Photo by Emmanuel Etti

Hou’s research takes up the challenge implicit to blockchain technology’s potential to create alternative forms of community. Hou investigates a number of real world examples in which blockchains are the basis for network-based of peer communities — e.g., Backfeed’s Ouishare experiment. Taking the lessons that result from such experiments, Hou proposes the terms for a similar experiment, one based on the metaphor of “Anoetic tokenization.”

Drawn from the notion of anoesis, which is a state of mind consisting of pure sensation or emotion without cognitive content. In Hou’s view, anoetic resonance as an organizing principle has the advantage of being “less [a result] of a choice or a cognitive judgment and an undeniable quality of communication and perception.”

Taking such an approach helps move the conversation around DLT beyond human-centric thinking. In Hou’s words:

“ethical questions around blockchain should be tempered by an equal consideration of natural life – our coextensive relationship with nature should be built into the ethics of blockchain.”


Abstract for Feasibility Study

The research I will embark on will investigate the feasibility of a new model art organization, one that takes elements of the gift economy, blockchain and the internet of value, and combines them with activities like art curating, exhibition making and collection development. This hypothetical project re-imagines the relationship of the artist-run centre to the art world, and posits that new technology may allow organizations to more specifically benefit emerging, existing, and thriving art communities. The project will focus on how organizations dedicated to the support of marginalized communities could re-engineer the conditions of exchange, and help artist creatives sustain their practices while also contributing to the production of works that speak to and are representative of, these communities  The feasibility study will focus on the idea of rural living.

I invite artists that in some way have an intimate relationship with the interior of British Columbia and rural life, and from backgrounds that render impure European and colonial pastoral traditions. We are forging distinctly local heterogenous identities of the individual’s relationship with the cultivation of the soil. We want to think along the lines of energy, and think about nature as technology, but also social media and fashion/style/design. This is less about collectivity, and more about difference.

Julian Hou is an artist working in textiles, sound, performance, text, and drawing. He adopts empathic and fluid methodologies in addition to hypnagogic practice to produce works that speak about cultural motives, animism and figuration in objects and interiors. He recently held solo exhibitions Dreamweed, Unit 17, Vancouver (2018); Cloudcuckooville, Soon.tw, Montreal (2018); Milman Parry’s Waiting Room Rhapsody, Artspeak, Vancouver (2017); Stupid sun, 8eleven, Toronto (2017); Help me remember, L’escalier, Montreal (2015); Window Bended Harmony, CSA space, Vancouver (2014). He has participated in group exhibitions and performances at the Vancouver Art Gallery (2016-2017); Things that can happen, Hong Kong (2017); Damien and the Love Guru, Brussels (2017); Spareroom, Vancouver (2017); 221A @ Occidental Temporary, Paris (2016); Audain gallery, Vancouver (2015); the Apartment Gallery (2015). He has participated in residencies at 221A (2017), Western Front (2018), and Triangle, Marseille (2019). Hou holds a BA in Art and Culture Studies from Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, and a Masters in Architecture from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

In researching anoetic resonances, Hou has invited four artists, Sharona Franklin, Tiziana La Melia, Ron Tran and Christian Vistan, to draft imagry that progresses beyond the European pastoral context of the land. The portfolio, titled Humus, along with excerpts of Hou’s writing, will premier at the Blockchain@UBC Anual Conference, June 10, 2019 and then can be visited at Pollyanna 圖書館 Library until July 27, 2019.