Urban Fauna Lab
Misting Miner is a vapor sculpture by Alexey Buldakov from the Urban Fauna Lab collective that gives material form to the invisible phenomenon of mining cryptocurrency. The work is comprised of a water cooling system attached to technology that continuously mines cryptocurrency, and in the process also generates an extraordinary amount of heat. As a latent and untapped source of energy, the artist harnesses the heat and reveals its transformative potential by turning it into fog through the water cooling system, which he then reroutes to follow a cycle of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. Unlike banks and other financial institutions, digital currencies such as Ethereum — the type used by the Miner — rely on encryption techniques to generate ‘coins,’ which are then bought and sold. For Buldakov, these new systems of generating value exist much like a virus, replicating their genetic codes by hashing long mathematical equations which populate servers producing more and more excess heat around the world. As bitcoin ATMs slowly roll out across San Francisco, the Misting Miner reveals the unseen impact of online economies and cyber-punk utopias through the alchemical process of mining digital gold.