Writer Ingo Niermann and artist Erik Niedling have recently launched the latest in a long tradition of art projects engaging with the idea of money – the Pyramid Dollar.
The project seeks to monetise participation in their earlier project – The Pyramid – which is projected to create a vast mausoleum carved out of a mountain, 200 metres high and which would become, over time, the world’s largest burial site.
The P$ is linked directly to gold (by weight rather than current value) and share certificates are issued to those buying into the scheme. It’s not entirely clear from the site how one goes about buying into the project, but no doubt that will be explained during the exhibition launching the project. Follow the link aboove for details.
The project picks up on long-standing themes in the complex relationships between art and money and, indeed, between money and society. The P$ is, they claim, evidence that art ‘is better than money’, not least because art as an investment category has (allegedly) proved profitable in recent decades. Whether or not there is an implied critique of such commodification of art remains to be seen, but this strongly echoes the views of Joseph Beuys who for mkuch of the latter part of his career was obsessed by the analogy between art and money. There are other echoes here though. The exchange that the P$ establishes with gold – art replacing gold – develops a theme from Goethe’s Faust where the demon Mephistopheles famously persuades the German Emperor to adopt a paper currency which is ‘as good as gold’ (paralleling Faust’s sale of his soul for a paper contract). The association between death – the pyramidal mausoleum – and money is another well established idea – finding expression in the psychoanalytic writings of both Freud and, particularly, Jung.