Ishtar Gate harbours an in-house critical model for STATISTA. Art writer and theorist Penny Rafferty will publish an ongoing series of critical commentary from May 2019 onwards. This running commentary will also feature an open function allowing the STATISTA team and the public to add to Rafferty’s thoughts. Providing a platform not only for a singular voice, but an interactive mode of collective authorship, in an operative sense, allowing space for a magnitude of voices to be heard.
Yet this is not the only function of the platform. Ishtar Gate will also reward users with Ishtar, a token that can eventually be exchanged for goods and services in the real world, be it a coffee or a studio space, within a network of participating local institutions. This localized/in-house currency forms the transactional foundation for a “passivity oriented” microeconomy. It was conceptually borne of a collaboration between Rafferty and Nascent, a production studio based in Berlin, which focuses on decentralized p2p technology. Ishtar Gate enables users to earn Ishtar by simply reading and curating content, by linking different posts and comments, as well as commenting and producing their own material. Ishtar Gate and Ishtar form a local space of constructive criticism and reflection, in both online and offline locations, throughout STATISTA.
Ultimately, Ishtar is a token, an ephemeral position and a potential future economy. It has been created to unhinge the idea of digital participation in our attention-riddled economy. Not by offering merely a repackaged form of our current forms of consumption, but by rewarding a passive economy (as much as a productive one) in both the digital and offline world.
Ishtar Gate and Ishtar is a collaborative project between Penny Rafferty and Nascent (nascent.energy)
What is the aim of Ishtar Gate?
Ishtar Gate is a microsite and in-house critical model for STATISTA that generates Ishtar for each individual user. You can create Ishtar by interacting with the material hosted on the site via commenting, reading, and linking content. These actions enable you to earn Ishtar which you can then cash out for various products from participating organisations.
What purpose does Ishtar serve? Is it a cryptocurrency?
Ishtar is a local cryptocurrency token based on the Ethereum ERC20 standard.
Ok, but how do I use it?
On entering the site, a wallet will be created for you automatically, if you don’t already have one. This wallet will be stored in a cookie within your web browser. You do not have to give a user name or password. It is a randomly generated wallet (and keypair) stored in your browser. A counter will show the amount of Ishtar you have accrued, which can then be minted by pressing the 'Mint' button.
And how do I spend it?
You can spend your Ishtar clicking on the 'Cash Out' button and then selecting a product. Then fill in the information, and a receipt will be emailed to you.
Where can I spend my Ishtar?
Currently Ishtar can only be spent at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. Other venues will soon join the Ishtar Network.
Why don’t I need to log in and will it cost me anything?
You don’t need to log in, because your Ishtar is linked solely to the cryptocurrency wallet stored in your browser cookie. And no, interacting with Ishtar Gate doesn’t cost anything (and never will).
Why do you need my cookies, are you selling my data?
No, we don’t collect your data; the activities that are earned in Ishtar are counted client-side, in your browser. There is no central service or database and we have no way of accessing the information in your browser window.
Ok but I still don’t understand how or why you get goods from computers?
How: How: Your interaction is counted as work for us, and we reward you with Ishtar.
Why: Because Ishtar Gate is a prototype for a different form of online interaction with critical material - users should be rewarded for participating in this prototypical economy of passivity :)
My Ishtar disappeared when I changed devices?
This is probably because you either wiped your cookie cache, or because you’re using a different web browser. Make sure you have syncing enabled so cookies will be shared between your devices.
My balance isn’t updating after minting: has it failed?
Because the transaction has to be mined into a block, which may take several minutes (or tens of minutes), the balance represented on the front end will not immediately update. Wait a few minutes and then press the ‘my balance’ button to update. If it hasn’t updated after a longer period of time, get in touch with us at [email protected].
Who can I contact when I need help or want to know more?
Get in touch with us at [email protected].