Things in Our Hands
objects casted from melted euro coins
In its paper and metal apparition, money serves as a direct and physical, albeit symbolic, carrier for value. The nature of material currency is fundamentally twofold - it is purely semiotic and fully substantial at the same time. Money embodies an essential coincidentia oppositorum; on one hand it is a mere representation based on general agreement and trust, its metaphysical value being constituted and ratified by ceaseless spinning of an abstract economic system. On the other hand, the material currency exists entirely in its corporeality and its vulnerable presence in the physical reality - it can be held in hands, forgotten in pockets, hidden, stolen, damaged, lost and forged.
Before there was any concept of money, the only value we put on things was how they would help us survive. Value is fleeting and is dependent upon a numerous amount of factors and situations, the primary of which are scarcity and demand. What makes money worth something is its rarity and desirability as well as whether or not it can be used and traded for tangible assets and necessities. Money may be worth those things today, but it wont buy anything in apocalyptic times or in catastrophic, existential situations. In the absence of trade and prices money, the way we have it materialized now, is of no (or very little) use.
In an attempt to inflict the material of coins a higher (and real, practical) value, we used it to manufacture complex objects which can inspire various uses and, moreover, in dire times they could be the highest desired currency: tools for survival.
Things in Our Hands is a series of sculptures made out of melted euro coins, looking like mysterious tools, weapons of a dark cult or unidentifiable archaeological findings. The casts are hard and fragile, pointy and round, sharp and ergonomic, pragmatic and strange. Here, money is liberated from its symbolical value and can be used as hand axes, as useful survival means: for digging, cutting, stabbing, splitting. Similarly to the narrative of money itself, these sculptures trace the shift from concrete to abstract. Made by human hands and inheriting their shapes, they incarnate the bittersweet relation between our bodies and money, the ephemerality of both, and foreshadow their ends.
Things in our hands embody the state of before and after the existence of money in our world, they materialise the two end points of its trajectory. On one end, they are rooted in pre-history, in the times before money was invented, when collaboration preceded competition and ownership did not infect human interactions. On the other end, they are forecasting the after-apocalyptic future when money becomes valueless and can only count and be used as pure matter. Things in our hands might look like fossils from the past, but in fact they prefigure fossils from the future.
Value is fiction, matter is real.