A couple of months ago, we introduced 02_ INSTRUCT / DESTRUCT with the song “I Don’t Wanna Be Learned / I Don’t Wanna Be Tamed” by The Ramones. The song expresses, with the eponymous and repeated sentence, a discontent towards education. We found a strong resonance of the lyrics in today’s discussions about schools whether on the content of teaching, the means, the tools or the outcome of education. Therefore, we have invited Giovanni Innella and Tal Drori to install their Moneychanger at OBJECTION on the occasion of the event 02_ INSTRUCT / DESTRUCT.
The project started from an invitation of Domitilla Dardi – curator at MAXXI (Museum of XXIst century Arts, in Rome). She invited Giovanni Innella together with other Italian designers who left Italy to study abroad. In Italy, students leaving the country to study abroad is a discussed topic, while there isn’t much reflection on foreigners coming to Italy to study. In this regard, Innella found in Tal Drori an interlocutor to collaborate on this project. Drori left Israel to go to Italy to study interaction design at the IDII —Interaction Design Institute— in Ivrea. Innella left Italy to study design at the DAE —Design Academy Eindhoven. Those schools have common traits, languages, spirit, and this project tells the story of this typology of education, rather than of a school or a country in particular.
Innella and Drori realized that attending a design school with a strong experimental approach, and populated by international students and teachers, is as if you went in a country of its own. There, you build a similar attitude, use a similar language and share similar experiences. In this non-geographic country, everyone brings his or her capital of expertise and culture, to convert it into a new currency. This is a sort of design currency.
It is in fact difficult to give a value to the currency minted in these schools. Indeed, those who completed their studies there, then make huge efforts to estimate the value of their new capital and to find contexts where they can spend or invest it. Exchanging currency after a long trip is a little bit like gambling, when you return home you always hope to gain something in this trade.
Innella and Drori have designed The Moneychanger: a new currency and – most importantly – a currency exchange counter. A simple inkjet printer can print on Euro banknotes. During the event visitors will be able to enter their banknotes into the Moneychanger and receive them back converted into a new currency. The new banknotes celebrate the value of exploration.
The project talks about worth, about value. Often asked “Was it worth it studying in Eindhoven/Ivrea?” Innella and Drori finally figured that the best answer is: “It was worth the experience.” Therefore they worked on illustrations dealing with experience and used senses as metaphors: smell, balance, sight, hearing, taste and touch. Interacting with the archetypal bridges and doors on Euro banknotes, the illustrations gain an other meaning: sticking your nose in another country’s business, finding balance, listening as learning, looking as observing, having a taste of something new, finding a direction.
The Moneychanger project aims to ask a question: how much is design education worth? Especially in context with a strong conceptual/experimental approach like the above-mentioned schools, where your knowledge is changed into something that is hard to estimate. Is the new currency coming out of the Moneychanger priceless, worthless or equal as before? Where can you use the banknotes you get? Fundamentally, the Moneychanger raises a doubt: how much is the education received worth?
Date of publication: December 2014