Charles Wisseman, Mixed Media Artist


money and power

Next entry in the cubic foot of art project—power and money voltaic pile, or the book as an electrical power-generating directional sequence of elements. Several influences here—the start of presidential campaigning in a time of polarized politics, an article in the Economist on business entrepreneurship for authors in the digital age, a course on the philosophy of good society, a report in the newspaper that subprime mortgages are picking back up. I modelled this book on the first battery invented—Volta’s wet cell galvanic pile (good writeup at Wikipedia), with alternating discs of copper and zinc separated by porous material soaked with salt electrolyte. I made discs from shredded US currency (available at nominal cost from the Treasury Department). Adding salt solution, and maybe a little vitriol, to the money will generate an electrical charge gradient between the metal discs, which are labelled with social and political dichotomies. Money thus generates power. Reminds me of a song I learned at a papermaking conference (to the tune of “Shortnen Bread”) : Rags make paper, paper makes money , money makes banks ,and banks make loans. Money makes banks, banks made loans, loans make beggars, and beggars make rags.(repeat)
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