2006-08-14

Kittenomics 101

Memo to:

Canada Council for the Arts
350 Albert Street,
P.O. Box 1047,
Ottawa, Ontario
K1P 5V8

Re: Grant Application


Please accept the following application for consideration of funding for the ongoing operating costs for the art installation proposal explained below.

Background

The consequences of globalization have long been understood by academics, experts in development, and even politicians who care to familiarize themselves with the topic. But while the anti-globalization movement has made some headway, it has largely been ignored by the masses, as we continue to shop at Walmart, destroy the rainforest at a rate of one and one half acres every second, and displace indigenous family farmers from lands held for successive generations.

Yet, when you talk to individuals about such issues, they actually care. Sadly, in this era of instant gratification, attention-deficit disorder, and real-time connectivity to global events via the internet, it is becoming evident that individuals are distracted and can no longer make the connection with changes in social institutions and policies with one’s own sense of ethics and social justice.

Simply put, we are just too distracted with other things. As a case in point, using Google trends, one can see how popular the search term “kittens” compares with the term “globalization”.

The anti-globalization movement needs to connect peoples’ innate interest and empathy for kittens with issues related to globablization.

Making the Connection: Kittenomics 101

A major issue of concern with the anti-globalization movement is in the domain of free flowing capital. Currency trading has become an end in itself and now subjugates people from all corners of the world to the whims of distant money speculators in high office towers in New York, London, and Zurich. Peasants harvesting coffee in Guatemala may or may not make ends meet because of the day’s currency events. Sadly, the masses do not connect to the hardships of the peasant farmer, yet everyday we see foreign exchange rate numbers scrolling across our television screens, internet feeds, and currency exchange kiosks in major tourist sites.



The kittenomics installation is designed as a portable, self-run, kinetic art piece that can be used to demonstrate the connectivity between currency fluctuations and its consequences, with the purpose of appealing to the widest audience.

The installation is quite simple and is illustrated below.

The core to the installation is a wifi-enabled laptop computer that is both connected to an internet foreign exchange portal and a piston controller driven from the exchange rate telemetry. The piston forms the floor of a cylindrical unit containing a kitten and is calibrated as an analog indicator of exchange rate by markings on the side of the tube. From this example you can see that I have established a floor point of around 90 cents (being an example of the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar in U.S. currency). As the real-time exchange rate telemetry is captured, the piston will correspondingly rise or fall.


This particular installation is designed to establish the mass-connectivity between high domestic currency rates and the impacts it has on the export market. A high value in the Canadian dollar causes hardship to workers in our export industries, much like the potential hardship the kitten may encounter as the dollar strengthens.

Funding

The funding request is quite modest and many of the parts can be purchased second hand. Much of the ongoing cost will be in replacing kittens and for cleaning supplies, depending on how often there is a run on the dollar.


Thank you for your consideration,

The Chair

6 comments:

the independent "evil reptilian kitten eater" observer said...

Brilliant! If you strike out with the feds, the Ontario Arts Council may just have some money for you.

coyote said...

Kitties! Chair, as a connoisseur of tasty furlines in myriad forms and circumstances, I stand here in complete and total awe of your genius! This really is art.

I'm not at all clear on the intricacies of global currency fluctuations (I'm a very non-monetary, barter-economy and five-claw-discount kinda coyote...), but Kitten Krepes! Who'd'a thunk it!

And assuming that one arts council or another understands the sheer, breathtakingly fundworthy avant garde-ness of this concept, do we get to wear tinfoil party hats at your impending vernissage?

4th Dwarf said...

I'm looking forward to the live feed in the sidebar.

Meanwhile, I'm tickled by this news:
Mon Aug 14, 10:20 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three quarters of Americans can correctly identify two of Snow White's seven dwarfs while only a quarter can name two Supreme Court Justices, according to a poll on pop culture released on Monday. [Source]

coyote said...

Yeah, but since when is a Supreme Court Justice considered part of pop culture? In a society geared toward instant coverage of Paris Hilton gettin' bitten by her kinkajou, but very little analogous coverage of SCJs gettin' funky with their pets, is it any wonder?

But come to it, Short Guy, you'd look good with a kinkajou on your arm, next date... that mouldy ol' parrot is so five minutes ago...

4th Dwarf said...

Speaking of friends of ours being in the news...

Was this fellow any relation of yours, Coyote?

coyote said...

Huh. That is one ugly-lookin' mutant-dog-thingy, Short Guy. The sad result of yet another local legend seduced by the inexplicable tire-biting madness? No acquaintance of mine, but hey: doesn't Stephen King live around those parts somewhere?