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Lena Ghaninejad
Lena Ghaninejad

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Liminal Matter β€” Future Money Progress Grant Report #4

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Project Update

Currently, I'm in the process of putting together a short written essay (ca. 5000 words) developing some ideas that were explored during the creation of the project itself, as well as new ones that emerged during its presentation to the summit's audience.

Every artwork only comes to life once it comes into contact with a public. In this case, what I found interesting is that the audience was not primarily there to see art, but to exchange ideas on open and equitable payment systems; meanwhile, many of the technical concepts and initiatives that were being presented were new to us, artists grantees. Therefore, the dynamic was quite unique and mutually enriching, because it quickly became evident that we were all making similar points, only using a different language. To me that became a main takeaway of my experience there, and one that further illustrates the praxis of resource sharing and networks that was the core of the project.

Progress on Objectives (KPI’s) (progress on project)

The objectives behind the work were:

  • "To weave together barley, obsidian and hologram technology to illustrate the evolution of currency": the aim of the project was to retrace the genesis of currency from something tangible that comes from the Earth (obsidian and grains), into something immaterial (represented by the hologram) which may leave certain communities behind if concrete solutions aren't found to use technology as a tool for inclusivity. Each element (barley, obsidian, hologram projector) was sourced 12 to 16 weeks (except the plexiglass platform -6 weeks) ahead of the summit for prior research testing and to ensure timely delivery. The option of using coltan was left out because of difficulties in ethical sourcing. The representation for the hologram figure (Shana, ancient Levantine goddess of agriculture) was sourced in the Louvre Museum, and designed for holographic projection with motion designer Tez over the course of 6 weeks, during which several options were tested (outlines, shadows, glitches, colour). We eventually decided to keep it as simple as possible in order to stay aligned with the futurist minimalism of the project.
  • The hologram projector was made to measure by Oversea Productions, pioneers of hologram technology in France. Its production was a three way process between their team, the 3D designer and myself, and included a 2 hours technical training and testing to learn how to operate the projector.
  • "The use of weblike networks such as myccorhizal networks, i.e. underground networks found in plant communities which connects individual plants together to transfer water, nitrogen, carbon and other minerals": although I was very keen on using this idea, together with the graphic designer we decided not to actualize it since upon testing we realised that those networks would be detrimental to the design of the statue itself, once it is projected as a hologram (blurred, unclear, less definition). Therefore, we decided to keep the statue as close as possible to its real life appearance.
  • "To include edible elements for the audience and turn the display into an interactive food installation": I had in mind to cook the barley and use it for a shared community dinner, but this wasn't possible due to logistics and legal reasons.
  • "To provide a vision for a post-anthropocene future where resources are shared in ways that are democratic, inclusive & equitable; and illustrate the idea that technology can be used to build new models for the greater good": the idea behind the project was to provide an allegory for a technological future rooted in material and financial equity. The conversations I had with visitors during the summit enriched the vision that I was bringing forward; meanwhile the exchanges that were made with visitors while viewing the work provided an added perspective and alternative narrative to their vision of financial inclusion.
  • There is one objective that emerged shortly before the summit, and that was to provide avenues of reflection on the human/spiritual dimension of technology. Although to me it was an obvious part of the work, upon first meeting the visitors I realised this may be an aspect that needed to be articulated. Technology is at its best when it operates as a tool at the service of people and following humanistic values of social equity and justice. To me, the project achieved its goal by prompting the question: how human do we want technology to be?

Short video (3-5 minutes) Describing the conceptual thought around the process.

What’s Next?

As previously mentioned, I am currently writing a short essay discussing some ideas that were explored during the process itself, and new ones that emerged during its presentation to the summit's audience. I also would like to further explore the food/technology axis. Issues surrounding food justice and distribution are growing at the same exponential rate as questions surrounding a fair and ethical use of technology. I believe there is a fertile crossover between these two fields and much to be said about how they can both be used as tools to design a more equitable global society.

Community Support

I actually would like to take this opportunity to thank the whole team for their incredible support throughout each step of the project. As a grantee I felt fully supported on every level while being given the space to exchange, ask questions and connect with the other grantees. The entire process --creative, interpersonal, and organisational-- has been, and still is, an extremely valuable experience for me as a grantee.

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Lawil Karama

Thank you @lenaghaninejad for the report.
Looking forward to reading your essay's.