Call for Participation: Currency

Currency is often taken simply to mean money, but if currency also suggests relevance, presence, value and systems of exchange, what exactly has currency in an era in which value systems seem to be shifting? When a state of fluidity characterizes everything, how is value built and enhanced, and what kind of currency is worthy of our investment?

DesignInquiry invites makers and thinkers of all disciplines to contribute projects to its 2019 topic: Currency. Our source is the wellspring of value and communication systems that counter — or supplement — the precarious conditions of the present. The emergence of “alternative currencies,” from handshakes to skills-shares, and of systemic proposals ranging from postal banking to universal basic income schemes to crypto-currencies may represent efforts to stabilize exchange amid the collapse of mercantile systems, (see the recent e-flux journal “What’s Love Got to do with it?”) Think memory banks (Keith Hart), precarity pilots (Brave New Alps), network power (David Singh Grewal) and Errol Flynn swashbuckling backwards up the stairs.

This topic is a kind of creative stock-piling, celebrating creative practices of generosity and care to create a fertile laboratory of ideas, a skunkworks of invention to slowly release into the future. If money shares an etymological link with memory, muse and museum (a place for depositing memories) and currency shares a link with current, then what will be memorable and current tomorrow? Trophies on the wall or things in circulation? Solo achievement or collective inquiry? The love you make or the love you take?

Currency Pop-Up 
October 10-13, 2019
Portland, Maine
Part of DesignInquiry’s Futurespective exhibition, a homecoming Inquiry for DesignInquirers old and new.

Costs TBA. This Pop-Up Inquiry will include registration, materials and some meals. Participants should expect to participate in a public component over the course of the weekend. Accommodations are not included in this larger-format pop-up, please make your own arrangements.

Request a questionnaire. (Organizing for this Inquiry will take place over the late spring-summer of 2019.)

Currency Inquiry
June 2020
Vinalhaven, Maine

Planning for our annual gathering on Vinalhaven will begin in 2020. We hope to see you there!

Additional Inquiries
DesignInquiry welcomes widespread collaborative explorations of the topic Currency; please be in touch with ideas and possibilities.

Brave New Alps.(2015). Precarity Pilot: Making Space for Socially- and Politically-Engaged Design Practice. Modes of Criticism 1.

Curtiz, M and Keighley, W. (1938) The Adventures of Robin Hood. USA. Warner Bros.

Hart, Keith. (2001). Money in an Unequal World: Keith Hart and his Memory Bank W. W. Norton & Company

Kuan Wood, B. (2017) “Is it Love?” What’s Love (or Care, Intimacy, Warmth, Affection) Got to do With It? e-flux & Sternberg Press.

Stiegler, B. (2013). Care: Within the limits of capitalism, economizing means taking care. in Telemorphosis: Theory in the Era of Climate Change, University of Michigan Library: Open Humanities Press. Available at http://quod. lib. umich. edu/o/ohp/10539563.0001, 1, 25.

Tronto, J. (1993) Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care. New York: Routledge