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September 2020, French, German, Mandarin
31×31 cm, 12" Vinyl
ISBN 978-3-95679-578-7
Design
xīzhuāng, Berlin
Copublisher
Times Art Center Berlin
Status
Available

The Currency is a vinyl EP whose golden color is reminiscent of a wafer, one of the thin silicon discs used in the production of microchips. The rap song of the same name on the A-side is a collaboration between artists Musquiqui Chihying (Taipei/Berlin) and Gregor Kasper (Berlin) together with rapper Elom 20ce (Lomé, Togo), who positions himself as a griot, a traditional West African storyteller, oral historian, and singer. The lyrics, in French, Mandarin, and German, offer a poetic take on various aspects of contemporary cultures and economies that are often overlooked or go unnoticed: the entanglement of digital payment services in China (WeChat and AliPay) with the everyday lives of their users, whose every movement and action can be monitored by the state and the market; the new currency ECO, which is set to replace the current CFA franc in eight West African countries at the end of 2020, representing a first step toward monetary independence for these nations; the material foundations, such as the working conditions of the industry producing wafers and other electronic hardware, disregarded by the widespread belief in a clean, free, and fair digital cloud.

The B-side contains the sound piece “The Hubs,” a conversation with the architect, anthropologist, and FabLab founder Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou (Lomé/Paris), accompanied by music composed by Elom 20ce. In the WoeLab “open hardware” workshop in Lomé, Agbodjinou introduced an alternative digital barter currency that relies on social activities and local service as a medium of exchange.