Rhea Myers

A grid of coloured squares, each row representing a Bitcoin transaction.

Blockchain Aesthetics, 2014-2015, HTML5 and JavaScript

Visualizing Bitcoin (and other blockchain) transaction hashes and block hashes as the content of modernist and postmodernist aesthetics.

What was a trickle is now a flood. The amount of information that blockchains process is incredible, each transaction representing some (ultimately) human-initiated action with meaning we can often only guess at. The volume and rhythms of these transactions contrasts with the slower and ultimately more regular procession of the blocks they are gathered in to.

To be able to see that information, to get a feel for its flow, may be a kind of landscape art. Or a kind of very minor history painting. To restore the information that these aesthetics have historically excluded may be a kind of kitsch, or misplaced jouissance. Or a recognition that these aesthetics were always haunted by the limits of depiction and what they exclude to reach them.