The coin "0 rubles" is made at the Mint for the first time in the history. It is silver coin four centimeters in diameter, which simulates the aesthetics of metal money.
The inscription “0 ruble” on the tail.
The symbol of the joining of oppositions, the number “0” and sign of infinity, is pictured at the head. There is also Latin inscription “Coincidentia Oppositorum”, joining of oppositions (coin-cidentia). Mathematical philosophical meaning of “zero-infinity” expresses by the coin for the first time.
Conjugation of zero and infinity is similar to obverse and reverse of coins that cannot be seen together. However, the pictorial symbolics of the coin does not play a major role. Its main value is symbolic. “0 ruble” is the – reference point of whole Russian economy. It is zero on the financial coordinates.
In this case, the materialization of Zero rubles is confirmed by the history of money circulation in the Rus and by the etymology of the word "ruble". One ruble is one piece, sawed from the whole silver grzywna(One grzywna was sawed to 10 rubles), from the original holistic, unmanifested monetary unity. In Rus the count of rubles and hryvnia is conducted from the matrix-zero. A piece of extracted silver can be divided mechanically into rubles. However, nothing can be divided into infinitely extracted silver, silver here is zero=infinity.
Coin “Zero rubles” symbolises “the original ruble”, it’s like the queen bee of the Russian economy’s beehive. This coin exists initially: the account is maintained of it by the government, banks, and every man recounting his money. That’s why Zero ruble prevails virtually in every purse. It is the beginning and the end of capital. Money in purse is always both quantitatively and qualitatively: they are always certain number, and may be expressed in a particular amount. No-money, “zero” of money is absolute.
Money, and especially coins, in its existence passes several stages as elements of the economic machinery. Born as strict financial equivalent and the measure of material value, the coin became more and more symbolic up to the currency reform, which deprives its direct material and gives it symbolic value (memory about the era, historical or personal value), which often turns back to material among coin collectors. As symbolic value coin continues to be a part of an economic exchange, and then its value grows in line with its antiquity.
It is imperative to note that the work of art is going through very similar collisions in its history. At the moment of creation its cost is often proportionate to the cost of materials, from which it was created. Subsequently, it is starting to gain a symbolic value, history and causes material demand on a completely different level.
“Zero rubles” in the economy is equivalent to zero-object in art. It does not exist, but everything indicates that it is, and as a result it begins to be. We are witnessing the birth of material out of symbolic. Zero-object begins to cost real money. And, money turns into an economic zero-object. Thus, the coin “Zero rubles” is the first "monetization" of symbolic capital in history. At the same time zero exists in the sphere of absolute. It can’t be divided. Multiplication by zero equals zero. Zero doesn’t affect neither subtraction nor addition.
Kirill Shamanov, artist, author of the project.
"Contemporary art in traditional meseum" festival, Peter and Paul Fortress, supported by PRO ARTE Institute and Ford Foundation