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A Penny for your Thoughts

Transmedia Storytelling 2019 – 2020

In A Penny for your Thoughts, second-year Camera Arts students collectively explored the concept of value in the age of Big Data, and how it can be represented. The project offers a reflection on the abstract transformation of money into data – and vice versa. Visitors to the exhibition encounter a speculative and self-made monetary system, which can be used to purchase goods and services within the exhibition.

By creating a user profile in the LUUT app they become part of the exhibition themselves and are invited to perform actions in a participative environment – personal data are turned into currency. The audience can access expert information about the design and function of money or engage with a reflection on the process of data value acquisition and who benefits from it.

A critical look at values conveyed by music videos and the media offers a specific point of view on the perception of currencies in popular and media culture. As an intricate mix of self-produced, found, generated or appropriated photos, videos and visualized data, A Penny for your Thoughts is a post-photographic transmedia exploration that merges material and intrinsic images of money and data in an all-encompassing experience rendered in different languages and media formats.



Mobile app

LUUT is an app that allows visitors to actively engage with the exhibition. Visitors create profiles by providing personal data: the more data an individual is willing to give, the more credits they collect. The credits can be used as currency in the exhibition. Hence, the project aims at active audience participation, unveiling the dynamics behind data collection and the value of the digital traces we leave behind. In addition, the app serves as an exhibition guide.

Cyrill Appert, Zoé Clemence, Ayla Feridun-Dziedzic

Money Talks

Web-based video installation

A quest to witness what a pile of money looks like gradually took a different direction following some central questions, which were discussed with various experts: What exactly is money? Why can we practically buy everything with it? And how does this affect our society? The interviews with a banker, a sociologist, a customs officer, a philosopher and an encryption expert were collected in a multi-layered narrative on a website that links the different positions. Users can decide for themselves which path to follow in an investigative-like experience.

Ayla Feridun-Dziedzic, Pawel Streit, Mario Trachsel


What Does Money Sound Like?

Single-channel video, dimensions variable

Money is among the most common themes in music, mirroring its importance and prestige in our society. In songs, the way we deal with money is represented in various and often illusory ways. The project confronts the real and surreal in a mix of news clips and music videos to make the viewer reflect on their own perception of money.

Laura Gauch, Rebecca Jenal, Eveline Schumacher



4 books, soft cover

We are using seemingly ‹free› services provided by the so-called tech giants on a daily basis. In fact, however, these companies make a huge profit with the data that we provide by using their services. Each click, each interaction is captured and stored. This is something we know but tend to forget. In order to make the vast amounts of stored data visible and tangible, students downloaded their personal data, captured by Google, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, and combined and printed these in a number of books – chat records, likes, comments, interest, location logs and much more, raw and unprocessed.

Katherine Thude, Mario Trachsel


The Value of Data

Single Channel Video, Sensor-triggered Camera, dimensions variable

The project aims to present several perspectives on the relationship between money and data. To this end, four experts from a variety of backgrounds reply to the question: when and how do data become valuable? Humans produce an endless array of multifarious data on a daily basis. We habitually forget how valuable certain data can be to others, for instance for profiling visitors or enhancing marketing strategies. Often, these data are collected without permission or by exploiting the grey zones of regulations, and then sold on to third parties. The interactive documentary unveils several useful tips and alternatives, an open invitation to reflect on the way personal data are perceived.

Veronique Dellebeke, Michelle Koch, Philippe Schneider

Literally Visualized

Inkjet-printed photos, 50×70 cm

Everyone talks about money. An abstract measurement of value, money has deeply established itself as a metaphor in our common language. By taking such figures of speech literally, students have counteracted this abstraction, unveiling its absurdity as well as visualizing the cultural connotations connected to money. Stripped of the words themselves, these proverbs and phrases take on a new reality in a photographic critique of language – «look what you’re saying»!

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