All Empires come to an End

Lena Wunderlich (jewelry artist) & Francesca Ronai (artist/writer)

The first coins - metals measured out in specific weights - allowed us to move from a system of commerce based upon individual trust to a state-sanctioned currency that enabled trade amongst strangers. Historically, coins reveal ever-present human fallacies: power struggles and our penchant for personal aggrandisement. Minted by Kings who claimed divine rights over land and people, these currencies brought about systems of class and hierarchy that we have reenacted for so long, we barely think to question them.

The first coins - metals measured out in specific weights - allowed us to move from a system of commerce based upon individual trust to a state-sanctioned currency that enabled trade amongst strangers. Historically, coins reveal ever-present human fallacies: power struggles and our penchant for personal aggrandisement. Minted by Kings who claimed divine rights over land and people, these currencies brought about systems of class and hierarchy that we have reenacted for so long, we barely think to question them. Today fiat currency replaces the gold standard and blind faith in our global economy is all that upholds it. As this destructive Oil Age comes to a close, our belief is faltering. Dreams of endless capital have manifested as mountains of plastic left behind. The utopian notion emerges that perhaps we could create a new commodity currency based on this non-degradable resource. One that allows people to trade in waste: a slow clean-up process that at its most ideal could redistribute wealth.

The collection presented in All Empires Come To An End are artifacts from this experiment. They do not reveal whether the currency was successful, it is a mystery we can only solve by trying. Old coins remind us that all empires are fragile, they fall and rise again. We return to divinity, to find filth deities, fertile black earth and rituals of sweeping as a symbol of healing and rebirth. The inscriptions are fragmented, questioning within whether we were able to remain idealistic or whether ego, greed and elitism prevailed?