The Art Project

There are places we go to stand, naked and vulnerable, before a higher power. Like the ATM.

We make our little daily pilgrimage to the bank machine, to leave something but more often to take something. We say a little prayer for solvency. And then slide our card into the slot, and out of the machine comes a few bills into our waiting hand, like a wafer on the tongue.

ATMs are constant reminders that capital is the dominant religion of our time. They are modern shrines.

So let’s treat them that way.

Let’s drape ATMs with garlands, decorate them with flowers, crucifixes, votive candles, incense burners, little statues of the Virgin of Guadaloupe.

Let’s surround them with mementos of all that we sacrifice in the struggle for economic survival: our time, our families, our freedom, our joy.

Let’s place at ATMs the photos of friends and loved ones who committed suicide to create one less mouth to feed, or whose spirits have been brought low by unemployment, homelessness, hopelessness. Let’s decorate them with little postcards of Jesus throwing the money lenders out of the temple, or with visions of a better and fairer world. Let’s turn them into symbols of the fight for a new kind of meaning.

And on Sundays and Maydays and paydays let ’s gather around ATMs and dance and perform exorcisms and voodoo rituals.

What happens then after awhile is that the ATM no longer belongs to the bank. It belongs to us. We the people. The children of a dark future and the next-generation architects of salvation.

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