METAHAVEN WORKSHOP

Vinca Kruk und Daniel van der Velden (Metahaven) waren gleich eine ganze Woche zu Gast rund um das Visuelle Systeme Special. Ihr Intensiv-Workshop war dem Thema Währung und ihren Systemen gewidmet. Insbesondere die ganzheitliche Problemuntersuchung und ihre gestalterische Lösung stand auf dem Programm. Zusätzlich gab es als Vortrag die 'Metahaven Q&A' (Questions & Answers), in dem sich Vinca und Daniel gegenseitig ins Wortspiel und Kreuzverhör über Gestaltung nahmen. Eine wunderbar unterhaltsame Idee, um mit dem herkömmlichen Portfolio-Präsentieren zu brechen.

BRIEFING

Imagine, create and design an alternative currency.

Background:
Money is in turmoil. No one needs to remind you of the recent panic over the euro. But the alarm over the status of the single European currency is only the tip of the iceberg. Both in local communities as well as in online environments from social networks to games, the call for alternative currencies is getting louder. Only a few years ago there was speculation over the internet search engine Google starting its own currency. With the financial crisis spreading, parts of the Unites States already living off ‘food stamps’, there is a growing interest for many social groups to change the way they monetize their existence – for example, to decrease their dependency on bank loans. Socially generated microfinancing – as through the Kiva non-profit corporation – is redefining the area of corporate investment, while ‘mobile money’ which was started succesfully in Third World-countries is now fast changing the existing approaches to banking. For example, one of the founders of the social networking site Twitter was recently involved in starting up a new type of internet and mobile bank called BankSimple. The outlook of these practices can be seen as part of a slow-paced retreat process of the welfare state, where the management of risk and the provision of lifetime security is increasingly delegated from the state to the social sphere. From Ulrich Beck’s early analysis in the Risk Society, to the latest in social networks becoming entangled with governance, this transformation process is sure to yield interesting – if sometimes terrifying – results in the near future. From its early interest in offshore banks and the world of ‘shadow finance’, Metahaven is now preparing a publication on the future of currencies where these developments will be analyzed and speculated upon from a cultural, social and political anlysis as well as a design perspective.

Details:
Inquire about the developments in the field of alternative currencies and about situations where such currencies may be effective. As part of the workshop you must take this research aspect very seriously. We will discuss some of the social and political opportunities and pitfalls, in light of the concept of the social network becoming an
increasingly dominant supplement to the political sovereignty of the nation-state. Then invent, create and design your own hypothetical currency on the basis of the findings of the research process. Try your creativity not to be limited by your research, and vice versa: ask as many questions as you can and try to find answers, and don’t let this be limited by your obligation to design.

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