218)
22087 Hamburg

Organizers: Prof. Mirjam Schaub (HAW Hamburg), Prof. Markus Rautzenberg (Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen), Dr. Johannes Bennke (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Sebastian R. Richter, M.A. (University of Regensburg)

The end of the concept of the auratic original and everything connected with it („magical“ thinking, cult of relics, cult of genius, authorship as individual self-empowerment, etc.) already takes place in terms of media technology with the printing of books and the possibility of potentially infinite reproduction. This is then further increased and cemented with photography and the computer. Today, 1:1 reproducibility in the computer makes the concept of the „original“ ontologically meaningless. What happens now when, through blockchain technology and the NFTs based on it, this media-technical a priori of lossless reproducibility is forced back into its opposite, namely singular originality, with an enormous expenditure of energy? Is it a matter of a rollback that resists the inherent logic of digital media in order to restore the stamp of the original in the service of mercantile usability as „in the good old days“? Or, in the course of a calculatedly playful entry into cryptocurrencies as the quintessence of platform capitalism, is it a matter of digital signability, emblem effect, and bragging-values? What are we to make of the utopia of radically democratic decision-making beyond human fallibility when, with the help of artificial intelligence, NFTs are used as share certificates and voting tokens in so-called ‚DAOs‘, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations? Is the radicalization of ownership of what is actually unownable not also an expression of a potlatch that links social recognition to extreme forms of contempt such as waste (of computer capacities and thus of resources)?

All events will take place in Berlin, except for the panel discussion at 5 p.m. and the NFT performance at 7 p.m., which will take place in Hamburg and will be live streamed.

To receive a Zoom-Link and a reader for the workshop, please send an email to:


10.00 - 10.30 
Welcoming Remarks & Introduction
Prof. Dr. Mirjam Schaub, 
HAW Hamburg, Dept. Design (Hamburg)
Prof. Dr. Markus Rautzenberg, 
Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen
Dr. Johannes Bennke, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Sebastian R. Richter, M.A., University of Regensburg

10.30 - 11.30 
Aesthetics in the Age of Decentralised Trust
Dr. Laura Lotti, Penny Rafferty
Moderator: Dr. Johannes Bennke

11.30 - 11.45 Coffee Break

11.45 - 12.45 
How to Make Art in the Age of Algorithms
Jonas Lund

Fractionalized art – how digital art works can perform as 
an entity in a diversified society
Victoria Hilsberg
Moderator: Prof. Mirjam Schaub (Hamburg)

12.45 - 14.00 Lunch Break

14.00 - 15.00 
How I Learned to Love the Market
Sarah Friend

Monetary Policy and Blockchain Art
Paul Seidler
Moderator: Dr. Johannes Bennke

15.00 - 15.15 Coffee Break

15.15 - 16.15
Towards an Affordance Theory of Blockchain-Enabled Digital
Dr. Martin Zeilinger

An „exciting and terrifying" Future - How the Web3 could reshape 
Emergency Services
Dr. Laura Niebling
Moderator: Prof. Dr. Markus Rautzenberg

16.15 - 16.30 Coffee Break

16.30 - 17.00 
Reading the Reader. Group Discussion
All Participants (Berlin, Hamburg, Zoom)

17.00 - 18.00 
Opening Pandoras Box of Crypto Economics: What about 
Scams, Drugs, Weapon Deals and Heat Death?
Panel: Prof. Dr. Martin Doll, Anika Meier (Hamburg)
Moderator: Prof. Dr. Mirjam Schaub (Hamburg)

18.00 - 18.30 
Prof. Dr. Mirjam Schaub, Prof. Dr. Markus Rautzenberg, Dr. 
Johannes Bennke, Sebastian R. Richter (Berlin, Hamburg, Zoom)

White Tank Flag
NFT-Performance with students from the Department of Design 
(HAW Hamburg), invited artists and a true fake tank in white coat