STEEM PARK FILM : Digital Currency, Real Design [Exploring the Steemit Documentary]
From Mainstream to Main Street
Most people hear about cryptocurrency for the very first time through sound bites and sources like CNN, interviews with familiar figures like John McAfee and so on. Our goal with this introductory sequence was to lure viewers in through the controversial clips they are used to seeing and then pivot the conversation to something much more familiar on a community level.
The film begins with Jake Tapper referencing blockchain “no fees”, and moves to John McAfee’s promoting the explosive growth of Bitcoin and shrugging off the “bubble” fears. From there the conversation switches away from the dollar signs and shows @charlieshrem saying “it’s not just money, it’s a whole new infrastructure.” Charlie’s point here is foundational to the blockchain movement. While most are distracted by dollars, the true potential of blockchain technology is a complete rewiring of the world wide web. Cue Steemit CEO @ned talking about the “future of the internet” and @dan speaking about how “cryptocurrency is in it’s infancy.” From there @heiditravels talks about “uniting people from around the world” and suddenly the conversation has pivoted from Bitcoins and bubbles to something more tangible for everyday people. The whole blockchain movement isn’t about dollar signs, it’s about uniting communities in a brand new way. It’s about a local neighborhood being empowered through a global audience. Steem is the people’s crypto. STEEM Park and the documentary film showcases the power of that disruptive dynamic.
Setting the Scene with Steem
"What is Steem?” and ”What can you build with crypto?”
These preliminary questions help set the stage for exploring the potential of the Steem blockchain and what separates it from other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. While these mainstays are especially familiar to a broad audience, Steem is powering up behind the scenes and strengthening real communities all over the globe.
Our big question, was “what can we build?” We ( @voronoi and @hansikhouse ) have a background in architecture, urban design, and public art. The two of us think of problem solving in a visual sense and wanted proof that Steemit could be a disruptive resource for both designers and communities in need. The goal with the STEEM Park project was to create something physical that would engage a community of stakeholders both online (Steemit) and offline (Brooklyn).
Building A Network of Trust
We blogged and assembled stories about every step of the process. Sketches, 3D models, prototypes, stories about park history, community leaders, meetings, missteps and milestones.
For a project like this, we knew our work had to be extraordinarily transparent in order to cultivate a supportive network of people online (Steemit) and on the ground (in Brooklyn). This dynamic of audiences was essential for the project to happen and for it to live on. (It’s because of that network that Steem Park is continuing and that Herbert Von King Park is utilizing this platform to fundraise for future projects.)
“Not a Dime of Private or Taxpayer Money”
STEEM Park is the first public design project fully funded by cryptocurrency. The physical components of the project were financed 100% by blogging rewards and engaging with the Steemit community; no private USD donations or municipal support was provided. In short, it is the first public-interest project supported completely by public interest. STEEM Park is a proof-of-concept that local community projects can be initiated and sustained through a global attention economy.
“Using the Narrative to Create Value”
To fund STEEM Park, @sndbox set out to “mine” Brooklyn. We researched about the history of local landmarks, interviewed Park conservancy members, and attended community board meetings in Bedford Stuyvesant. We blogged about every single step. Each post yielded rewards that became stepping stones used to fund the physical installation. This was an exciting and immersive process for our team. We learned a tremendous amount about Herbert Von King Park and the community surrounding it that we didn’t already know. This knowledge helped us design better and create signage that was more meaningful.
Over the course of 30 blog posts, @sndbox wrote about the history and story of the neighborhood, local community leaders, design process and final installation. Using the narrative of place, the team raised an equivalent of $10,000 USD.
Leveraging research and the design process has never been more tangibly a part of the final product. While the park installation itself was not a massive project, the implications of this new type of process has huge implications.
Fostering a Hub of Crypto-Stewardship
Every vendor we used for the project was a member of the Brooklyn community. Our goal was to incorporate local fabricators, filmmakers, signage companies, and even flower shops. We spoke with each person / company about Steemit and sought to prove to them that this “digital currency” could result in “real design” using their products.
This engagement is incredibly important because it cultivates a sense of stewardship. Members of the big STEEM Park team can now point to a physical place within their backyard and say, "I worked on that!"
Goals for the Film
As a whole, our team’s goal for the film was to create something visual that could rise above the cryptocurrency noise we are all confronted with on a daily basis. This new landscape is not just about making money, it’s about positively impacting real communities that would not otherwise have a voice, let alone the resources needed to showcase their unique story.
We @sndbox hope that YOU can use this documentary film to share the impact of this incredible on and offline community.
This film was sponsored by Steemit Inc. through a Crowdsourced Marketing Initiative designed to empower community oriented projects and ideas surrounding the Steem blockchain. The physical construction of planters, furniture and installation of the STEEM Park project was funded entirely through cryptocurrency earned on Steemit.
What is STEEM Park?
STEEM Park is a public garden designed and funded exclusively through Steemit.com, a social media website that rewards impactful content with digital currency (STEEM). This garden within Herbert von King Park represents an entirely new way to empower community projects and celebrate special places within our neighborhoods. The project was created and executed by designers Kirk Finkel ( @voronoi ) and Michael Lee ( @hansikhouse ), co-founders of the Steemit Incubator @sndbox.
@steemitblog @andrarchy @surfermarly @fulltimegeek @dylanhobalart @gardenlady @good-karma @virtualgrowth @clayop @thejohalfiles @natureofbeing @steemed @abdullar @prufarchy @hansikhouse @voronoi @heymattsokol @orenshani7 @meesterboom @yogi.artist @madlenfox @da-dawn @kanedizzle08 @vip @lighthil @inphiknit @airmatti @velimir @leesongyi @preparedwombat @dwolfe @cassidyandfranks @lovejoy
- Steemit Inc. - ( @ned ) and the Crowdsourced Marketing Initiative
- Andrew Levine - ( @andrarchy ) Steemit Community Liaison
- Wayne Devonish - Founder of the Herbert Von King Conservancy
- TTG FILMS (The Timelapse Group) - Shiseido Ruiz, Noel Cordero, Garrett Bates
- Ryu Kim - ( @mintvilla ) Von King Park Development Associate
- Brian Chu and Conor Coghlan - Principals of A05 Studio
- Gabriela Trueba - Founder of WOMP 3D Fabrication Studio