Probable trust: A mixed media installation about trust in Blockchain technology

Blockchains are often described as „trustless“ systems. A technology which aims to eliminate or at least minimize the amount of trust that is required from any single actor in one system of transaction – despite the fact that trust is actually the most important factor of making decision, especially if there is money involbed. The mixed media installation “Probable Trust” created by Leipzig based designers Sophia Krasomil and Insa Deist evolved around the complexity and fragility of trust and how it is shaped and impacted by the blockchain technology. “That concept is, in parts, self-contradicting, since an algorithm can not be algorithmic-able.”, the two designers explain, “Nevertheless this technology has a huge potential to change parts of our sociability by questioning them be it on the surface (economics, taxes, identity) or more in depth (trust, social contract).” The duo chose to address this important subject in form of a mixed media installation, consisting of a video, a stickerbook and some additional loose stickers to build a sphere. “The book contains a text which explains our ideas regarding the impact of blockchain technology on our society and the sticker illustrate a more metaphoric approach towards this theme. The videos are an essayistic comment on the text by putting the topic in a more anthropologic perspective.” 

From the logo of a toothpaste brand and a mastercard to yu-gi-oh playcards: The objects they show in the mixed media installation are objects, that we are all very familiar with, but they are all modified in a certain way. “This part of the project was actually the most fun/fast and intuitive part of the whole project, where we wanted to take the metaphors and theoretic observations that we already formed in the video and text and illustrate them really playfully”, the two designers describe the idea behind the objects and the relation between them. 

While living in Leipzig, Germany, Insa and Sophia are both studying graphic design in Halle at Burg Giebichenstein. It was their first class meeting of the winter semester 2018/19, when they first came up with the idea to start this collaboration: “When we were all talking about our interests and thoughts towards the semester theme, we realized that we had a common stream of thoughts and already worked and read up n the same topic so we decided to join forces.”

After a short semester kick off workshop, the duo first did a lot of research which often ended in having long conversations and playing around with different thoughts. “We started with a google doc, which is super messy by now”, they tell us about their working process. “By the end of the week we could already start by making a video sketch based on it.” The rest of the time of the semester they constantly refined their ideas, consulted with friends and professors and developed their final concept. Joining forces and combining their strengths was really important to them during this collaboration – which is why they didn’t divide up the tasks even if told to do so (due to economic reasons). “We rather talked a lot about it and then pretty much always worked alongside on different bits and pieces but that was alway a super spontaneous division. And we really just worked hand in hand. So in the end we can’t generalize who did what job.” 

By defining the term as “two hearts and brains becoming one”, it should be pretty clear that the two of them see collaborations as an inspiring aspect in their design process. “Working together has been super enriching. Of course you don’t always have the exact same opinion, but in those situations its just important to communicate and not stress out! Mostly those are the situations that really refine the work and erase eventual problems that have maybe been there before. So we wouldn’t necessarily call it difficulty. We both learned a lot from the other.” 

Just as trust plays the main role in the blockchain technology, it is also of great importance to both of them during a collaboration: “Communication is key obviously, as well as trusting the other person in developing an idea and in following it through. In a collaboration you have to communicate and therefore verbalize your ideas which can help to formulate them further. Also working with a partner can really help to push your work to another level. The idea of a collaboration spins an infinite proliferating space, in there you’ll find suddenness as well as negotiation. Collaboration prompts a horizontal and multidisciplinary approach and allows you to pass your work to someone else and trust their changes. It is an alluring invitation really. Also you’re kind of rethinking authorship or renegotiating a, very traditional but still present, image of the creative or artistic process (the individual autonomous genius). And compromises are never a loss. It’s a (work) relationship, treat it as such and have a margarita after!” 

Besides a short note that you shouldn’t miss the chance to grab one of their sticker books at Rotor Books in Leipzig, we think after those famous last words is nothing left to be added. 

Sophia Krasomil

Insa Deist

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