Aesthetic Currency

A Rhode Island artist creates an artful new exchange

| September 22, 2003

Rhode Island artist Obadiah Eelcut has designed and printed a hand-made currency that can be exchanged worldwide for art, back rubs, music, and just about anything else. Obadiah Eelcut's 'Noney' has a denomination of zero to represent a relative value, and includes the inscription: 'The bearer is entitled to receive this note's aesthetic value.' In other words, the currency's value is entirely negotiable. On the Noney web site, one storyteller says he uses the currency for moments of 'synchronicity,' while another claims to have better luck in Italy passing along his Noney than exchanging traveler's checks. Another brought the currency into the bedroom and now 'won't put out unless there is Noney involved.' Most Noney-users seem to be drawn toward the beautiful artwork and the satisfaction of using something other than American greenbacks in their daily transactions. As one person noted about a recent exchange, 'If I could make the smile on her face, when she saw the Noney, into my own personal currency then I would be a rich man. All I can do for now is to take that magic moment to the bank.'
-- Joel Stonington

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