Logische Phantasie Lab. Media Forensics in the Web3

Curator's Note

Fundamental shifts in modes of existence, resulting from the differentially manifesting consequences of climate change and the vast technological tools concomitant with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, are engendering a redistribution of power. Non-state actors and modes of private ordering play an ever increasing role in daily life and are shifting the institutional landscape. And while rigid legal and bureaucratic structures are increasingly replaced by loose networks and data infrastructures, environmental and digital authoritarianism are showing new manifestations of centralisation.


[image: Zulaikha Ayub for LoPh Lab]

Technology-enabled bottom-up approaches to governance are key in redefining normative (infra)structures. Promises to create better worlds – with authority decentralized and free floating, with sovereignty shared and power democratized  through peer-to-peer networks –  underwrite imaginaries of normativity. Blockchain-based tokenization aims at revolutionizing the economy by making everything computer-translatable and thereby absorbable  into the market logic of commodification. 

What is more, as an institutional technology, blockchain conjures a hyper-formalist legal order reduced to private relations through smart contracts. Increasingly, private actors are engaging in so-called political entrepreneurship building techno-legal jurisdictions by mobilizing new technologies to create non-state models for governance: From startup societies and DIYgovernance to virtual communities, such as DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations), digital platforms, and cryptostates.


[image: Zulaikha Ayub for LoPh Lab]

Questions arise. Concepts central to national and international legal frameworks, and even the (infra-)structures of normativity in which they are embedded, are undergoing fundamental changes. What are the rights and protections - if any - of that which is not represented, not even representable by legal codices and computer codes? Can oxygen be tokenized,  and if so, who decides on breathability? What are the tools of resistance within architectures of codes and metaverses?


[image: Zulaikha Ayub for LoPh Lab]

The Logische Phantasie Lab (LoPh) is a non-profit organization and decentralized research agency, dedicated to the development and implementation of ethical and participatory approaches towards normativity in times of an increased interest in  experiments in governance. In collaboration with public and private stakeholders, it's current initiative, Gas Exchanges and the Right to Breathe asks: How to create a new kind of right, or, a normative framework capable of addressing breathing injustices and with an acute awareness of the presence and role of techno-juridical infrastructures?



Despite major shifts in power and forms of normativity, the overriding tendency is still to consider parliaments and courtrooms as the primary sites of law making, and states and state-actors as the entities that exert normativity. Yet, in times of increased private ordering, rapid digitalisation, and a growing awareness of planetary limitations, such a narrow conception of law does not hold. LoPh is dedicated to reconceptualising the very understanding of law in a techno-normative environment, and to continuously create openings for different modes of existence otherwise excluded from arising legal-economic imaginaries. While developing a critique of the libertarian socio-legal imaginaries prevalent in large parts of the tech world, LoPh also aims at tapping into the malleability of the moment for developing new legal concepts beyond subjecthood and objecthood and established forms of contract and ownership.


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