This panel will consider the work of artists in Africa, the United States and the Caribbean that incorporate coins and banknotes and other alternative currencies into their artistic practice as a way to critically engage with broader questions around the aesthetic and material power of the money form and the global politics of systems of circulation, financialization and value creation. Mark Auslander will discuss the work of several prominent African money artists using decommissioned banknotes to evoke the precarious state of local financial systems as well as the predicament of labor migrants that use masking traditions to reposition themselves in foreign lands. C.K. Wilde will talk about his own trajectory of creating currency collages in relation to the work of fellow artists exploring money as artistic media. He will reflect on the material and semiotic ironies of cutting up money as an act that symbolically disrupts capitalist narratives of power but also commodifies that dissent in the creation of commissioned artwork. Mrinalini Tankha will speak about contemporary Cuban visual, performance and digital artists using multiple currencies in their artwork as important vehicles of, otherwise censored, political and cultural critique, most candidly of Cuba’s controversial dual currency system that has foregrounded the contradictions between Cuba’s commitment to state socialism and its re-insertion into a global capitalist economy.

Presentations will be followed by discussion and Q&A.

Mark Auslander, associate professor of anthropology, Central Washington University (CWU), has done extensive research on contemporary art, race, ritual and performance and the politics of representation in sub-Saharan Africa, the African Diaspora and the United States. He is the author of The Accidental Slaveowner: Revisiting a Myth of Race and Finding an American Family. He is also the director of the CWU Museum of Culture and Environment.

C.K. Wilde is an artist who creates collages out of currencies from all over the world. His work is represented by the Rosamund Felsen Gallery in Los Angeles. C.K. Wilde’s artwork can be found in over 70 collections worldwide, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, MOMA, and the Bibilioteca Alexandrina. He is the founder of Artichoke Yink Press, an imprint for artists books and has also taught collage and book arts at The Pratt Institute and The Cooper Union in New York.

Mrinalini Tankha is a postdoctoral scholar at the Institute for Money Technology and Financial Inclusion. She is an economic anthropologist and has done research on money and multiple currency exchange, informal economies and shifting forms of labor and value in Cuba and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Light refreshment will be served.

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