I somewhat randomly found myself reading back through the irregularly updated blog of the British Museum earlier today when I learned about a project by Bristol-based artist Heidi Hinder called Financial Growth.
Financial Growth, Hinder explains in her guest post for the blog, is a still-ongoing “series of petri dish experiments.” It “reveals the bacteria present on coins and suggests that each time we make a cash transaction, we are exchanging more than just the monetary value and some tangible tokens. Hard currency could become a point of contagion.”
While Hinder develops this train of thought into a lengthy and provocative look at other means by which human beings could exchange microbes and bacteria for the purposes of financial interaction, I was actually unable to go much beyond than sheer awe at the basic premise of the project.
By culturing individual coins, Hinder has revealed a vibrant ecosystem of microscopic lifeforms thriving, garden-like, on every monetary token in our pockets; these are landscapes-in-waiting that we carry around with us every day.
I was reminded of the famous shot of “the bacteria that grew when an 8-year-old boy who had been playing outside pressed his hand onto a large Petri dish,” posted to Microbe World last autumn.