One of the most visible ways in which money and finance are changing in many societies is in the move towards cashlessness. This move – along with the emergence of digital finance, and cryptocurrencies – has significant implications for how money and finance are experienced and understood. But questions about the physical object of money, and its place in social and economic relations, have been asked in multiple historical and cultural contexts. Understanding these debates can open up important insights into the changing place of physical money in the twenty-first century. Moreover, the arts have a key role to play in helping reimagine the forms of our relationship with both material and virtual forms of money and finance.
What can material cultures of money, across time and space, tell us about attitudes to finance, and how they interact and change? As many societies enter a new era of cashlessness, what does the absence of the physical object of money reveal about our understanding of finance, our relationship to it, and the social systems it is supposed to represent? How might the arts help us reimagine our engagement with money in an age of digital finance?