SWAMP (Studies of Work Atmosphere and Mass Production) focuses on critical themes addressing the effects of global corporate operations, mass media and communication, military- industrial complexes, and general meditations on the liminal area between life and artificial life. SWAMP has been making work in this vein since 1999 using a wide range of media, including custom software, electronics, mechanical devices, and often times working with living organisms. Matt Kenyon is a new media sculptor who lives and works in Providence Rhode Island, where he is also an Associate Professor in the Digital + Media Program at the Rhode Island School of Design where he runs the Interventions in Capitalism research group (with Edek Sher). From 1999-2012, SWAMP operated as a collaborative between Kenyon and Douglas Easterly. Kenyon now runs SWAMP solo. Kenyon has participated in numerous collaborations with artists, architects, and technologists, including McLain Clutter, Adam Fure, Tiago Rorke and Wafaa Bilal. Kenyon’s work has been exhibited internationally and collected by institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It has received a number of awards including the distinguished FILE Prix Lux Art prize. Reproductions of SWAMP’s work have been featured in mainstream publications such as Wired and Gizmodo, and also appear in edited volumes such as A Touch of Code (Gestalten Press) and Adversarial Design (MIT Press).
Giant Pool Of Money
The Giant Pool of Money series examines the thoughts and beliefs that led to the global financial crisis in 2008 and the profound loss of faith in markets that followed.
The centerpiece of the series is a 15-foot-tall pyramid of champagne glasses, connected to a change machine that breaks dollar bills into “quarters.” The coins were actually replicas minted out of the element gallium, a metal that melts just above room temperature. Transported by a network of conveyor belts to the top of the pyramid and deposited into the uppermost champagne glass, the coins melt and cascade down the pyramid over time. It’s equal parts literal trickle-down theory and Terminator 2’s liquid metal monster.
Viewers feed paper money into the machine themselves in order to confront how events in their own lives relate to the mind-bogglingly complex, media-constructed image of our economy. What seems like solid, familiar, everyday currency melts before our eyes, threatening to collapse the entire, fragile system — a visual rendering of our loss of faith in our globally interconnected economy.