Chaos is here.
You may not feel it yet. You may not yet be fully immersed in her aura.
But let us assure you: she is here.
For the 77 of us in Camp Chaos, she has already arrived. She arrived 6 days ago, on March 8th 2022, when Camp Chaos first came alive.
The 3rd camp out of the Songcamp ecosystem, Camp Chaos is an 8-week experiment in collective creation amongst 77 artists — a rambunctious group of musicians, designers, storytellers, engineers and operatives.
The mission? Become Chaos herself.
In Greek Mythology there is a Goddess of Chaos named Eris. She is also referred to as the Goddess Of Discord.
We first came to learn about Eris in the final weeks of 2021, when ideas around a Camp called Chaos began to percolate on Songcamp’s weekly Heartbeat calls.
As these conversations began to stir, Songcamp member Shamanic told us of a modern day religion called Discordianism centered around Eris, the Goddess of Discord.
In some ways, we felt like we were already communing and creating in Eris’s name. Discord is the very place where we coordinate and communicate as a network.
And what a chaotic experience it is — to learn to organize and create value together in these higher fidelity modes that web3 so uniquely allows.
We’ve felt this chaos many times before — most pungently in our first two camps at Songcamp.
Camps are cohorted experiments that we run twice a year at Songcamp. Akin to the smushing together of a songwriting camp + web3 hackathon, each camp takes a group of curated artists through an immersive journey of play and experimentation at the far out edges of music + the new internet.
Camp Genesis (Spring 2021) and Camp Elektra (Summer 2021) both exceeded our expectations of what can happen when you take a highly-curious group of artists and throw them in the deep end of collective creation on the Internet. Tack on the ability to actually carve out value for the output of those experiments, and we realized we had landed on something special.
But these camps were not without their challenges.
Crashing talented people into each other on the Internet quite literally produces a creative explosion. So much beauty comes out of this eruption — both in art, as well as in the human bonds formed.
But so too comes the loud ringing in the ears, the thunderclap of energy that courses through our collective body. This chaos leaks its way into our communication with one another, our interpersonal relating. In sum, it gets messy. Because humans are messy and when a bunch of us show up together with our full selves, that messiness—that chaos—amplifies.
One of the clearest places this chaos manifests itself centers around value — how we value each other's work as well as our own. So often, when the topic of money enters the room, our artist selves scurry out the other end.
Artists have long been cornered into referencing archaic templates on how to value and monetize their work. Now we are playing in fresh waters, and these older mechanisms simply don’t map.
In Camp Elektra, we felt this deeply. Attempting to carve out and divide up value for our collectively-created and emergent work was difficult to say the least. And central decisions on what people’s time and outcomes are worth didn’t feel aligned with our wider ethos.
So for Camp 3, we’ve taken these challenges and instead of fighting them — we’ve decided to play with them. Much like in Judo, we are utilizing these forces and steering them towards our purpose, rather than fighting against them.
Instead of fighting the chaos, in this camp we are becoming chaos.
Instead of valuing ourselves as individuals, in this camp we are valuing ourselves as one whole.
In Camp 3, we will become one headless band called Chaos.
Alright, let’s break it down.
Camp Chaos will run 8 weeks. We’ve designed this camp such that, over time, we are venturing ever deeper into the realms of chaos. This group of 77 individuals will increasingly become more like a hivemind, a swarm, a murmuration of artists — moving as one. Moving as Chaos.
Over the course of 8 weeks, 50 musicians will co-create 50 songs. Through an exhilarating virtual journey of chaotic coordination, new teams will be formed every two weeks. At the start of each 2-week period (which we are calling Acts), a new band of 3 musicians will be formed, and they will have the entirety of that Act to start and finish a song from scratch, before reshuffling into their new groupings. This will happen for 6 weeks — the first 3 Acts.
We’ve divided these 8 weeks into 4 Acts, each one taking us deeper into the realms of Chaos:
Act I: Order
Act II: Disorder
Act III: Entropy
Act IV: Rebirth
In the last two weeks, the 50 resulting records will be mastered, paired with cover artwork, and encased into NFTs.
The remaining 30 people are organized into the following teams: Visual, Build, Economics, Lore and Operations. They ensure the wheels are turning in all other pockets of this collective project: be it the cover artwork and graphic designs, the NFT project and website with all its custom strappings (more details to come), the external storytelling (like this very essay) and the internal coordination that keeps the gears turning for all of us.
The crescendo of this 8 weeks camp will manifest as an NFT collection under the name Chaos.
But more on that later. Before we get to our destination, let us savour the journey…
The most exciting and resonant facet of artmaking — unsurprisingly — is the making of it. It is the process itself that both exhilarates and satisfies the artist child within us all.
When co-creating with dozens of artists over the Internet, we enter an exciting dimension in which we can actually capture this process as it happens. Voice calls, chats, file sharing, real-time zoom sessions — all of it is happening online. The process itself is naturally imprinting itself onto the Internet.
Moreover, by releasing that very artwork via web3 mechanisms, we also get to share in a more intimate and resonant relationship with our audience. This all gets captured and carved into the public record that is the blockchain, turning our digital interactions into artifacts — into lore.
In Camp Elektra, we tasted this clearly for the first time. And we gave name to it: Immersive Digital Theatre.
We see Immersive Digital Theatre as the native artform that these nascent technologies make available to us. Web3 gives us a digital theatre — and we intend to use that stage, and co-create all manner of inspired stories.
In Camp 3, this comes to fruition through the exciting introduction of Chaos Radio.
Chaos Radio is a bi-weekly podcast telling the story of Camp Chaos in real-time. Produced by Levi Downey, with a team of 5, Chaos Radio will document how this headless artist Chaos comes into being over these 8 weeks — and share it with you all as it happens.
Today, we present to you…
You can also listen to Episode 1 of Chaos Radio here.
Today we enter Week 2 of Camp Chaos — the second week of Act I. Demos are well underway, graphic designs are flying into the chat, code is hitting our github, and the early signs of a headless artist are beginning to take shape.
We are very much at the early stages of this experiment. We are entirely unsure of where we will end up. Will we find harmony in the chaos? Or will chaos consume us?
We haven’t the slightest clue. But we are sure as hell going to find out.