Notes Towards a Critique of Money by G. Papadopoulos

By G. Papadopoulos

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The relation to authority is communicated via the representations of political power on coins and bank notes. The analysis of these iconographies provides an opportunity for the reflection on value and on power as it contributes to the construction of an alternative mechanism of social constitution. We can recognize the condensation of value in the markings on notes and coins as well as in the associations of the symbolisms of power that are omnipresent in money. Money is engraved with the most potent and omnipresent symbols of power; the head of the sovereign, the 59 most prominent national symbols and personalities, the geographical area of the state.

Currency can be read like a text and the text constructs the narrative of the fetish. The analysis of the signs – both iconographic and symbolic – that define currency creates the syntactic context where the issues of economic value and collective identity are represented. Each coin or banknote can be broken down to its own visual-textual elements, the analysis of which can be extracted in symbolic and iconographic patterns that are reproduced across time. On the symbolic level, the alphabet, the date, the references, names and titles express linguistically the identity of currency.

E. the organization of objects as a sequence of signifiers, but this time on the subjective level. All commodities and all relations are consumed as signs and as prices, and carry a specific meaning that integrates them in a system of equivalence and differences. The logic of the commodity and the logic of the signified are synthesized and combined together in the structural principle of the sign. The distinctions between production and consumption, base and superstructure, commodity and utility, are mirror images of the bifurcated structure of the sign and the price.

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