THE BANK OF THE SUN: The proposal of Mel Chin

THE BANK OF THE SUN: The proposal of Mel Chin

by Abu Lido

A new economy with new energy sources, the use of creating technology and a never-depreciable currency that help us all to fight the climate change: this is the proposal of the American Artist Mel Chin with his “Potential Project”.

The “Potential Project” is a complex performance realized in the Algerian desert in collaboration with the Sahrawi people. Through the use of a mobile power station functioning with solar energy and a machine connected to it, products are manufactured with the use of sand while, simultaneously, the Sahrawi people design and print their own currency called “Sollars”.  Sun and sand which are always available in the desert together with innovative technology allow the manufacturing economy to function with its own currency linked to the sun which provides light, therefore, unlimited energy.

The Sun will never cause the Sollars to depreciate, hence the Sollar becomes the prototype of the real money: a perfect measure unit that will never change its characteristics as it does not depend on tangible assets or limited resources. It will never devaluate or depreciate.
The pictures on the Sollar bills were made by people from different generations: the 5- and 10-Sollar notes by children aged five and 10, the 20-Sollar note by young adults and the 100-Sollar notes by old people. The 50-Sollar note was made in two different versions, one by male adults, the other by women.

Sunlight allows the machines that operate with solar energy to produce goods, and its unlimited and perennial availability enables to create a monetary system not based on money from the banking system. A carbon- free economy. Another one, that differs from the fossil economy.

“Money’s store of value”. Money as container of values is a complex mix of expectations, laws, habits and violence. In the economies based on currency and the use of fossil fuels, banks produce physically only three percent of all generated currency (banknotes) the remaining ninety-seven percent are bank deposits : the money that we use (and to which we attribute the value) isn’t currency , it’s a simple number-label-that the bank makes us see.

The Bank of the Sun is the only institution which can create indefinite value and even with the limitation that all its branches open only during the day with sunlight, it places the account holders safe from storms.

With “The Potential Project” Mel Chin runs a real economy, and we can fight the climate change only with a real economy to which we all will be forced, and not only the people from Sahrawi.


A video of Markus A. R. Kayser‘s Solar Sinter project in action, from 2011

Photo credits:
Cape farewell foundation

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