Electricity, Light and Money Without Us
Electricity, Light and Money Without Us @ WRO Art Center (as a part of the Point Nemo solo show), 2020
"Electricity, Light and Money Without Us" is an interpassive installation by Paweł Janicki, a part of the "Point Nemo" solo show at the WRO Art Center (2020).
Electricity, Light and Money Without Us is a work using power generators operating on the basis of the “penny battery” mechanism to power a series of measuring devices. The work literally process money (coins) into electricity and somehow examines the “final” value – the energy potential – of money. At a time of the dematerialization of money and the emergence of its new forms, such as cryptocurrency, the work perversely takes obsolete media – coins, representing even completely worthless currencies (often the price of raw material and the cost of producing coins in these currencies are higher than their purchasing power).
Words “electricity,” “light,” and “money” often appear in pairs containing two words from the triad. Each of the pairs seems quite obvious, because they are basically mutually convertible resources. At the right moment, access to the specific resource from the set can be a matter of survival or death. They all have a long history of connections with power, violence, and civilization changes. Each of the elements of the triad have served as an axis around which to create religions, political systems (early communism approached electrification in political rather than in technical terms), and scientific disciplines. Currently, each of these resources also occurs in a symbolic or substitutive form: electricity exists more in relation to information than to energy; light is no longer a range of electromagnetic spectrum received by the eyes, and, instead, a much more complex, physical phenomenon; money has lost the parity of gold and even materiality. In addition, these resources have become more and more autonomous (even money, which nevertheless seems to be a human creation), and they may be able to do better without us than we do without them. They can play their own games in which humanity is cheap and can be a superfluous resource.
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Video documentation from the Point Nemo by Mira Boczniowicz courtesy of the WRO Art Center.