Our Founders: Forging relationships


the(€x)¢hange Office/

numismatic gambling /we have the best rate 1:1

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action/performance: -symposium Eurovision2000/cafe9.net, Prague 2000 -festival Stagione di Caccia/Hunting Season, Bologna 2001

click here for >>(€X)change Bologna (video document & text)(Ex)change is a roving foreign exchange office accepting only coins rather than bills, and having a fixed rate-of-exchange of one coin for one coin (1:1), regardless of "market" value.You are invited to take a (small) risk and exchange one coin for another. This exchange of increasingly useless spare change suggests a host of symbolic questions.

The characteristics of this foreign exchange "office" are:

It deals only in small, street-level, human-scale transactions: small change, loose change, and spare change…. What in fact the "real" exchange offices refuse to exchange, because the weight-to-value ratio makes it unprofitable for them. It’s exchange rate is always 1:1, that is, one coin exchanged for one coin, regardless of the face value, relegating the money to an "object", a souvenir, a collectible (a last sentiment in the face of inevitable replacement of European national currencies by the regional euro). Since the value is so minimized as to become symbolic, the real relative market values of the currencies will not be calculated, except for purposes of curiosity. For example, such phenomenon as the fact the the smallest coin in circulation in France (5 centimes) is four times less valuable than the smallest in circulation in Switzerland (also 5 centimes or "rapin"), etc…Focuses attention on an "inverted economy", in which the minimal, concrete exchange takes precedence over the attention placed in the media on buy-outs, take-overs, mergers, embezzlement, and other such abstract shifting of invisible or electronic money, and large incomprehensible sums.Creates a market of "bartering" for money, whereby the face value of the coin is supplanted by an exotic or aesthetic value for the "consumer" of money, a revival of virtually worthless coins by assigning them sentimental value.Negates the idea of a relative, floating economic power relationship between national economies, as defined by an inter-relationship of their currencies...by imposing a fixed, fair rate of exchange.Usurps the mythical powerful-sounding currencies like "Swiss Franc" or "dollar" by acknowledgement only of the name of the modest sub-denomination "centime" or "cent".

There are no questions of "convertibility": all coin currencies will be accepted.

(Ex)change was first presented in 2000 in Prague, in the context of the symposium EuroVision2000 and the cafe9.net project. This second edition of (Ex)change in Bologna will carry the special significance of occurring one week before the monetary "change" to the Euro.

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>>AFTER (€X)CHANGE (video document & text)