Title: When does 1=2.2?
Description: Create two stations on the floor consisting of thin floor mats with metal plates and hammers on each, with simple instructions at each station. Next to station #1 would be a tray of pre-1982 copper pennies. At station #1 the instructions would direct the viewer to take a penny and to hammer it flat until little or no signs of the minted markings are visible. At station #2 the viewer would be able to add their own marks to the "coin" with various metal stamps available. There would be large-font wall text on the wall behind the two stations (e.g. vinyl letters) that says "When does 1 = 2.2?" The statement would consist of the quote "A coin is only worth what someone will pay for it" which would be on the tray of pennies.
Turn up the volume on the player if it is at a low setting.
Context for “When does 1=2.2?”: The question “When does 1=2.2?” refers to the fact that the 1959-1982 Lincoln Head pennies (95% copper) are worth approximately 2.2 cents as #2 copper scrap. This project is designed to profane money in a way similar to Cesare Pietroiusti’s projects which involve destroying money in various ways, including eating paper currency. However, in his projects, it is the artist who takes the active role of destroying the money. As participatory art is viewed as a response to the effects of a capitalist society, including an alienation of the individual (Marx; Debord), I have constructed this project to invite the viewer to be in the active role of destroying the money. Thus, not only is there a profaning, or mis-using of money as a way to create a shifting between the reality that we know (that money is held sacred) and the reality that the viewer-participant is experiencing (destroying the money, but it does not actually lose value in this case!), which will possibly create an opening for new thinking about money, how it obtains its value, etc. (Agamben); but there is also a collaboration between the viewer-participant and the artist in the vein of Eco’s “work in movement” which is designed to empower the individual in reaction against the dehumanizing effects of capitalism and Debord’s “spectacle”. This project also creates the opportunity for a spectator position, with the spectator becoming a participant as well, but in an observer role, not unlike the isolating of the individual through the mass-focus on the spectacle. However, the spectator will have the option of becoming an active participant, and thus become empowered through the destroying of a penny and by putting their own personal marks on it.