Monday, 4 April 2016

OUGD505 - Brief 01 - Concept Generation

There is an infamous quote from the Bible, which is more often than not misquoted, about money. It is as follows: 1 Timothy 6:10 "For the love of money, is the root of all evil!" The new international version goes: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs" It has been translated in America as: "For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

This line from the Bible intrigues me a lot, because it has so much depth and relevance to so many global issues in today's society. Money is often blamed for a range of horrific actions taken by humans, it drives war, destruction, inequality and greed. It drives people crazy, creating unhealthy obsessions and relationships. It is highly desirable, it's objectivity, obsessed about and is the ultimate temptation for some people. It could be argued that an obsession, infatuation or 'love' for money is the underlying cause of all 'evil'. It's down to an individual how they define love and evil, but in the context of this brief, I am going to run with these basic themes to create my currency.
On the flip side of this, it could be argued that cash is old fashioned. In the future, cash may well become redundant as technologies such as internet banking and Bitcoins become more advanced and dominant in our consumer society. Therefore, I could design a completely fantastical, make believe banknote for a fictional currency for this brief. This may produce some very interesting results.  
My first point of call will be to look at various depictions of hell, notably those of Dante and William Blake. These figures examined the theme of evil and hell in two very different ways and there is a host of visual inspiration/stimuli surrounding them both. 

I am going to design my banknote around the theme of evil and hell, but in a subtle way. I don't want to design a currency that would only work in hell, that would be silly, but I do want to create a fictional currency that would work in a fantasy, abstract world. The currency would serve anyone trapped in an unfortunate afterlife, such as the Christian representation of hell. To me, the themes of evil are universal, therefore, my currency would need to be universal, transcending borders and preconceived ideas about 'an afterlife'. My designs will also serve to make a statement about money in general, and how it has the potential to fuel all kinds of evil acts within society.

 The brief does ask me a very poignant question straight away; In an age of Apple Pay, Bitcoin, contactless, Paypal and other options for the transferring of funds, is there a future for "real" money? My instant answer to this would be yes, because banknotes are iconic. They represent nations and everything that they stand for and are cultural items in their own right. Some are so beautifully designed that they can also be viewed as works of art in their own right. I think there is definitely a future for 'real' money, especially in nations across the world that don't have as much access as we do to new technologies which allow us to pay without using cash. Banknotes are definitely still relevant, because I think human beings still value tactile, physical object especially in a world dominated by cyber space and technology. Arguably, paying by card or contactless or via the Internet is much more efficient and effortless, it does make things a lot easier especially when paying internationally. But cash is easier to keep track of because it is physical.  The future is looking brighter for mobile payments, but that doesn’t mean banknotes are nearing extinction. Far from it: As of October 1 there was $1.29 trillion worth of currency in circulation. It was just one year ago that the Federal Reserve began circulating the newly designed $100 bill, and on average banknotes acrossstay alive for 15 years.

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