[PIG] Footprints: Beat a Path from Platform Capitalism to Decentralized Art Infrastructure

Footprints: Beat a Path from Platform Capitalism to Decentralized Art Infrastructure

Team member names

ZYS (You-Sheng Zhang)


Short summary of your improvement idea

Live events constantly occur worldwide, where people connect and create meaning in physical spaces. Let’s focus on the field of art, especially exhibition and performance. Audiences get tickets through platforms to attend events and share their feedback on social media afterward.

However, it’s challenging for creators to know what past events the audiences have attended. Ticketing platforms mainly provide ticket sales numbers for each single event and participant contact information. But without receiving explicit consent of the audience, they could face privacy issues, then making it hard for creators to understand participant types and identify the true target audiences. Traditional methods like on-site questionnaires have not been very effective.

On social media, creators face challenges in identifying the actual participants. As individuals, audiences find it difficult to gather and understand each other’s tastes. Even though social media allows for group creation, connecting with others who attended the same event can be problematic. Because either everyone can create groups, leading to an oversaturation of groups with similar themes, or only a few can create groups, making it difficult for others to find and join them.

Ticketing platforms and social media—focusing on “pre-event” qualifications and “post-event” reactions, respectively—act as barriers between creators and audiences, but gain much profit from both of them. How can we create a more direct connection between them, allowing creators to access audiences’ “footprints” to analyze their preferences, and enabling audiences to connect more easily based on shared experiences?

We believe the focus should be on the “present” moment of live events, rather than their precedents or aftermaths. If records can be made at that moment, allowing audiences to leave footprints without privacy concerns, the aforementioned issues could be alleviated.

What is the existing target protocol you are hoping to improve or enhance? Eg: hand-washing, traffic system, connector standards, carbon trading.

Ticketing System; Social Media; POAP (Proof of Attendance Protocol); CRM (Customer Relationship Management); Gen Art (Generative Art); Creation; Art Ecosystem.

What is the core idea or insight about potential improvement you want to pursue?

To establish a more direct connection between creators and audiences, we’re leveraging blockchain technology as the underlying infrastructure to provide proof of attendance (POA) for participants in the art ecosystem.

We plan to collaborate with creators or their teams to issue non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that represent the nature of live events or artworks. These tokens will be available for collection only at the events through QR codes or NFC technology. Thanks to the encryption inherent in blockchain, when participants collect, their personal information remains undisclosed, yet the “footprints” become open data. Over time, this data will accumulate, becoming a valuable reference. Based on this, we aim to implement the following:

For creators: After understanding the needs of art creators and their teams, we will analyze this data and establish visual indicators for creators in an understandable manner. With a better grasp of audience footprints, they’ll have a solid foundation for customer relationship management (CRM).

For the ecosystem: We’ll collaborate with generative artists, using this data as parameters for producing generative art (Gen Art). As the data comes from audience footprints each single event, it continuously accumulates and parameters evolve, the artwork is a co-creation process and will dynamically develop alongside the evolution of the art ecosystem, reflecting current live event participation. The snapshot of the Gen Artworks is valuable.

For participants: Since the attendance proofs will contain specific tags related to the event or type of art, participants will technically be able to connect with each other easily. We will encourage them to gradually form decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) based on different art types.

The POA/NFTs audience collects and the snapshot of the Gen Artworks reflecting the ecosystem would be the proof of impact of all the participants in the ecosystem. Once there are funds willing to invest or purchase, such proofs will become an element of retrospective fundraising, paving a new path outside the existing art ecosystem’s grant and subsidy system.

What is your discovery methodology for investigating the current state of the target protocol? Eg: field observation, expert interviews, historical data analysis, failure event analysis

Both members of our team are from Taiwan and have worked in the art field in East Asia for over ten years. Ssshihtung is a contemporary art curator, and ZYS (You-Sheng Zhang) is a performance critic. Our approach to identify current issues stems from long-term observation and engagement, during which we’ve interviewed numerous creators and audiences.

Moreover, influenced by the decentralizing ethos of the blockchain domain over the past five years, we’ve participated in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) in East Asia, actively collected a wide range of generative art pieces, and operated our own team: Volume DAO. We believe that integrating the spirit and technology of blockchain into the art ecosystem can help address some of the challenges it faces.

In what form will you prototype your improvement idea? Eg: Code, reference design implementation, draft proposal shared with experts for feedback, A/B test of ideas with a test audience, prototype hardware, etc.

We’ll base our prototype on the technology of POA, using a web frontend as the user interface and scanning or touch interactions as the focal point for user experience. Because the whole setup focuses on the art field and provides analyzed data creators need, it can be understood as a "Layer 2 of POAP”, where the proof of attendance is “curated.”

How will you field-test your improvement idea? Eg: run a restricted pilot at an event, simulation, workshop, etc.

As mentioned earlier, this project heavily depends on audience participation and the accumulation of data. According to the evolution of the art ecosystem, at least a year of testing is necessary. We can measure this period in “weeks” and “months,” as the former corresponds to the performance cycles of small to medium-sized performing arts, while the latter can align with the exhibition cycles of visual arts.

Fortunately, we’re already in discussions with performing arts teams who are interested in organizing awards voted on by the audience. Which audience members have the right to vote and select their preferred creators or teams? This is evidently linked to the number of “footprints” they’ve left within a specific timeframe. The “Audience Choice Award” could significantly expedite the validation process for this project.

Moreover, if closely aligned with audience needs, such as in performing arts, where POA/NFTs serve directly as the program booklet of the creative team (similar to NFT publishing), not only can audiences leave their footprints, but they can also own and properly preserve the program booklet. It will also strengthen the motivation for audiences to leave their “footprints,” accelerating the validation speed of this project.

Who will be able to judge the quality of your output? Ideally name a few suitable judges.

Olga Tykhonova (Head of strategic development at MUSEUM BOOSTER and research curator of the Future Museum project)

Victoria Ivanova (R&D Strategic Lead at Serpentine Galleries)

David Casey (Director of Fund the Commons)

How will you publish and evangelize your improvement idea? Eg: Submit proposal to a standards body, publish open-source code, produce and release a software development kit etc.

On our website, we’ll provide a comprehensive document detailing the project’s concerns, technology, and objectives. To facilitate user engagement, we will conduct workshops, encouraging participation from both creators and audiences in the art field.

We will open the framework our collaborative GEN Artists create to reflect the evolution of the art ecosystem to everyone. It will be a mechanism to describe the status quo of the native art field. Every place will have different situations, but the framework is the same.

What is the success vision for your idea?

The future art ecosystem will be more significantly co-constructed by creators and audiences, where all the actors will witness the evolution process, further influencing the art ecosystem. Microscopically, participants can receive necessary information on-site and leave records that do not involve personal privacy; macroscopically, the direct connections established between creators and audiences will develop mechanisms that differ from the current platform capitalism, continuously stacking to generate a richer secondary ecosystem.


This theme of platform cooperativism and art interests and supports me greatly, but I don’t quite understand the logic of this product.