PILL: Elicitated Jokes: An alternative history of the protocolized real world

Presented by: Daiwei (Riley) Wang

1. Background

This project delves into the core concept of a “good protocol,” arguing that despite its name, a “good protocol” is not inherently “good.” A protocol’s quality is not determined by its simplicity, its ability to benefit many people, or its challenge to hegemonic ideas. Instead, the project suggests that the dark side of seemingly “good” protocols can be addressed through humor, specifically by creating joke stories.

The success of a protocol is likened to a philosophical concept and is oddly connected to statistical processes—when a certain level of power is reached, the protocol functions effectively. This underscores the importance of humor in critiquing the “good protocols” presented. For instance, voting, often hailed as a cornerstone of democracy and one of the most successful protocols in history, is examined. However, the project challenges the notion of voting’s success by highlighting that it essentially involves surrendering to the center of power. Voting requires us to recognize and accept the false belief in the guaranteed outcome of a protocol.

“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal”

– Emma Goldman.

Hey, how about we laugh at the protocols in Web3 as we are the co-creators of them?(After all, we can laugh about anything if we’re the ones who made it.)

2. My plan in bullet points

In the months to come, I’ll make a series of jokes in the form of an alternative history:

  1. Create a series of jokes in an alternate history format with invited participants.

  2. Base the background of the project on a random family living on a random hill, joking about their family rules at the dinner table, but ironically creating new rules every evening at the same time.

  3. Use these family protocols as metaphors for real-world Web3 and decentralization processes(I understand that too many metaphors can be unsettling, but jokes are meant to be sharp and unnatural).

  4. Produce a short film where real people present these jokes in their own style, acting out scenes from the dinner table.

  5. Conduct an anthropological filming project using elicitation as the main technique. In other words, I’ll ask the participants to create the jokes jointly. The jokes are then unique because they stem from real-world reflections and make fun of familial protocols. In this way, a bunch of random people can practice creating jokes about protocols together, in a space where the real world is compressed into a fictional joke series, which would then be collected as a alternative story (a short film on a family discussing jokes).

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