Money as a Medium of the Imagination: Art and the Currencies of Cooperation


Haiven, Max. 2015. “Money as a Medium of the Imagination: Art and the Currencies of Cooperation.” In Moneylab Reader: An Intervention in Digital Economy, edited by Geert Lovink, Nathaniel Tkacz, and Patricia De Vries, 173–88. Amsterdam: Institute for Network Cultures.


Economic philosophers and historians generally agree that there are three (some- times four) main qualities of modern money, qualities that we usually take for granted: it must be universally and consistently accepted in a given geographic or economic area, like a nation; it must serve as a unit of account; and it needs to work as a store of value. But it is important to consider another quality of money that often goes unremarked: Money is also a medium of the imagination. I will argue that today a great volume of contemporary artistic production addresses precisely the contradictions and political-economic riddles of money by mobilizing money (bills, coins, credit cards, etc.) as a medium of creative expression, often in profound and potentially transformative ways.