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US currency reimagined to celebrate ideas, not the dead

Travis Purrington imagines money without the Founding Fathers

Travis Purrington's interpretation of the US currency looks like it belongs in a cyberpunk movie. Gone is the uniformed green, and the portraits of long-dead presidents. Purrington's designs are subtle yet sleek, embossed with astronauts, crashing waves, ice-capped mountains, and distant galaxies.

The project draws inspiration from the Swiss Franc, and was conceptualized to showcase banknotes that placed greater emphasis on the accomplishments of the living, rather than "codifying myth or legend." Purrington says he removed the Founding Fathers from his design as this was a practice Congress had wanted to abolish following the American revolution. He wanted to focus instead on the attributes shared by workers in a community, and "how these attributes contribute to the principles we end up seeing as valuable."

Each dollar bill contains two phrases: "This currency is upheld by the integrity of its people," and "Uires Alit," which means "strength feeds" in Latin. Purrington says that while not immediately obvious, his reinterpretations include elements from the existing bank notes such as the eagles, the US flag, and the Treasury seal. In addition, there are also key phrases from the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the national anthem embedded within the notes. "I think these are very America' but in a different context than we have grown accustomed," Purrington tells The Verge in an email.


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