Rarely do we think of blockchain as a medium of artistic expression.

But that’s what artists Maurice Benayoun, Tobias Klein and Nicolas Mendoza Leal have done with “Value of Values” (VoV), an experiment in blockchain-enhanced transactional art, described by its creators as a point when “transactional aesthetics meet neuro-design on the blockchain.”

Using electroencephalography and biofeedback, the work attempts to appraise human values by letting visitors use their brain waves to turn abstract concepts such as freedom, money, peace, love and power into three-dimensional images.

These images, in turn, are registered on the blockchain, convertible into Etherium. The visitor — i.e., the “Brain Worker” who shaped the image — becomes the owner of that image, which he or she can now sell or barter. And this is where, as an ethical entity, humanity gets to put its virtual money where its mouth is:

“The transaction is the only way to know the objective value of a given value.

If the owner of VOV’s “PEACE0404 + LOVE0002” decides to barter them for MONEY0088, he or she defines the relative value of all the involved values.

With thousands of similar transactions, we can monitor in real-time the relative value of human values, for one person, a region, a country, a continent. If the median price of MONEY (i.e. the median price of all minted MONEY tokens) is 3 ETH or 1200 USD and the median price of LOVE is 240 USD, we get a clear idea of the relative value of these values. The observation of the trading process produces a real-time monitoring of human values in their transactional milieu. VoV is at the same time a real currency, a critical metaphor of the art production narrative, and a dynamic reflection on its founding ontology.”

Benayoun told the Korean-language blockchain news site Blockinpress that he got the idea for the project from an automobile license plate auction in Hong Kong, where one of the license plates sold for one million dollars. Seeing this, he realized that transactions are only possible based on the subjective value of the object. He also hopes this exploration of the creation of value will promote understanding of blockchain by allowing art to express the complex technology in a more approachable way.

You can see “VoV” at the “Lux Aeterna” special exhibit for the 2019 International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA2019) at the Asia Culture Center in the southwestern city of Gwangju. Though the symposium runs from June 22 to 28, the exhibit continues through July 28. The special exhibit is organized by Art Center Nabi in Seoul.

Also in the Korea blockchain space…

  • Appetite for Blockchain Tech Builds Among Korean Banks, but Without Crypto
    (By Jee Abbey Lee, Cointelegraph) 
    Yes, Korea’s banks are embracing the chain, or at least the tech side of it, as part of a wider embrace of fintech. But they are much less enthusiastic about cryptocurrency. One of Korea’s biggest crypto influencers told Cointelegraph that this was largely because the government separates blockchain and cryptocurrency and supports only the former; some companies also use blockchain as a marketing tool rather than an actual solution. As banks adopt blockchain, however, interest in digital assets may increase, too.
  • Korea: Former Financial Regulator Deputy Governor to Serve as Blockchain Association Chief
    (By Marie Huillet, Cointelegraph) Oh Gap-soo, the former deputy governor of the Financial Supervisory Service, is set to become the next head of the Korea Blockchain Association. In addition to his extensive experience at some of Korea’s biggest financial institutions, Oh was also a financial policy advisor to current Korean President Moon Jae-in during his electoral campaign.
  • In a related column in the Korean-language blockchain news site Bchain, journalist Han Min-ok warns that while the appointment of a former heavyweight regulator could smooth communication with the government, the appointment of a few ex-bureaucrats to top positions alone won’t solve the blockchain industry’s problems. For that, the industry will need to do some self-reflection and get its house in order. The Korea Blockchain Association can do this by conducting surveys, punishing problem companies and more aggressively protecting consumers.
  • Korean Blockchain Industry Focuses on Young People in Southeast Asia (Korean)
    (By Moon Jeong-eun, Block Media) A number of Korean blockchain projects such as Terra, GroundX and BLOCORE (and ICON, for that matter, though not mentioned by name in the article) are showing a keen interest in the Southeast Asian market. Though the financial infrastructure in much of Southeast Asia lags behind, the region has a lot of young people in their 20s and 30s. Mobile usage is high, too, creating fertile ground for digital financial services and mobile payment solutions. Korean blockchain companies are taking an interest in the region’s rich pool of young developers, too.
  • Seoul Creates KRW 50 Billion Fund. Will Invest in Blockchain, 5G and AI (Korean)
    (By Sin Yong-su, Korea Blockchain News) Seoul Metropolitan Government has put together a KRW 50 billion fund to invest in so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” startups, including blockchain.
  • Five Cryptocurrency Exchanges Correct Unfair Terms and Conditions in Accordance with Fair Trade Commission Advisory (Korean)
    (Yonhap News) Five Korean cryptocurrency exchanges – including Bithumb, Korbit and Coinplug – have finally gotten around to changing their terms and conditions in accordance with a Fair Trade Commission advisory handed down in April of last year. Previously, the exchanges’ terms and conditions freed them from responsibility for transaction issues resulting from cyberattacks or system failures in the absence of malicious intent or a grave mistake on the part of the exchange. Now the exchanges recognize responsibility even if no malicious acts or mistakes took place. The Free Trade Commission had been planning to reinvestigate the exchanges and ordering them to make the changes, but now it looks like that won’t be necessary.