Post-colonial copper pattern pressed on copper cent. 200 cents were smashed to mark the two-year anniversary of New Capital, a Chicago art space.
An elongated penny token is a coin that has been smashed & embossed with a new design for the purpose of making a souvenir. In this case, the "new" design has been lifted from the back of a post-colonial US coin, a fledgling attempt at a national monetary system. It's a sentimental penny, commemorating its own past.
The token features an open eye surrounded by pointed rays & starsan all-seeing, provident eye. This symbol of protective observation has been with us for 3 centuries now, and began showing up on US coins in 1776. An observer unfamiliar with the history of this specific ocular metaphor will be left looking at an eye, a rich symbol in itself. I love the indeterminacy of the eye as a symbol, loaded with contradictory readings: provident eye, evil eye, third eye, surveillance, etc.
Its a piece about memory & the persistence of old cultural forms. Its also a keepsake for New Capitals last show, a wink at the gallerys name. 200 smashed pennies will be available as take-home tokens, free for all visitors.