This is the final design I did for the shop banknotes. I completely re did parts, like the drawing of Martin and edited certain elements from the previous design. I’ve tried to give the design an etched look, creating line based pattern fills and generally using line for most of the design.

Based on the discussion we had I used exact change as the denomination of currency.

I was planning to print the money using silkscreen or lithograph but I would also test it out on inkjet which as it turned out, works pretty well but before I decided to commit to printing the money via inkjet, I printed out the design on a laser printer to see what the difference in detail was and whether it was worth bothering with lithographs considering the extra time and effort. So I talked to Jess about it and decided that the possibility of a slight increase in detail didn’t justify all the extra time and effort, especially when printing more than one colour would double the printing time.

I was quite proud of my work on the fake notes, a few people thought they were real when at first I handed them a note. I was concerned about the trouble I might get in for making something so similar to actual banknotes when we were looking to do shop in Bournemouth but the idea of doing it in London got me a lot more worried.
I’m sure it would make an amusing story for my fellow prisoners if they were to lock me up for it but that wouldn’t really justify going ahead with the plan as is and distributing them in Selfridges.

So I talked about what to do with the group. We discussed various options; making them less realistic or not using them at all. I’m still unsure what to do.

Today I met up with Ellie K and we went to see the money at the British Museum as research for her project and came across this interesting note.

Equitable Labour Exchange note worth 10 hours work

As it says on the British museum website, it’s a note issued as part of a scheme set up by Robert Owen (1771-1858), the Socialist reformer and philanthropist.

He’s best know for his mills at New Lanark. I’ve been to New Lanark in the past, it’s a interesting place to visit if you’re interested in cooperative socialism. I really liked it.

Robert Owen opened two ‘Equitable Labour Exchanges’ in London and Birmingham. Workers exchanged their goods for special notes, which were valued according to the time needed to produce items: these notes could then be used to buy other goods, which were valued in the same way. An hour’s work was worth sixpence. This note from the Birmingham branch is worth ten hours; Robert Owen’s name can be seen to the lower right. The experiment failed because the exchanges became overstocked with goods which did not sell.

Anyway, Ellie K and I were talking about producing a note like this instead of a fake banknote. We have already said on our note is redeemable for 10 minutes of our time. They can still be as highly detailed and contain many of the same elements that are on the existing note but they wouldn’t be a stand in for money.
Their worth would be measured in our time, in the same way as Owen’s ELE, they would use this token to purchase the time we used to make each product, in that sense they would only be used to get products if we can word it so on the note.

The other thing we were discussing was printing this note one sided. On the reverse we can put the exhibition title, date and location so that they would essentially double up was advertising for shop which we could give out as leaflets or invitations to the exhibition.

2 Responses to “My never ending side project”

  1. Ashley says:

    That was a very good post, I think i’ve found the development of the money very interesting.

    Firstly, if we don’t go ahead with this I want one, actually two. One i’ll keep, the other i would like to bury in some sort of time capsule/geocaching thing.
    you dig?

    and well yes i think a single sided note would be good for publising/enticing people to ‘Shop’, on the note (the puns today, amazing).

    I’m thinking about the cash machine, been doing to some, struggling with the backend technologies, i’ll blog bout it sometime but we’ll see.

    I would like input on the bank cards and think they too could be used to entice people to come along.

    speak soon, ash

  2. fred says:

    Yeah, I think it could work well… it does change the viewers role and experience, its more removed from real shopping, it does keep the focus on value and worth but its on the labour and that time went into the manufacture of products, make us the artists more central in the work, if they weren’t art objects the time/labour currency would work better, be interesting pushing the audience/consumer to think about the value of time or labour in relation to products more.

    Does this slightly move focus at the beginning separate or confuse audience from core idea being… the real value of products, and us presenting a platform for thought and questioning to create a strong contrast between what consumers are being sold (through advertising,product packaging and retail outlets) and what we actually get. Presenting the absurdity of the selling, with it emphasis on desire and creating need to make money. To make a humorous, maybe even tongue in cheek attack on the passive role of the consumer and how advertising lies and we accept the lives and buy into them.

    The event and the ideas has and has had to change… we just have to make sure we make the right changes and compromises.

    fredx