The Brooklyn-based collective MSCHF will unveil a functioning ATM (cashpoint) at Art Basel in Miami Beach with Perrotin Gallery, which publicly displays the amount of money in each user’s bank account.
When fair visitors request a balance, the machine records that number; a leaderboard above the ATM then shows how much money is in the account linked to the card, say MSCHF members Kevin Wiesner and Lukas Bentel. Titled ATM Leaderboard (2022), its design mimics arcade games that display participants’ high scores; the person with the “highest wealth” ranking becomes the winner, with a variety of animations accompanying each withdrawal.
“It is important to show this work in Miami where it makes sense culturally,” says the gallerist Emmanuel Perrotin. MSCHF is known for developing elaborate interventions that expose and leverage the absurdity of cultural, political and monetary systems, according to a description on the Perrotin website. “We are currently showing works by MSCHF at our New York gallery (until 23 December), which contextualises their approach. This ATM piece has the potential to cross over to bigger audiences in Miami.”
The machine will be sold as a single object (priced around $80,000). “You own the ATM, you set it up, restocking it with cash and enforcing fees,” say Wiesner and Bentel. “The game-ification of finance—the idea that money and wealth are fundamentally governed by manipulation, not any underlying truth—is the story of the past 18 months."
They add: “The wealth issue is not even specific to the art world per se; having a name at the top of the leaderboard is just like buying a Rolex. When we were first thinking about this piece, we identified an art fair like Art Basel Miami Beach as the perfect place to help people indulge that impulse.” Crucially a gallery statement adds: "ATM Leaderboard is fully functional in the financial network; all balance checks and withdrawals are real."