Thursday, 12 June 2014

In The Window # 1 'Walden-note Money' by Austin Houldsworth

'Walden- note Money' by Austin Houldsworth
Thursday 12th June - Thursday 26th June, 2014

In The Window#1 is the first of a series of newly commission work for the 2014-2015 'In The Window' exhibition programme at AirSpace Gallery.

The AirSpace Gallery Window reaches a large daily audience and our market research has discovered that our Window exhibition program is very positively received. The In The Window programme offers artists at all stages of their careers a chance to test ambitious new work in an established gallery setting.

Commissioned artist Austin Houldworth's ‘Walden Note-money’ presents a prototype payment machine from an alternative monetary system. A monetary system designed within the cultural context of B.F. Skinners’ Walden Two. The project imagines a payment system that challenges the established monetary function of ‘a store of value.’ Creating a new method of exchange that encourages people to actively destroy their money during a transaction. The process positively reinforces this behaviour through the creation of music, produced from the burning money within the transaction machine. During every transaction the seller is obliged to aid the buyer in the destruction of their money equal to the cost of the service or object he/she is purchasing. Through the destruction of money, musical notes are created which are linked to the coins denomination. For example a C is 1 Walden-note, a D is 2, an E is 3 and so on; these notes have two main functions. Firstly the pleasant sounds created help to positively reinforce this behaviour and secondly the burning money communicates the economic state of the society to the 'managers and planners'.

Walden-note Money is part of a 3 year research project, which focuses on the development of a new design methodology called counter-fictional design. It explores the artists current research focus of imagining and developing alternative monetary systems. The project is designed to challenge the classic economic functions of money and present alternatives.
The rationale for the work to be exhibited in this particular space, is to be seen by a wider audience; to be viewed by passers by who might not otherwise attend a private view or gallery opening, but might be interested in thinking about money in a different way. As ultimately money is a social technology, which should operate for the people who use it and not for a select few who manipulate it.

Austin is currently undertaking a PhD at the Royal College of Art. His work uses a design approach - without the market driven agenda most design practices focus upon. He employes design outside the context of the market place means the motivations of profit and money become a secondary concern - shifting the main focus towards social and cultural issues. The work he produces often incorporates a speculative element, with which the projects are intended to both critique the present state of affairs, but also suggest a practical and engaging alternative to the current status quo.
Austin has exhibited throughout the UK, London and France.

For more information and to see more works, visit Austin's website at

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