The “Valor y Cambio” (Value and Change) project grew out of Frances Negrón-Muntaner’s Unpayable Debt working group, surveying spaces historically and contemporarily affected by debt, from her native Puerto Rico, to Detroit, Greece, and more. Negrón-Muntaner is a filmmaker and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia and former Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race.
The interactive installation, which will return to Puerto Rico after its recent stint in New York, allows participants to speak into an ATM that records their perspectives on what they value. It then dispenses an alternative currency, which was accepted at various local partner businesses during its time in New York. The currency (“the pesos of Puerto Rico”) is, in itself, also an art piece, featuring the stories of poets, athletes, doctors, activists, educators, and youth leaders.