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(collaboration with Chris Wille)
acrylic, brass, Burroughs adding machine class 3, custom electronics
Currency is an electronic game and custom game console constructed from an obsolete Burroughs adding machine and microcontroller. The console monitors the exchange rate of bitcoins to US dollars and uses this data to generate a game level that prints out on a roll of receipt paper. Using the adding machine’s grid of numeric buttons, players attempt to pull two columns of ASCII symbols together while being either aided or impeded by the current Bitcoin value.
Currency plays with the idea of uncertainty, in both our actions and the systems we function within. Players aren’t immediately aware of the effects of their actions. It is often not perfectly clear if they have successfully drawn the columns together or have allowed the game to push the columns further apart. Much like the real-time Bitcoin financial data that is driving the game, it is only after looking at the effects of a series of actions does a positive or negative trend become apparent.
The adding machine, with its intricate mechanisms, gives the player a tactile portal into the complex systems that control the movement of bitcoins around the web and across the globe. Similarly, as consumers our understanding of and relationship with currency slips between physical pieces of metal that we can hold and virtual numbers on a screen that exist only in the binary ones and zeros of a computer.
At the conclusion of the game, the roll of paper is torn away and taken by the players, providing a record of their experience and a receipt for their interaction with the game system.
currency bitcoin logo 2
currency gameplay
currency front
currency right
currency rear
currency receipts

Illinois State University, 5620 School of Art, 214A Center for the Visual Arts, Normal, IL 61761