How I Learned to Love the 💣
“[Accursed Share] might be, possibly other than Urbit, the only other sort of NFT project that’s not just about reifying things in a Thomas Kinkade fashion.”
Barrett Avner, Contain
Before we resume our usual programming, I’d like to make a small announcement. The project that became the now too-real Accursed Share began in March of this year, concurrently almost to the day with my husband’s diagnosis of leukaemia.
By mid-August, our first effort, Curse NFT, is finally ready to launch. I deem this a signal accomplishment, not merely because I was able to usher something new into the world at my worst and darkest, but because the nerve and courage it has taken us to pull this off, as a group spread out at one point over three cities, has been nothing short of unbelievable.
When I first joined this project, my decision to do so was met with considerable skepticism. The space was “unserious” / an unworthy use of my time. That it posed reputational risk was implied: it would be best to step away from the edge, while you still can, before you are forever tainted by suspicions of having broken bad. The implication was clear: if you fail, you will be embarrassed; if you succeed, you will be delegitimised.
So of course I had to follow through with it. When faced with this kind of decision, I will always choose the prong that points towards the better story.
It has been a wild ride, insofar as—at least to me, as a partner—being able to contribute to Accursed Share has involved something tantamount to learning a new language (one I perhaps will continue to speak with a marked foreign accent, even as my knowledge of its grammar notably improves).
By the end of this month, Accursed Share will have managed something quite difficult: to imagine, and to execute, the world’s first decentralised dynamic NFT to a staggering high standard.
It will also have successfully restored at least one aura, something I postulated as a thought experiment at the very start of this adventure, to great collegial distaste. I may not be the sharpest reader, but I am an extraordinarily perverse one, and it was Benjamin, as much as Bataille, who informed this project for me. When, at the end of The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Benjamin writes that “[h]umanity’s self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order,” he was discussing Futurism—but also, if perhaps unknowingly, our own futurity.
The (second) Cambrian explosion of NFTs has been distinctly creative-destructive, and the fact that, in the wake of Covid, its wastefulness is framed and justified in terms of sovereignty—as opposed to earlier modern values like autonomy, or purity—is not just on-the-nose: it hints towards the possible resurgence of something akin to cultic art. The urgency of the medium—and of the moment—is not logical, but necessary. The solar economy is not about panels, but potlatch. And if the purpose of crypto is transvaluation, its endgame is governance. Though the space is all-too-easily dismissed as ‘fascist’—with cryptoart, particularly, leading “politics downstream from culture”—it behooves anyone interested in the present and future of statecraft to acknowledge crypto as the original—and maybe only—21st century populism.
I am deeply grateful to my partners, John and Charlie, for the opportunity they’ve given me to explore this space, and for how much I’ve learned and will surely continue to learn by their side. I am also grateful to Alonso for encouraging me to do something affirmative—perhaps catastrophically so—to counter the force that is threatening his life, but not our happiness, our creativity, our love, and our sense of what is possible.
In one of our recent conversations, Alonso said that, to endure prolonged terror, one must transform or forget. He is able to forget sometimes. I never can, so I must change, or be-come / over-come myself, a d[r]yad.
Accursed Share is not only the most audacious intellectual undertaking of my life, it is also the most literary, to the extent that writing is technology. In that light, what I am doing through Accursed Share is modelling the role of the contemporary writer. The novel isn’t dead, it’s just no longer novel—but ποίησις? That is an all-together different matter.
The details of the auction are here: https://accursedshare.art/curse-nft-auction/.
Thank you for your patience and support through katabasis. There’s a way to go still.
Your accursed shareholder,