Chris Woebken
A New Relationship to Money, 2007

Physical money is disappearing and we are moving towards a cashless society where hard cash only exists to avoid taxes or to buy illegal services and goods. A suitcase of money even had a magic cinematic effect making people do or believe in almost anything. Very human interactions, gestures and rituals got totally lost or neglected through the introduction of e-money. I will miss playfully flipping coins or wishing for luck throwing them in a spring.

In third world countries ATM cash-machines are rarely available and people usually do not have bank-accounts. With mobile phone becoming ubiquitous, they are becoming more and more the wallet, however without any designed experience. Paying with Credit Cards or RFID cards is a very engineered and raw-data driven transaction, the experience and the process of buying a coffee or a car is basically the same.

As an experiment I melted the Oystercard in Acetone and stripped it down to the essence., the bare coil wire with the RFID chip. I realized that the bus-driver does not care if i pay with a card or a wire, the actual transaction is just reduced to this beep - as long as it beeps it is okay. It is possible to ride on the London busses recording the oyster-beep on a recordable greeting-card and play it when you touch-in.

Inspired by those observation I designed devices for different spending behaviors, imagining new parasitical services sitting on top of bank accounts that create feedback mechanisms and a new relationship to our bank-account as an extension of ourselves. I am interested in exploring how even simple designed behaviors embedded in digital transactions can change our behavior, create meaning, new reflexes, rituals or pleasures interacting with e-money.