Message in a Bottle is a speculative making space that uses the symbiotic relationship of bacteria and yeast in kombucha to envision a more sustainable and community-oriented blockchain network.
Blockchain networks are extremely energy-intensive, and the power to compute the proof-of-work algorithms are expected to grow exponentially.
For this project I wanted to focus on blockchain technology as a way to learn more about the technology and its socio-cultural implications. I was inspired by NFTs are a way to reduce copyright infringement and provide fair wages for craft-makers.
By leveraging the rapid growth and replication process of cells in the kombucha "mother", I envisioned encrypting information in DNA across every cell. Much like the current digital blockchain technology this biological blockchain uses DNA therapeutics. The information could be accessed from each cell in the new "mother" through a DNA sequencing machine that I envision being available at a consumer level much like garage or kitchen equipment. After the kombucha fermentation process was done, the kombucha with the messages could be passed onto others and the new "mother" could be passed onto others with the data encrypted and ready for additional information to be added to it.
Through the research process of the project, I uncovered how copyright laws do not apply to NFTs and that anyone can create a NFT on the several minting sites that exist on the internet. In the end, I became less excited about the prospects of NFTs for those who are looking to advance as a struggling maker. From my point of view, NFTs are just another ploy for the rich and famous to continue making more money on their name and work.
In addition, I found the project to be quite difficult because of the short timeline and the limited access to Ebru. My first two iterations were not sufficient so I didn't have a chance to discuss the final especially since the first idea I had was not that exciting.
I really liked the idea of using the community-creating potential of kombucha to envision a more local and communal blockchain network. In the end, I see this as an archive of relations amongst participants in this emergent network.