2019 / Multimedia, mixed media
Legend has it that a mysterious coin from Congo is hidden in the depth of the virtual world, so valuable that people are willing to pay a great deal of money, time and even their life for this coin.
Since its invention a long time ago, currency has functioned as an agent that enabled the exchange of a diverse range of things, including merchandise, service, art, bond, etc. In recent years, the now matured technologies of credit card, electronic payment system and blockchain system have allowed the issuance of local and community currencies; furthermore, people have also grown accustomed to virtual transactions. “Currency” implies is the “value” recognized by the public. What if a disease currency is invented in the art scene, how would people use it? Would this invention subvert the value narrative of diseases?
The stigma against people who are HIV+ has yet been lifted. People living with HIV are afraid of the exposure of their identity due to the public’s unknown fear of the disease; and the stigma has also caused the suppression of women, the LGBTQ community and sexual workers, consequently leading to the lack of information about the disease and its concealment.
This project makes use of blockchain technology to issue the “HIV+ Currency.” The rules of using the currency are stated below:
- The currency can only be issued by someone who has already possessed the currency. Those who receive the currency are entitled for its re-issuance.
- After receiving the HIV+ Currency, audiences can freely choose their identity, such as woman, gay man, drug user, etc. Resource exchanged from using the currency might vary due to the adherent cultures of each identity.
- Media stigmatization or invention of new treatments or drugs might cause inflation or deflation of the HIV+ Currency.
- Items exchangeable with the currency might be adjusted based on audiences’ religious beliefs and social atmosphere.
This project employs art, currency circulation and virtual interface design to explore how audiences empathize with HIV-infected people, subvert the disease narrative and eventually learn to use currency.
About the artist
LEE Tzu-Tung is a conceptual artist. She experiments how art as a method can test and decolonize the contemporary form of art, technology, and authorities. Her artworks surf with performances, web-art, installations, fictional and experimental films, and was awarded the Experimental Film funds from the National Cultural Art Foundation in Taiwan and New Artist Society Scholarship. She is also the leader and visual designer for a 200-people rally Anti Box Education, the 40-cities wide rally Equality of Same-Sex Marriage in Taiwan, and the organizer of indigenous protest Passage of Time in 2016. Furthermore, she is part of a panel committee for art and indigenous issues in North American Taiwan Study Association and served in 2017 on the Jury Committee Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival (TIEFF).