16th November 2017

16 November 2017, 6-8pm 
17 / 18 November 2017, 10-5pm
20 November 2017, 6-8pm w. book launch

The fast pace and shifting developments of cryptocurrencies and their underlying technologies have been hailed as the next revolution that will change the world. More critical views of this tech-centered position however often foreground accessibility issues, security risks, technical limitations and environmental concerns. These ongoing contradicting debates and positions raise significant questions not only about new forms of currency but the economic, social and political constructs that surround them. Challenging current norms of value representation in society and culture, this exhibition aims to investigate different perspectives of how financial technologies may influence our lives. More specifically, this exhibition aims to question how new algorithmic and computational processes may influence our daily practices of value exchange and commodification. How we understand the future of such interactions has been the subject of the ESRC-funded research project After Money lead by researchers in Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh.


The research project explored a series of design probes and provocations to make aspects of these new and complex technological principles more accessible to more general publics beyond often technology-focused audience. The experiential, playful and interactive designs of GeoCoin, Bitcoin Marriages and AfterMoney Sweets on show aim to challenge and uncover current value exchange practices which may move beyond monetary transactions in the future. The work presented here aims to question what constitutes currency and how it will change in the future? With new developing technologies as well as increasingly precarious economic situations, how will we exchange value beyond current monetary transactions in a distributed autonomous future? What forms of exchange will emerge and what may constitute currency and value in these different contexts? These questions were raised and discussed with the interactive installations as well as design workshops over the course of the 18-month project to engage audiences with new technological advances and to rethink future practices.


Complimentary to the research project’s work, we have selected a series of art work which aim to reconsider and challenge norms, practices and cultures of commodification and their value(s). With {poem}.py Pip Thornton critiques current practices of linguistic capitalism by feeding poetry through Google’s advertising platform AdWords, and recording the monetary value assigned to each word. Max Dovey’s piece BREATH (BRH) uses crypto-currencies to investigate the role of the body in emerging financial systems and how the body can perform computational processes by using human respiration to mine crypto-currencies. Similarly, Dominic Smith has developed a BlockMirror combines the viewer’s reflection with the act of mining currency to illustrate our value potential within this system. It hints at a possible future where all aspects of our lives and our attention are commodified and mined for currency.