Most people understand that a speculative bubble occurs when prices inflate beyond their fundamental value, but not all people appreciate that this bubble metaphor is a word with something magical added to it. It is like a coin that has a magical value imbued upon it. The extramundane quality that is added to the word bubble has become default in our everyday just like those flat balls of metal that are always understood as being much more than just flat balls of metal.

Some of the earliest coins struck by humans were often minted in such a way that left them concave. Like little spoons without handles it allowed two coins to spoon one another and thereby dismiss their solitude. More ancient coins were often less flat and more like spherical blobs. These early specimens were wholesome round coins with no need for companionship. That was before money had become magic and before bubbles were used as metaphors.

If we take a metaphor literally, or remind ourselves that money is just flat metal, we revert back to the commonplace. The root of economics is the “art of managing a household.” It was in that mundane household kitchen that I first noticed the evolution between the coin and the bubble.

Lonely Without a Company is a part of the exhibition ‘Telepathy or Esperanto?’ until may 10, at FUTURA Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague.

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