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Conceptual artist builds money-powered currency exchange

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Conceptual artist Jonathon Keats has created a money-powered currency exchange as a statement against modern finance.

jonathon keats wired
jonathon keats wired

Money functions as a store of value, a way for people to save the fruits of their labors and consume them some time in the future. Conceptual artist Jonathon Keats is taking this idea one step further in his new work, which uses a battery built out of Chinese coins and saltwater to run a simple calculator. It's a currency exchange that uses money as a store of real value — actual electrical power. The project is a DIY statement against the intricacy, risk, and impermeability of modern finance, and opens April 12th at the New York City's Engineer's Gallery beneath 20 Rockefeller Center. The building's namesake (John D. Rockefeller) built his fortune on America's burgeoning energy industry — adding another layer of symbolism to the project.

"Rockefeller amassed his vast wealth in the oil business, so energy literally made his fortune. I’m reversing the process, using money to produce energy.”

While the piece is no doubt intriguing in its own right, it's also good to know that when the international financial markets have completely collapsed and people are fighting for survival we'll be able to extract the last bit of value from our few remaining coins.