Shane Ward
A possible encounter: You would say it is more like teeth than bone as your tongue rings your inside bottom row, but your metal fillings distract you from deciding. The amalgam in your third molar, you remember, is a composite of periodic coinage metals. Jefferson and Lincoln embrace your back grinder; immortal liberty fights decay.

I am investigating material histories; an attempt to pick out meaning lodged therein. It’s an ordering, if also disordering, of complex value systems the necessities of which are mere contingencies, accidents, vicissitudes, at heart extrinsic, and constitutionally unstable. The terms of value denominating privilege, wealth, exploitation, and emancipation run deep. These are matters of taste and a condition of power, the sleights and slights of an invisible hand.

At the core, political agendas heat and cool as utilitarian objects are converted from their finished states into raw material. Sixty-three Miller High Life cans (bearing the campaign slogan, “Give a Veteran a Piece of the High Life”), two baseball bats, a handful of pennies, and an aluminum crutch are melted and mixed into an industrial ingot. The ingot is then stamped with its composition and is later cast back into objects.

I am preparing for an American romance. I am trying to talk about war. We are disaffected by preciousness, yet it’s preciousness (as an aesthetic category?) that holds fast. We grasp; we clutch.

How do you know if it’s counterfeit? Put it in your mouth. Bite it. The nickel in your filling bears Thomas Jefferson’s inverted profile. This is the bubblegum treasury. You chew. You pop. You burst.