Julian Yi-Zhong Hou: Anoetic Tokenization

Blockchains & Cultural Padlocks Julian Yi-Zhong Hou: Anoetic Tokenization

Community and collaboration in the new paradigm

Trained as an architect, artist Julian Yi-Zhong Hou has referred to his practice as “hypnagogic,” a word that defines the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep. Applied to an art practice, this idea points to Hou’s attentiveness to how bodily experience combines sensations from both the material and immaterial worlds. Applied to the blockchain, Hou imagines a wholly different use for the concept of tokenization. Anoesis, the mind in a state of sensation without cognition, provides the conceptual basis for Hou’s idea of anoetic tokenization—tokens that quantify the value of relationships, not things. In Hou’s view, this form of token economy has the potential to upend the hierarchical relationships typical of the legacy artworld. Beyond art, Hou offers a clever prognostication of how networks will continue to disrupt and reorganize social relations.

"Anoetic Tokenization" by Julian Yi-Zhong Hou was published in the Blockchains & Cultural Padlocks Research Report in May 2021. Read it here.

Anoetic Tokens by Julian Yi-Zhong Hou


In researching anoetic resonances, Hou invited four artists, Sharona Franklin, Tiziana La Melia, Ron Tran and Christian Vistan to draft imagery that progresses beyond the European pastoral context of the land. The portfolio, titled Humus, along with excerpts of Hou's writing, was presented at the Blockchain@UBC Annual Conference, June 10, 2019.


Blockchains & Cultural Padlocks

A four-year digital strategy initiative by 221A that drives research and engages civil society with the challenge of developing a digitally cooperative culture through the advancement of blockchain technologies across cultural, educational and non-profit sectors. The values-led Blockchains & Cultural Padlocks digital strategy works towards recommoning land, data and objects.