Thanks to a combination of generous governmental subsidies, natural resources, cold climate and cheap renewable electric power, the north of Sweden is an ideal location for the mining of digital cryptocurrency, the most widely known variation of which is bitcoin. With the repurposing of old military buildings in the last few years, Boden has become one of the centres of the bitcoin mining industry in Europe. Housed in large, but largely anonymous, buildings, the production of new bitcoins, a process known as bitcoin mining, requires vast amounts of energy-hungry computation. As the energy crisis intensifies throughout Europe, so does the focus on the environmental impact of bitcoin mining. Unlike the more visible resource extraction trails of silver and iron, it is difficult to map where the wealth generated from bitcoin mining flows. By constructing a speculative journey through technological and infrastructural development of the Chinese bitcoin industry, and through the warp and weft of visual and sonic collaging, Bitcoin Mining and Field Recordings of Ethnic Minorities weaves these flows into a tapestry. With the melting of the arctic ice and the promise of new trade routes, we may soon find ourselves weaving a new silk road into this tapestry.
Liu Chuang works primarily with film, sculpture, ready-mades and installation. His works often integrate long-term history and ecological arcs for imagination, tracing the social, cultural and economic transformations of contemporary China. Weaving narratives that connect the micro and macro, past and present, fiction and reality, his practice explores how vast and complex changes in nature, tradition, demographics, cutting-edge technology, and socio-economic systems affect individuals and their engagements with the world as a whole.
Commissioned for Cosmopolis #1.5 : Enlarged Intelligence with the support of the Mao Jihong Arts Foundation. Courtesy of the artist and Antenna Space.