Digital objects are only of value if they are able to affect our habits and habitat. On one hand, this could take the form of a game that one plays that causes one to configure a room in a particular manner. It could take the form of engagement with a social media platform that causes one to dress in a particular manner, attend specific events, and socialize with a select set of friends. On the other hand, such digital objects could lead to more profound affects on the physical world. They could take the form of a ransomware attack that shuts down a pipeline, a social media campaign that results in electing a person to serve in government, or the use of a natural resource such as water, wind, or solar power to maintain digital infrastructure. In what follows, the definition of physical and digital object will be explored, the objects that currently dominate our world will be briefly highlighted, and how new hybrid physical-digital objects with an enhanced capacity to affect change in the world might be created.
The purpose of this exploration is ultimately to set up a framework by which digital objects can become more actively aligned with physical objects so that each can take advantage of their respective capacities. Doing so would be to expand upon the trend that connects things to the internet in order to enhance their interoperability, capacity to maintain the physical world, and ability to serve users through machine learning and artificial intelligence. In these cases, it is generally the case that the physical comes to serve the digital. In what follows, a more balanced and reciprocal relationship will be explored. This investigation will ideally help us uncover how a platform that bridges the digital and physical might come into existence in order to actively construct a new type of relationship that will ultimately restore some of the value to physical space that digital objects may have diminished through online retail, virtual work, and time devoted to digital networking activities that have little positive impact on the physical world. In the process, this new relationship will ideally be one that supports enhanced sustainability and equity of the built environment.
In the end, the goal is not just to describe such a platform, but also to bring about its existence. Doing so would require offering a novel approach that goes beyond discrete objects that characterize the Internet of Things and to a means of conceptualizing a broader expanse of space as a simultaneously physical and digital object. This could take place via a specific language that collects and points to a set of physical and digital things that together are considered to be an object. This language could essentially form a contract dictating how these things relate to each other and to subjects that may or may not have an ownership or other form of stake in that object. Such a contract would ultimately have to be temporal rather than static in order to effectively relate to the evolving nature of both the physical and digital realms. As a result, it would be ideally suited to taking the form of a ‘smart contract’ and to existing on the blockchain. It ultimately could be anchored by a specific theme, place, or motivation ranging from traditional real estate development to affordable housing and art-driven interventions in the physical or digital realms. It could begin as a concept, digital model, or digital twin and then receive investment that ultimately allows for a transformation of physical space. With this in mind, the power of digital objects becomes entwined with the current debate regarding the merits of blockchain, cryptocurrency, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Successfully embracing these trends will require skillfully designing how they might both transform space over time as well as benefit a range of stakeholders in the process. Such designs that take form, exist on, and are exchanged on a platform that bridges the physical and digital will be the final reflection of this essay. These reflections in turn will guide a new body of artwork that will serve to visualize the form that such a hybrid digital / physical object might take.
In order to consider the power of digital objects, it is important to have a sense of what is meant by an object in general as well as how such objects attain a certain level of either literal or symbolic power. Traditionally, an object is a thing that is defined by a subject. This subject is generally a person who exists within a particular social or political order. This order helps to define how they relate to things around them and how some of those things can be appropriated and fashioned to fulfill some end. These things become objects that then play a certain role within a structured society. They can play a literal role as a tool that transforms the world around the subject or a symbolic role that signifies a person’s position within a society.
In the process, the object is differentiated from the thing. While the object is defined via how it is taken at hand and given a purpose, the thing is not defined vis-à-vis the subject or even the human. The thing exists outside our capacity to comprehend it. As such, it has always been a source of inspiration for inquiry in an attempt to understand the thing and ultimately for it to be classified by and within the system of science, economics, and exchange. The process is facilitated by a range of objects that serve as tools that help us to investigate the thing and bring it within a symbolic order that ultimately leads to an expansion of the human sphere and the gradual diminishing of the natural sphere.
The capacity of objects to serve as tools that help us to tame nature and support our habits and habitat contribute significantly to their power. Such objects can exist as tools that embody a potential energy that allows them to support our ability to transform the world and things. They can be used to assemble more complex objects that may play a direct role in how energy is captured and power is utilized. At the same time, they can be used to create objects that play a symbolic role. Such objects may become associated with denoting social hierarchy, spirituality, myth, desire, or fetish. In this context, the power they hold and exert over those who encounter them is less tied to the electron and more to a belief system developed between subjects over time. It nevertheless has just as much power to shape how the world is configured and what specific individuals can hope to do and accomplish.
In both cases, having emerged from the undifferentiated field of things gives objects power. This occurs through the symbolic and functional role that they take on and that is a direct function of the various forms energy that are invested by an individual or a group overtime. In the process, a language and value system is formed. It is manifested as objects that cause and allow people to do certain things. They exist as a massive globally distributed collection. Some of these objects are of such significance that they are protected and conserved within a building such as a museum. This hyper-valuation occurs for reasons ranging from serving as a stand-in for a sign of allegiance to the system as a whole to serving as a measure of virtuosity in the crafting of an object. They play a significant role in creating markets that are driven by desire, fetishism, rarity, and aura. These objects serve as focal points within a range of global systems that support our collective existence. They comprise both a pharmakon supporting immunology and an infrastructure.
While institutions might once have heavily determined the hierarchy of digital objects, their value has been increasingly determined in a decentralized manner. This is the result of a culture that increasingly places value in celebrities while also creating room for people to enter the world of celebrity through new channels that do not require support by an established cultural institution. In this context, while tools and vital infrastructure still retains a significant value and remains embedded within historic infrastructure, a new class of objects produced by a range of creative individuals and groups is growing. These objects range in scale from the microscopic biological devices to much larger installations spanning miles and traditionally understood within the context of art.
Digital networks supporting social interaction and new markets facilitate this pervasive culture of innovation. They make it possible for those without institutional support to attract and audience and sell their products. The line between what one might consider art and a cultural element more broadly is blurred in the process. Moreover, the role that the digital representation and market plays in the value of that object is also raised. This process can make it possible to confer the status of art onto something that would not have historically been given such a status by associating that object – a sneaker for example – within an expanded field of relations that offer a broader narrative that convince others of the unique craft, scarcity, aura, and value. This is a result of an understanding that the value, meaning, and purpose of that object is not strictly defined by the relation of subject and object, but of object and object as well as object and thing.
This connection and co-valuation between the digital and physical object is not entirely new. It can be seen in the longstanding debate about the relationship between an object and a reproduction of that object. What has changed, however, is both the capacity of the object to embed representational technology into its materiality as well as for a reproduction to itself be unique. Moreover, relational, conceptual, installation, and site-specific artworks have all opened the possibility of an expanded field that understands the possibility of an object to be defined beyond the limits of a spatially or even temporally confined thing. Much of this is made possible by the advent of the digital. The question remains, however, whether digital objects can in themselves exert the same force as physical objects, whether they exert a unique force, and whether a relational framework between digital and physical can be put in place that amplifies their respective forces.
If we are to establish a relationship between physical and digital objects, it is important to understand what is meant by a “digital object.” Yuk Hui’s excellent book, On the Existence of Digital Objects, goes a long way to addressing this question as well as how they come into existence and their ontology. In the context of this brief essay, it is sufficient to define a digital objects as a file or set of files that exists in some format. This file could contain a string of code that supports the functioning of a program that supports the execution of certain tasks. It could also simply be a record that is read by a specific program capable of reading and creating a visualization form a specific format. Such files always exist via some memory device where this record is stored and are always accessed via a user-interface that is increasingly supported by broader wireless and fiber optic infrastructure, digital devices, and web browsers.
In many cases, such digital objects have been used as means of replicating a physical object or creating a record of a physical object. This can be seen in instances where software is used to duplicate the function of a notebook, a ledger, film editing equipment, or a game such as chess. It can also be seen in the use of digital backs in cameras to record an image via pixels that is then stored in a format such as a jpeg. At the same time, games such as SimCity, Second Life, Halo, and those that increasingly utilize virtual reality go far beyond recreating what can be achieved with physical objects. In addition, artists are utilizing rendering technology, a wide range of scales within a single file that can only be utilized via the zooming capability of a digital device, files whose existence depends on a web of files, distributed networks maintaining those files, and various forms of temporality that challenge the conventional use of a digital object to recreate what exists in the world.
This temporal dimension is of particular interest. While all physical objects exist within a temporality that can be perceived and recorded in various ways, they are limited in how they relate to and record this temporal dimension. Often, this occurs through the natural rate of decay of the object that can be measured through techniques such as carbon dating and seen via the patina that the object takes on. A digital object, on the other hand, can not only record the exact time that it was created, but also can contain a range of revisions and additions that are made. In this sense, a digital object does not have to be limited to a single finite entity, but can be a collection of files associated with a particular point of interest. This point of interest could just as easily be an artwork as a period of a person’s life. This “digital object” then would be all the files that trace actions, energy, transformation, addition, and subtraction as related to that point of focus.
Such a conception would allow for a new relationship between the subject and object to form. Instead of a relationship where the subject manipulates the objects towards a specific end, an expanded field as digital object would support a two-way relationship in which each is acting on and influencing the future of the other. This allows us to think of the cumulative engagement of a platform as a digital object. In this sense, the digital object is a meta-object that serves an indexing function. In the process, a significant level of complexity arises that is defined by the tension between how we create, define, and relate to physical objects as opposed to digital objects. In many ways, it is this tension and awareness of the difference of digital and physical that allows for a unity to form between the two realms. It is characterized by a capacity to understand the different languages that allow each to exist. On one hand, the physical is made possible by an atomic structure. On the other hand, the digital is made possible by a binary system and logic that itself is made possible by skillful understanding and control of that atomic structure. In this sense, the physical object is a point of focus for a potentially infinite set of digital elements that becomes a surface trace of a complex system that allows for the digital to function and that ultimately constitutes the characteristics that define it as a digital object.
Ultimately, each comes to define each other via how the web of physical and digital relations function independently and in dialogue (i.e. via their own ontology and how they function together). Each in a way can function as a para-ontology to the other. The space in-between creates the capacity for translation that, in turn, opens the possibility for freedom residing in the agency to determine how this translation is executed. This gap between allows for independence. Such independence, nevertheless, is not guaranteed. It requires energy and insight to maintain. This is due in large part because this is both a nascent and historically novel opening to freedom. Many have realized this opening and are trying to appropriate and profit from the potential for freedom. It is an opening that big tech may have already foreclosed, but that the decentralized nature of blockchain and objects that it allows us to imagine may create a renewed opening for.
The relationship between physical and digital objects will be heavily influenced by the way in which each relates to their broader milieu. For digital objects, this is the virtual space in which they exist and are accessed by a range of subjects or users. For physical objects, this is the context in which they exist that is defined by drawers, cabinets, rooms, plazas, cities, regions, and countries. The organization of the digital realm is largely a reflection of how we have organized objects in the physical realm. In this sense, while our aim is to occupy the line between the physical and digital, the relationship is structured first by a physical web of relations and then by a digital web of relations.
Certain objects standout within this web of relations. These objects are often understood to have a certain aura. A single person who understands the objects to be an heirloom that holds certain significance for them as a result of a history shared with that object could be the only one to perceive this aura. On the other hand, this aura could be perceived by a much wider group who may form a community as a result of this shared perception. The result may give the owner of this object enhanced prestige or even power within a community. This could be due to valuing the connoisseurship of that person and their desire and financial ability to preserve a shared history of a community. It could also be tied to the capacity to exchange that object for another form of wealth that can, in turn, be used to manipulate the world.
This process of valuing significant objects is one that occurs over time and leads to an accumulation of those objects. It has led to a sedimentation resulting in a particular appearance of the built environment. It can be seen both in the historic buildings that are preserved and in the nodes within the urban fabric that hold priceless collections. In many ways, it defines a particular society’s cultural capital that, in turn, traces a through line across space and time that holds a narrative tracing the values of that culture. As the physical world around us becomes increasingly precarious due to decaying infrastructure and a more hostile planet, the capacity of digital objects to support cultural capital becomes increasingly appealing. It is made even more so by the extent to which so much wealth that has accumulated over the last two decades has come not from mineral extraction or physical entities, but from digital services that have exponentially increased the capacity of the digital realm to serve both cultural ends as well as many of the needs that are no longer being met by legacy physical institutions.
The web of digital relations can be conceptualized outside a conventional understanding of objects related to each other in space and tied to a series of desires and actions. The virtual nature of digital objects means that they are not necessarily confined to a specific location. Moreover, the fact that they exist on a specific server is less relevant than that they can be accessed by a particular person via a particular device that exists at a desired physical location. This is both due to the reproducibility of digital objects as well as the fact that their functionality for a specific human is manifested via a process of reading the object and bringing it into presence in the physical world. Nevertheless, they are able to encode relationships with each other in an easier manner than a physical object. In the process, they can also inscribe a temporal recording of the relationship and even how this relationship might also influence the material constitution of the object.
In forming a web of relations, however, it is important to remember that it is ultimately a human agent who initiates, values, and utilizes digital objects and their web. These digital objects become proxies not just for a physical object, but a much broader set of desires and motivations. This understanding assumes a context where these digital objects cannot communicate with one another without human initiation. This, however, is not necessarily the case. While an internet of things certainly requires human agents to set up the network, it is possible to imagine objects communicating with each other and modifying each other in the process. This capacity introduces an incredible depth of data and new horizon of potential in terms of what the object can be, how complex it can be, and what it can know and convey.
This web of relations still needs to be decoded, played, or decompressed so that it makes sense and is legible at the level of the human body as directed to sense perception and ultimately to sensuality and desire. In this sense, the web of digital objects is only as successful as it is in defining a purpose in the physical world. It must frame, make visible, and illuminate that physical world. Ideally, it must participate in disillusionment rather than being used for concealment. Ultimately, this is a question of whether the digital object actually lives up to the inherent promise of liberation and freedom inaugurated by a space of tension and translation in-between the physical and digital.
The digital object introduces to the physical object a new temporal dimension as well as an expanded field of traceable and evolving relations. This capacity makes it possible to create relationships between a set of objects as well its physical and digital milieu. Further, the capacity to add a number of different types of languages and modes of representation makes it possible to further frame and set up a mandate for relating to the digital and physical object. In the process, it becomes less productive to speak of a distinction between digital and physical objects and more useful to begin discussing hybrid objects.
The hybrid object requires those who encounter and interact with it to have faith in its language, capacity, and mandate. This faith rests on believing that others will relate to the object in a similar manner. This belief is largely driven by feeling that others will see the capacity of the object to act as a tool, status symbol, and token of exchange within a system of hybrid objects and outside of that system with other tokens of value. This faith rests in part on a belief that success in both the digital and physical realms can be combined. The hybrid object is then believed to be effective in both realms simultaneously when united via a common cause or theme that is expressed at the intersection and in translation between the two realms. It is further supported by a belief that economies that exist in each can be enhanced and amplified through their interaction. This is of particular interest as the digital is transforming the labor force through its capacity to make physical objects more efficient both internally through how they are designed with digital adds and integrations as well as externally through how they communicate with each other and with computational devices to make their operation more efficient and ultimately sustainable.
In the next phase of the evolution of this relationship, these objects have to be aligned via energy, activity, labor, synchronicity, efficacy, and sustainability. The generative capacity of the data and of engaging that object will define the difference it can make in the world. In this sense, the true capacity of the hybrid object is to improve quality of life. It must contribute to fulfilling a singular and collective necessity through taking advantage of the capacity of the digital to align different relationships to that differential force. Ultimately, it has the effect of reducing entropy through what becomes legible as a narrative, addressability, and orientation. Such a capacity can be used to integrate disparate people and forces that have been fragmented and denigrated by the current late capitalist system. In this sense, the hybrid object presents the possibility of designing a new system that integrates both dominant economic forces and sources of capital with marginalized people and places. Such a hybrid local and global, physical and digital network would redirect capital to the places where it is most needed while still providing profit for existing stakeholder in the late capitalist system.
Having developed a stance between the physical and digital object, it then becomes possible to see a broader orientation to an expanded hybrid field. This orientation sets up the possibility for acting on this hybrid field. It creates room for understanding one’s purpose and opinion from this point of view. Such purposes and opinions are naturally as diverse as the general population. Even within the context of a particular point of interest such as a cultural genre, these points of view are as varied as the audience of a concert. They do, however, both independently and collectively, define how one fits within this field. They define what one does to make this field one’s own – ranging from carving out a niche or putting on a costume to actively manipulating and even owning portions of the field.
The way in which people do so has particular consequences for others. This is for the most part true if one is in a position of power to exert or affect systemic change. It is in this context that it is important to ask how the hybrid object can encode or mandate a way of acting. It is to ask how the hybrid object can dictate a way of relating to and being situated in the world that might, in some cases, go against how someone could act if left to their own devices. This encoding would occur via how the hybrid object addresses and modifies language. It would do so at a number of levels that range across the digital and physical as well as across different locales and scales. More specifically, it would occur across the following levels: 1) states of hybrid objects; 2) ownership structures and distribution; 3) ways that it is inscribed in time; 4) specific contractual obligations; 5) the language of that object and its content; 5) the meta-relations such as a theoretical understanding; 7) the underlying code that can define future operations and level of automation; 8) the things to which it points in the world; and 9) the means of delivering that hybrid object and where it lives in the broader stack.
Acting on these different levels creates a tremendous capacity for agency. Such a capacity is largely contingent on a sufficiently large number of people being interested in engaging these different levels both in an active manner and passively when engaging a representation of other’s engagement. This latter group is particularly important because they become the consumers of hybrid objects. They become the readers, debaters, and collectors who support a web of meaning around these objects that situate them in the world as they relate to people, real estate, and community. They would have the capacity to validate the work of those who might be setting the terms and creating the mandate for what a hybrid object is and hopes to accomplish. They would, in turn, have the opportunity to represent their collection as well as its consequences in the world. In this sense, they might form a museum of change and the objects that trace that change that ultimately become a currency.
Unlike a physical object, a hybrid object’s temporality is not strictly external. It has the capacity to trace an evolving narrative that a human or group imposes. It can embed a set of past and future actions that can actively reflect how people relate to that object as well as how it is valued. This evolution – and more specifically how the object affects and is affected by it milieu – can trigger specific actions. These actions may, in turn, be contractually binding. It could take the overall gain in an object’s value and distribute those gains diversely across space as well as owners of that object. In this sense, the hybrid object could become a highly targeted investment vehicle. Buying an object means both a physical and digital trace as well as the thing, action, transformation that it points to that can ultimately contribute to that object’s overall value. This process would further enhance its capacity to transform both the physical and digital milieu. This process would allow hybrid objects to become new “tools.“ They could reach their full potential through transforming parts of the world that seem unable to progress or address pressing problems that seem intractable.
The architecture of such hybrid objects has yet to be fully elucidated. Significant investment in designing how hybrid objects are structured is required. Such an architecture would have to be designed with an eye towards the capacity of the hybrid object to positively impact conditions in the world in an authentic rather than contrived manner. This would require a broad open space where initiatives, dreams, and representations could come together as objects through collective input. It would be a space where hybrid objects could be collectively owned and authored. Any attempts to adhere to a regime of private ownership of such a creative marketplace would only diminish the value of the objects and their revolutionary potential.
The capacity for a hybrid object to dictate actions through a contract over time would require an organization that would be capable of writing these contracts, selecting a mission, bringing together a community around that mission, and producing a digital trace and a physical trace in the world. This organization would be responsible for the configuration of the hybrid object. The specificity of that configuration in terms of how it relates to the physical world and what physical and digital assets are brought together as part of the hybrid object would play a significant role in determining that object’s value. At the same time, it would be essential to determine the economy of that authoring organization. This would involve determining who and how that object is written and then authorized and exchanged. This would be a matter of putting an investment to work in a hybrid physical-digital milieu with an eye towards a return on investment for the investor and a broader community. This would involve animating the object through events, representation, and action. It would make the object performative.
It will then become essential to locate that performance and it’s current and future home – both physically and digitally. At the same time, it will be essential to structure this relationship. Through that structuring, value will be given to that object as a means of defining, expanding, and giving hierarchy to stakeholders. This in turn will allow for a broader definition of their engagement. Each will be given a different level of access to those traces that are connected to and inscribed in the physical objects and one‘s relationship to those objects. This will ultimately describe an expanded and distributed ownership structure of various components of the hybrid object. This would further revolutionize the capacity of the hybrid object to create community.
In the end, it is essential for those who wish to engage a hybrid object to determine the extent to which they are comfortable with change and, more specifically, whether they really want the current system to transform through the capacity of hybrid objects to operate differently than either physical or digital objects currently do. In this sense, we must ask what we want the politics of the hybrid object to be. This question would follow a history of both how objects are situated within cultures as well as how artists have actively manipulated this situatedness through work that challenges and creates new hierarchies. This process creates room for people to engage at a range of levels and as aligned with their particular belief system and worldview. It is a matter of aligning a specific often local condition with global attention via the marketplace on which that object is exchanged. This relationship becomes a matter of contractual obligation.
Blockchains and NFTs offer a unique opportunity to structure this relationship. On one had, they support creating and maintaining these objects in a decentralized manner. On the other, they offer the capacity for guaranteeing authenticity of the object as well as any additions that might be made. They support a community that comes together around a language that supports enforceability of contracts and value. This community can also come to play a vital role in determining how the impact of an object is measured. In many ways, it will become essential for these communities to define what measurability means and how it relates to the broader value of the object. This can occur in a variety of manners and at different skills, arenas, and levels. It is tied to the broader differential nature of the hybrid object ranging from the capacity to record and track to the capacity to recall the smallest difference. In this sense, change is not monolithic, but can be measured at the level of the individual. Doing so ultimately places some value of the object in its summary capacity. It creates a unified point of focus and representation of a complex situation. In this sense, when the digital object is not just a stand in for a physical object and embraces the full capacity of the digital web of relations, it becomes an expanded object that both tracks and effects everything from the neighborhood and workers that create a work of art to charities that an artist wants a percent of the future sales to go to.
The hybrid object has the capacity to change the ownership structure of things in the world and alter the authority that issues titles and adjudicates what the relationship between humans and law looks like. This can occur through how risk and reward are distributed across space and time. This capacity is contingent on how the hybrid object is seen by the public and what that public wants out of that object. This can range from a tool of financial speculation to one of contractual obligation. How each is framed and how it is involved in the world is essential. It forms the discourse around these objects and how these objects support discourse. Ultimately, this becomes contingent on how that structure connects to points of exchange where things are valued and evaluated. Successfully operationalizing such objects would require forming a means of translating and connecting a marketplace of these hybrid objects with exchanges where money changes hands at points of sale. This would define the definitive value of that object as a measure of its differential capacity. This might ultimately be a measure of revolutionary capacity as tied to the capacity to provoke, ignite a movement, and imagine a world other than the one we currently occupy.
Designing, operating, and exchanging the hybrid object creates the capacity to alter race relations. Such relations are ultimately a reflection of an ownership structure. The hybrid object offers an alternative that would be predicated on a desire to actually transfer wealth as well as the capacity to set up a structure to do so. This could occur via property and community development, affordable housing, scholarships, or direct payment. The specific choice would become part of the brand of that object. In doing so, it would essentially link that object to a means of validating how community and economic development occurs. In essence, it would link that object to a capacity to vote for a particular path forward. It would link it to a means of signaling allegiance to what that object can do.
In this sense, the hybrid object could be connected to an operational politics that insists on representation – and representative democracy more specifically – as having an actionable purpose directly tied to a time period with immutable contractual deadlines. Doing so would have the capacity to carve out enclaves where things are otherwise. Within these enclaves, the law would be otherwise. Here, institutional accountability would be as the community desires it to be. This would make it possible for the hybrid objects could be used to put pressure on legacy spaces and systems. Together, they would engender a new space where, through the transparency and evolving nature of the object, it is genuinely possible to trace progress.
The ultimate goal of these reflections is not merely to describe a structure relating different types of objects, but to offer ways to link the physical and the digital so that each can benefit the other as well as the people who value these spaces. More specifically, the goal is for this relationship to offer new ways of creating links between highly valued systems and objects and those with less value in the hopes of elevating the value of the latter. In the process, an evolved relationship between subjects and objects will form. This relationship between hybrid objects and subjects will play a significant role in supporting or hindering our health.
The role that the relationship between the subject and object plays in our physical and mental health has a long history that many theorists have attempted to analyze and systematize. Each forms and influences the other in ways that in some cases allow the subject to thrive and in others may make the subject beholden to the object – a mere cog in a machine that reduces the subject to the status of thing. In the current context, through the value and operationality of a hybrid object, the subject can enhance their own agency through translating and transferring that value to another form of currency.
In many ways, a fully realized hybrid object that utilizes blockchain coupled with an NFT could become the currency of cultural capital. Such a currency, would not just rest in the qualitative but could have a specific quantitative value based on the architecture of the hybrid object. It would be derived from how the digital object structures that relationship through contracts and language. Cryptocurrency would be an ideal currency because of the structural and ideological affinity. In the process, a more diverse group of people would be given direct control over their cultural capital. It would become harder for this cultural capital to be appropriated and thus more valuable because it remains in the hands of the creator. It would give these creators more resources to thrive, evolve, and build equity in their personal or collective brand. This would contribute to a broader process of disintermediation and defragmentation that would give more money directly to the individual.
This process in turn could support a healthier lifestyle that would free up more money for self-care. It would require less so-called backbreaking work and less exposure to literal and figurative toxic work environment. Alienation from work would be illuminated via a more direct contractual relationship to what that work is directed towards. It would be predicated on the capacity to develop a direct relationship between people as economic agents as opposed to having to pass through a superstructure that can change intent and serve its own ends. To achieve this capacity of hybrid objects, we need to design objects that fully realize an expanded field and scale in order to draw interest around this mission of transformation. Doing so would require teaching people how to make these digital objects and then would involve giving them the tools to do so independently. This ultimately would require building an expansive exchange that conceptualizes a productive relationship between mature hybrid objects containing physical / digital objects that relate to and help form a system and network of physical / digital subjects. If this work is to serve the purpose outlined here, it must occur under an ethos of liberation.