Munten en kunstenaars
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De kunstenaar, muzikant, schrijver en producent Drummond is één van meest enigmatische en invloedrijke figuren van de Britse cultuur. Als manager van cult-bands als The Teardrop Explodes en Echo and the Bunnymen onderzocht hij al in de jaren tachtig de grenzen van de popcultuur. Hij was mede-oprichter van de avant-garde groep The KLF waarmee het maken van nummer één hits als kunstproject werd uitgevoerd. Internationale bekendheid kreeg hij met het verbranden van 1 miljoen pond door de K-foundation.
Na deze periode waarin hij als mediakunstenaar zelf een cultfiguur dreigde te worden, heeft Drummond nadrukkelijk afstand genomen van de kunst- en mediawereld. Zijn meer recente werk voert hij uit onder de naam Penkiln Burn en omvat intieme performances rond alledaagse activiteiten als cake bakken, bedden maken, soep uitdelen, schoenen poetsen, etc.
Vanwege zijn persoonlijke ervaring met de relatieve waarde van geld, is Drummond de uitgelezen persoon om de allereerste serie reservemunten te ontwerpen. Hij houdt zich normaal ver van publieke optredens, maar vindt dit project zo bijzonder dat hij naar Amsterdam zal komen om persoonlijk de eerste munt te slaan.
Munten ontworpen door Bill Drummond
Over de ontwerpen
A few words about the coins.
For me it is important that one would only actually see the full sentence if you had all four of the coins infront of you. For me the power of the statement comes in a big way that you probably do not see all four of the coins. That you may just have a coin that has 'IS' on it and you are left wondering what that is about, in the same way as none of us ever have the full understanding of anything, we only ever get a part of the whole. But undoubtedly any one with one of the coins will hear what is written on the other coins, or they may hear it wrong, which also adds to the power.
This may or may not be relevant but in my mid teens I collected British coins, this was before the UK went decimal. It meant that I could collect coins that had been minted from anytime between the mid nineteenth century up until 1970. All of these coins were to be found in circulation. At that time here were six different values of coins in common circulation. As well as there being all the years to collect, there were numerous anomalies. For some reason, some years were a lot rarer than others. In 1902 some of the pennies had the sea level behind Britannia lower - we would call these lowtiders. Then through the years of the First World War no coins were being minted. Then in 1918, you could get pennies where there was an H at the side of the date - we never learnt why. A few 1918 ones even had a mysterious KN at the side of the date.
As you may know, my father was a minister in the Church. Each Sunday I would go meticulously through the church collection searching out any of these strange coins or looking for other as yet unidentified anomalies. If I found one, or just a year I had not already got, I would swap the coin in the collection with one from my pocket money. Between the ages of 13 and 17 I spent hundreds if not thousands of hours studying British coins in this way. No wonder I did not do well at school. And no wonder I have no interest in collecting things now.
Back then none of these coins that I was collecting had any value other than their face value. Sadly when I turned 18 and was old enough to go drinking in pubs I went and spent the vast majority of these coins on pints of brown & mild - coins that I had spent years lovingly collecting squandered in a few teenage drunken nights. A few months after I turned 18 the UK went decimal and all of these coins were withdrawn from circulation and replaced with what we are using now and I never got the chance to re-collect the old ones.
And now with the magic of Google I can instantly see examples of these coins that I have not touched or looked at for over 40 years.
The 1902 Low Tide and the 1918 H & KN mystery revealed:
I like coins to contain unanswered mysteries or at least anomalies. Back then their was no Google or any other fountain of knowledge that I could go to to have the question of the low or high tide behind Britannia on a 1902 penny, answered.