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Michael Stevenson

‘The fountain of prosperity’ (2007) by Michael Stevenson

The Fountain of Prosperity (2007) is a reconstruction of the ‘Moniac’, a machine designed in the late 1940s by New Zealand economist Bill Phillips to illustrate the concept of monetary flow in national economies. A fixed volume of red-dyed water, representing money, is pumped through a system of transparent tubes and sluices into clear chambers representing factors such as ‘surplus balances’ and ‘International Monetary Funds’. Regarded as an extremely developed tool for analysing economic functions, 15 of these devices were built and shipped around the world. Stevenson discovered that one of the machines was acquired by the Central Bank of Guatemala in 1952, and has imagined what it might look like today. His replica is corroding and leaking, and the chamber marked ‘held balances’ is empty, suggesting that the economic model it represents is on the verge of collapse.

Read more about the project here.