The design fiction village Lithopia explores the extreme scenarios of future data and blockchain governance, but also resistance by using Hyperledger Composer and Fabric to deploy smart contracts triggered by satellite and drone data. The villagers in this fictional place use satellite and drone data to govern their affairs in an extremely transparent, but also aesthetic manner.
They live their lives in front of the all-seeing technical “eyes” of God and Providence, such as Sentinel 2A and B Copernicus satellites, and public drones used as notaries. Special long gestures, large LiCoins, but also acts of covering spaces in land-art, Christo manner at strictly defined times trigger the transactions on the Hyperledger blockchain managed over the Node RED dashboard.
Lithopia has a sister city on the Micronesian island of Yap that uses similar large stone coins to preserve their oral memory of ownership, marriages, and important events. Lithopians deploy their large 3D printed LiCoins visible to satellites and drones in various rituals and transactions that trigger the Hyperledger smart contracts. LiCoins are similar in size to the famous Rai stones, but they also contain lithium in the plastic filaments used to 3D print them. The LiCoins are moved around to indicate important transactions and contracts on the blockchain. In their plastic, they mix and hide the illegally obtained lithium from the old mines to reclaim the ownership of their natural resources. Hyperledger blockchain for Lithopians is a form of oral culture timestamping all transactions and emphasizing genealogy over exchanges and stewardship over ownership.
This aesthetic and at times ironic, blockchain and satellite “lithopia” is inspired by stories from the mining region of Cinovec about facades of family houses covered in lithium powder. In the 1980s, the former miners had regarded lithium’s glittering powder as a junk material freely available for the exterior decoration of houses. During the 2017 Czech Republic elections, a Lithium craze unleashed, and the winning party scored extra 10 percentage for promising a lithium paradise for all without ever mining even a single grain of lithium ore. The semi-legal facades of the miners family houses suddenly became an unlikely form of fortune, an unintended form of resistance in the speculative lithium wars between the political fractions and corrupt business interests. We intepret this as a start of the Czech lithium punk genre and a model of management of resources and emergent technologies.
To respond to the populist promises and ongoing speculations in Lithium, but also similar political projects, such as the calls for national blockchain cryptocurrency, the Lithopy team continues in the work of these villagers and their lithium punk genre. We support early and extreme forms of adoption of emergent technologies that reproduce the “facade” effect or a hack and bring unintended forms of resistance as alternative to the speculative and extractive powers to be.
In Lithopy, all sorts of promises and three sorts of mining come together: mineral extraction, big data mining and blockchain mining to explore the Czech lithium punk fantasy. The ideal citizen of Lithopia follows in the steps of the good soldier Švejk and follows ad absurdum all emergent technological protocols to embrace all data structures and alghoritms. The multiscreen movie that accompanies the blockchcain, LiCoins and Node RED prototypes advertises a Sunny Day in Lithopy: _”A Sunny Day in Lithopy
_It is a sunny day in Lithopy, a quackerish-hackerish community given to transparency, justice & accountability.
_In Lithopy, sunny days are made for transactions. No clouds prevent satellites from keeping an eye on you. Satellites track your every move. A decentralized, distributed and public digital ledger of blockchain records every transaction.
_On sunny days, contracts are made. Assets change hands. People make payments and friends, marry and divorce.
_Lithopians use coins big enough to catch the eye of a satellite. They shake hands for minutes. When you travel to Lithopy on a sunny day, you never pull your hand back before a Lithopian unless you are less serious about business.
_In Lithopy, hugs are big and kisses are many to make sure satellites recognize and the blockchain records their affection, love & friendship.
_There is no excess, no frivolity in their actions. Their all-or-nothing gestures, their fits of laughter, their floods of tears are in fact all well measured.
_You may notice the furtive looks they cast toward the sky. Whatever Lithopians do on sunny days, they do before the face of satellites.
_In Lithopy, all social contact is a smart contract.“`
The source code of Lithopia
The source code for design fiction village Lithopia is at Github.com