Dance and the Blockchain. Commodification and ownership of embodied creativity in the crypto space


Target Group

PhD students of the Doctoral School of AHL. PhD students from the Flemish Area. MA and PhD students from other institutions. Researchers and artists interested in the topic.

Organizing & Scientific Committee

    Jorge P. Yánez
    Faculty: Arts and Philosophy
    Department: Studies in Performing Arts and Media

    Other members of the organising & scientific committee

    Prof. Dr. Christel Stalpaert [Studies in Performing Arts and Media]
    Prof. Dr. Pieter-Jan Maes [Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music]
    Dr. Annelies Van Assche [Studies in Performing Arts and Media]


    This course aims to unveil the intertwined dynamics of creativity, ownership, agency and commoditization/assetization of the performing arts on the blockchain through artistic, legal and technological considerations. Theoretical and practical sessions will offer complementary insights about tokenizing intangible culture in the advent of the web 3.0 as the body, its movements and likeness make their entrance into the crypto-space.

    Topic and Objectives

    The central topic is the role of new crypto-tech and the metaverse, to (1) destabilize ownership dynamics for the performing arts industry, (2) allow new forms of organization among performing artists (3) problematize the notion of their corporeality as it expands towards/inside/across the digital space(s). There is extensive media coverage on the solidity of crypto-currencies and the current art markets’ craze on digital creativity and NFTs, but little or no academic discussion is being held to provoke real insight on how these technologies impact the performing arts sector. This issue will be tackled not as a monolithic incident but as a multi-layered phenomenon involving legal, cultural and financial aspects for the circulation of creativity. Such heightened degree of digitization of cultural expressions, with the commodification that it entails, needs to be reckoned for obtaining a nuanced perspective not only about the future of the blockchain but also its present decentralizing applications for artists.

    The multidisciplinary angle of this course implies a great range of specialization of the invited speakers as well as for the fields that relate to the learning outcomes expected from participants. In this sense, regarding the technical/technological angle around the topic, insight on how to ‘mint’ and NFT, either based on an ‘emote’ or a small sequence of movement is expected. A variation of this outcome is the base-knowledge on minting an NFT connected to a still or moving image. Regarding the legal aspect of the course, participants should learn to identify the overlapping layers of ownership/authorship over digital assets on the blockchain, including but not limited to IP-related rights. Complementarily, and within the cultural ramifications of the topic, participants are expected to gain understanding on both, the possibilities as well as the risks of commodifying cultural practices in the crypto-space. This learning outcome involves familiarity with the most prominent discourses and stances around the financialization/assetization processes afforded by blockchain technologies. On the artistic front, the content and activities facilitated are aimed to offer points of entry to articulate reflections around the expansion of the notion of corporeality within the digital space and its entailing resonances with concepts such as ‘embodied archive’ and ‘knowledge-in-action’, thus bridging the kinetic repositories performed both by physical bodies and avatars, respectively.

    Dates and Venue

      24th, 25th, and 26th of August 2022

      ASIL Laboratory at IPEM -Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music, located at De Krook Library (Gent – 9000)

      Program and Time schedule

        • Wednesday, August 24

        09:30-10:00: Registration

        10:00-10:30: Introduction by Christel Stalpaert and Jorge Poveda Yánez – S:PAM Research Centre, Faculty of Arts and Letters at Ghent University.

        The current processes of digitization of the dancing bodies in the digital space, archive-fever, power dynamics and new generation technologies.

        10:30-12:00: Seminar and workshop by Marlon Barrios – dancer, software engineer and founder of MotionDAO, A Crypto-economy for the Global Dance-tech Community.

        The potential of crypto technologies for economic redesign and community-building for practitioners and audiences in the performing arts sector.

        12:00-14:00: Lunch Break

        14:00-15:30: Lecture by Dr. Simon Geiregat - Postdoctoral Researcher in Intellectual Property & Digital Law at Ghent University.  

        Copyrights and the Blockchain. Protection of digital assets produced through the blockchain, with special emphasis on intangible cultural heritage practices.

        COMPLEMENTARY ACTIVITY* 16h30-17h30: Practical session at IPEM – ASIL. Demonstration of VR settings for engaging with revived cultural heritage objects in electronic music. Guided by Pieter Jan-Maes, Professor at the Department of Art, Music and Theatre Sciences – IPEM (Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music).

        • Thursday, August 25

        10:00-11:00: Talk by artist Cjaiilon 'Snap Boogie Andrade’ - the first person in history to ‘mint’ a dance-based NFT on the Etherum Blockchain.

        Dance and the blockchain: innovation, ownership and increased agency for practitioners and communities of artists.

        12:00-14:00: Lunch Break

        14:00-15:00: Theoretical/Practical Workshop with Patrick Tresset – artist specialized in theatrical installations with robotic agents as actors.

        Creative affordances of intertwining embodied practices, data, movement and blockchain architectures in the digital space.

        15:00-16:30: Seminar with Gustavo Caicedo – Board Member at the Intangible cultural heritage Encyclopaedia Project (UNESCO).

        The use of crypto technologies to authenticate the traditional creativity of indigenous communities in South American countries.

        COMPLEMENTARY ACTIVITY*: 16h30 – 17h30. Practical session at IPEM-ASIL. Demonstration of computerised immersive environments for embodied creativity in the context of the project ‘Practicing Odin Teatret’s archive: training, transmission, interaction and creativity’. Guided by Adriana Parente La Selva and Ioulia Marouda, researchers at IPEM (Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music).

        •  Friday, August 26th

        10:00-11:30: Interdisciplinary panel on the potentialities, challenges and future developments surrounding “Dance and the Blockchain”. Moderated by Jorge Poveda Yanez.

        12:00-14:00: Lunch Break

        14:00-15:00: Seminar with Nina Davies – artist, dancer and researcher from Goldsmiths University of London.

        Commodification of the dancing bodies, fictional folk dances and speculative thinking to map-out the crypto-sphere in relation to the performing arts.

        15:00-16:30: Collaborative artistic exhibition moderated by Nina Davies.

        As the closure for the Doctoral Course, participants are expected to present their thoughts on an art work that has been done about/with/along any kind of blockchain architecture or using resources based on crypto-technologies.


        Please follow this link

        If the course is fully booked, you can ask to be added to the waiting list by sending an e-mail to . In case of cancellations, you can take the open place.

        Registration fee

        Free of charge for Doctoral School members of Arts, Humanities and Law.

        Teaching material

        Papers, articles, art-works and moving-image materials from the experts artists involved in the course and others. Every participant should study one of the 4 text provided in advance, as well as consult on one of the 4 works of art dealing with the blockchain, to elaborate upon, during the sessions scheduled. There will be allotted time for group discussion and feedback around the materials.

        Number of participants

        Maximum 30 participants.



        Evaluation methods and criteria (doctoral training programme)

        At least 75% of attendance is required from students enrolled and an active participation is expected during the sessions.

        Participants who require credits for undertaking a specialist course as part of their doctoral studies at Ghent University approve the course by completing a successful presentation during the ‘Collaborative artistic exhibition’, according to the guidelines included in the rubric provided beforehand for this activity.

        *Not compulsory activity