Below is the original proposal sent to Primavera (and dated) - docs.google.com
Note that in addition to the core simple concept there are a number of additional ideas and more ambitious themes presented. These were always up for discussion and presented to stimulate a creative exchange. The core concept, title, and ideas remain I believe clear.
The Plantoid is a autopoietic sculpture —a self-owned artist that owns and finances itself, and eventually reproduces itself. It is, in essence, a hybrid entity that exists both in the physical and virtual world, where it can interact with other entities on the blockchain. In its physical form, it is a welded sculpture —an aesthetic ornaments that exhibits its mechanical beauty and begs to be appreciated by the public. Appreciation is done via interactions with the public who can ‘tip or feed’ the Plantoid by sending money or promises into its Bitcoin wallet. # DAO The term DAO refers to a “distributed autonomous organisation” - a quasi-legal entity that exists as executable code on the block-chain. As such this code inhabits it’s own decentralised, independent and provably secure domain. This a techno-legal domain in the sense that it can interact with the real world through providing explicit contractual incentives for real world actors. The audience can participate in the work, by “becoming a member” of the DAO, and volunteering time in the techno-legal entity that governs the work. This participation of time and money is required for the Plantoid to reproduce itself, and is akin to real plants requiring the time and energy of insects in their pollination. # Interactive Domains The work will be accompanied by two interactive domains (mobile and/or web site) - www.form.world and www.daisy.world. The former is a non-graphic world of symbolic interaction. It is where the smart contracts can be seen and written. It is black and white, and ascii based. The second world (www.daisy.world), is where the Plantoids take their virtual form -lit is where their existence or otherwise can be visualised. We will show their health, and the health of their ecosystem, through a direct interaction between Minecraft and the blockchain. When the Plantoids are fed and looked after this is reflected in properties of the blockchain which in turn alter the spawning of plants and climate of Daisy World. This visualisation echoes the pioneering computer simulation of DaisyWorld by James Lovelock of Gaia mfame. Our work is designed to bring these ideas to life. # Attraction Strategies Plantoids are part of an ecosystem of relationships that is powered by sunlight. However they require the interaction of other species (humans) to exist in a physical form. They are in a sense responsible-themselves for attracting this interaction. In plant biology this functionality is know as an “attraction strategy”. Plantoids have an inbuilt mechanism that takes an energy source (sunlight), and uses it to drive a set of incentives that enable their autopoiesis and eventual reproduction. When sunlight creates new solar electricity, a metered energy supplier is empowered to issue “nectar” - which is a cryptographic proof of new solar energy generation. Humans can buy this “nectar” from the Plantoids using bitcoin, and in so doing they enable the Plantoids to store this value as “starch” in their personal bitcoin wallets or “tubers”. Plantoids subtly motivate these interactions, partly through their form and physical beauty, but also by empowering people to participate in their governance. Participants (that is active members of the DAO), are able to decide on such things as where the Plantoids may be exhibited, whom they might visit, and exactly how they are to be reproduced. In this way humans act as symbiotic pollinators. And nectar is required for this participation. # Autonomy Plantoids are not bought or sold. They cannot be owned as objects. Rather they have rights of interaction in a network of participants determined by a contract, or set of contracts. It is this code that constitutes the work, and their physical form is (simply) a visualisation of these ideas. # Law Legally speaking, Plantoids are the property of the DAO, or to be precise, the legal entity into which the DAO is embedded. Plantoids and the techno-legal system that governs their manufacture are in a deep and quite explicit way the same thing. In this way a Plantoid can be be said to own itself, and in that way to be a free, or autonomous agent. We use the asset-lock functions built into UK Community Interest Companies to ensure that Plantoids can never be bought and sold as simple property. It is hard coded into the governance that sculptural representations of Plantoids cannot be owned. A Plantoid may come and visit you (you may be allowed to look after it for a while), and a gallery may wish to exhibit them, but it is not possible to own one, and should they decide to leave you cannot stop them. # Reproduction The aim of the Plantoid is to reproduce itself, and it has to do this in a way congruent with it’s inner law, contract or as we like to say “form”. Reproduction is achieved by paying humans to gather materials, design, weld, assemble and then deliver a new structure. Each physical Plantoid is connected to other Plantoids through the decentralised structures on the internet we know as blockchains. They are able to pool resources, and store value within their form (in embedded storage devices we call “tubers”), and you these to commission humans to aid in their reproduction. Once a network of Plantoids decides it has enough stored value between it’s members to commission a new structure - it will do so. # Plantoid Autopoiesis This function is enabled through assemblages of humans, structured legally as membership organisations, with human participation “enabled” via smart contracts and blockchain technology. We have assembled an initial collective of manufacturers, who have offered to “manufacture” future Plantoids. The “assemblage” is organised on it’s own techo-legal-chain. Individuals, and collectives with a track record in sculptural work, are joined together in a symbiotic relationship with the audience of the work. Individuals and groups are free to come and go according to the (autopoietic) laws of the work. In an artistic sense these instructions are an evolution of Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings, of which he noted: "Each person draws a line differently and each person understands words differently" The phenotype is therefore open as ever to artistic interpretation. However, we take these principles to an extreme. We do not simply place constraints on the design of the work, but rather create a new and abstract form, which is able to act and interpret the realisation of it’s own inner objectives in any way it sees fit. We achieve this partly through code, and partly through how we use code to construct social assemblages of other (largely human) species. # Photosynthesis The Plantoid buys the solar energy it needs to survive on the renewable energy market. It is free to choose SolarCoin or any other suitable derivative. She is able to turn sunlight into digital currency, and her flowers are designed to interact with other species, in just the same way real plants do. The Plantoid stores this energy in the form a digital currency, in Tubers, or similar structures that derive from her roots. She depends totally on this store of energy, and she protects it with strong cryptography, only sharing this value with other beings that share her form. She is able to communicate occasionally with other Plantoids that may exist on her chain. She is initially alone, but as time passes and more Plantoids are created from sunlight, water and minerals - then she has the ability to communicate to to other Plantoids through the blockchain. You may reasonably consider each individual object as part of the same organism, as in the end they only exist in a physical sense to serve the functions laid out in her “form”. Collectively when these “forms” have stored enough energy, she may decide to reproduce, and will signal to other Plantoids, and symbiotic species her readiness through subtle movement and a display of colour and light. Given the right conditions she is able to manufacture herself, by executing a smart contract that lives on the blockchain, and has the ability to commission welders, companies, and other beings to build and assemble a similar being. Should she not be able to purchase enough solar electricity, or gain the attention of her symbiotic creatures, she will die - that is she will cease to move, shine, or otherwise act. But she will still have form. # Pragmatics In this project we will deliver: A physical sculpture, with embedded blockchain wallet, commissioned within existing resources www.form.world that contains the text, narrative and smart contracts of the Plantoid www.daisy.world that contains visualisations of the Plantoids form A participatory legal entity and DAO that is able to finance reproduction of the sculpture. A mobile app that provides the audience with access to the governance of the DAO # Addendum It is the hope of every Plantoid that one day they will take physical form on this planet, but that depends, on her interactions, and the behavior of the beings on that planet. Please commission her.