PCOArt - Transforming Art Ownership

Project name


Project description and why it’s classified as a Public Good

PCOArt is an ambitious project to revolutionize art ownership by supporting more richly interdependent, sustainable relationships between creators, exhibitors, and the communities around both. We are constructing an open-source blockchain system (on Ethereum) and web interface that will enable artists to license their work using the Partial Common Ownership (PCO) licensing model.

Possession of a PCOArt work is governed by a temporary stewardship license executed by smart contracts, allowing artists to embed the individual commitments their art may have to specific communities, causes, and organisations into the ownership and value distribution model that underwrites the circulation of their work. Contrary to the traditional ownership model that privileges a single creator (the artist) and an exclusive owner of art (the collector), PCOArt offers a system for recognising the status of a plurality of stakeholders and thus allowing art to perform its values not just symbolically but also operationally and materially.

Meanwhile, stewards have the possibility to benefit from the increases in the art’s value that flow from their contributions to maintaining or exhibiting it. Stewards may also become permanent members of an artwork’s community while the legacy of their contributions is preserved in the ledger record of the PCO smart contract.

PCO Art is a collaboration between RadicalxChange Foundation and Serpentine Arts Technologies.

Why is it important

  • The project will demonstrate Partial Common Ownership to a wider audience. This has the potential to change the way many people think about ownership itself, encouraging the creation of ownership systems that do not let power concentrate in the hands of speculators, but instead ensure that long term benefits remain in the hands of the communities and networks that create things of value.
  • PCO Art will support artistic projects that provide ongoing support to the communities that inspired the work, such as artists’ collectives and more.
  • PCO Art will open up new possibilities for artists to shift their focus from the manufacture of sellable objects to the creative weaving of mutual support networks.

What you have built

We have a working prototype of the PCO Art infrastructure and web interface. This system lets users mint new PCO interests, define the rules that govern them, designate the communities that benefit from them, and interact with existing PCO interests.

Our first major project concerns a new work by Tomas Saraceno. The work incorporates drawings by children around the world and from Salinas Grandes, Argentina, and will evolve to incorporate additional drawings and cultural inputs. The work will be exhibited by PCO stewards, generating funds to support not only the artist’s studio but also organizations reflecting the social and environmental interests of its co-creators. These communities and organizations will remain in alignment with the work’s stewards, contributing to the works’ governance.

In November 2023, we hosted Beyond Cultures of Ownership, a 1-day convening of artists, academics, practitioners, and policymakers focused on the future of art ownership. This served as a way of announcing the project, which will continue to develop over the next years.

To Date Project Funding Sources

~25k from Rockefeller, ~25k from Omidyar, ~25k from Serpentine

Seeking project-specific funding or funding for general operations

We’re seeking project-specific funding to continue the PCOArt project, which is a collaboration between RadicalxChange Foundation and Serpentine Arts Technologies.

Project Roadmap and Milestones

Our project has three primary streams:

  • Design, prototyping and iterative development of a permanent technical and legal infrastructural layer
    • Adding support to a team of highly skilled blockchain developers, lawyers, mechanism and UX/UI designers
    • User testing with key stakeholder groups (artists, organisations, communities, potential stewards)
  • Collaborations to test and deploy PCO infrastructure
    • With prominent artists (A substantial number of other artists have expressed interest in this collaboration. We believe PCO has the potential to inaugurate a major shift in the digital art culture, as well as providing practical and artistic options for other artists, especially those whose works are interactive, evolving, and otherwise unconventional.)
    • With platforms (e.g., NFT marketplaces and traditional auction houses) interested in embedding the PCO protocol as part of their offer
  • Thought leadership and advocacy
    • Gatherings and workshops focused on cultures of ownership and the future of the organisational and economic interfaces between art, technology and society
    • Regular publishing on various aspects of PCO and art
    • Outreach, education and promotion of this work in wider cultural, social and technological contexts


Project Phase 1 (through end of 2023):

  • Collaboration with artist Tomas Saraceno
  • “Beyond Cultures of Ownership” event in London
  • Development of PCO infrastructure consisting of blockchain system, legal templates, and basic interface

Project Phase 2 (2024):

  • execution of 2-4 strategically chosen high-profile artist collaborations including with Tomas Saraceno
  • Integration of PCO infrastructure with 1-3 prominent NFT marketplaces, combined with socialization of PCO into NFT culture
  • Development of full-featured PCO interaction platform
  • Proliferation of legal templates and expansion of PCO infrastructure into 2-3 new use cases, likely:
    • Commercial real estate
    • IP licensing
    • Data licensing
  • Establishment of legal entity to steward the PCO infrastructure

Funding Request and Budget

Requesting $65k

Team Information

Matthew Prewitt (President, RadicalxChange Foundation) is a writer and blockchain industry advisor, and a former antitrust litigator and federal law clerk.

Victoria Ivanova (R&D Strategic Lead, Serpentine) is a curator, writer and strategic consultant, currently R&D Strategic Lead as part of Serpentine’s Arts Technologies team. With a focus on systemic and infrastructural conditions that shape socio-economic, political and institutional realities, Victoria develops innovative approaches to organisational design, policy, finance and rights. She is a co-founder of Izolyatsia – an interdisciplinary cultural platform founded in Donetsk, Ukraine, in 2010, as well of various experiments at the intersection of art and strategy.

Cody Hatfield (Lead Developer) is a full-stack software developer and system architect. He co-founded the Geo Web (https://www.geoweb.network/) where he has built multiple PCO smart contract systems including versions with streaming payments, advanced auction logic, and upgradable modules.

Graven Prest (Technical Project Manager) is a technologist and product leader. He joined the crypto space full time in 2019, soon after met Cody, and co-founded the Geo Web. He’s spent 3+ years exploring the mechanism/system design of PCO and related public goods funding opportunities.

Stefano De Barardinis (Frontend Engineer) is the frontend engineering lead at the Geo Web. He’s a law school graduate turned self-taught developer who caught the web3 bug building novel user interfaces and visualizations.

Alex Randaccio (Project Manager) is Technical Director of RadicalxChange Foundation. He has an interdisciplinary background in full-stack software development and political theory.

Links & Resources

[PCOArt Github repo](GitHub - RadicalxChange/pco-art)

[PCOArt Docs](https://pco-art-docs.vercel.app/)

[Beyond Cultures of Ownership Event Recap](https://www.radicalxchange.org/media/blog/beyond-cultures-of-ownership-2023-recap/)

[Serpentine Website](https://www.serpentinegalleries.org/) and [Twitter](https://twitter.com/SerpentineUK)

[RadicalxChange Website](https://www.radicalxchange.org/) and [Twitter](https://twitter.com/RadxChange)

Discord contact


Project Impact Metrics

Users - how many users do we have, and are we getting good arts institutions to steward art on our platform

Funds raised for communities - how much money is the PCOArt economic model raising for the communities around pieces of art (represented as “beneficiaries” in our model)

Media attention - what quantity and quality of media attention are we attracting? This is important to our goal of challenging the public to re-examine the concept of ownership.

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