Toward a Genealogy of Certification
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How to Cite

Hurle, A. (2024). Toward a Genealogy of Certification. IMPACT Printmaking Journal, 3, 10.


For about 25 years now, I’ve been researching the shape, style and function of graphic signs connected with the production and reproduction of printed money. The research grew out of my visual arts practice and despite being consolidated as a university doctorate, it has mostly been pursued outside or across established academic disciplines, never having found easy accommodation in any one of them. Among other things this has resulted in a hybrid terminology defining its aims and scope. What began as an etymology of monetary signification (an early attempt to tie it to the field of linguistics and semiotics) now seems better expressed as a genealogy of certification, which represents a much broader field of investigation and reduces the risk of it being seen as a strictly numismatic study. The following paper summarises this genealogy and describes how monetary designs are adapted for different purposes and contexts, while showing some examples of their foundation in experimental and creative invention. I should firstly mention that the designs themselves communicate all kinds of meanings beyond the monetary: not just claims of authority and authenticity usually associated with banknotes, but also declarations of contractual certainty, social obligation, affection, prestige, satire, accreditation and so on. Even so, printed money remains at the heart of this research as an exemplary graphic statement articulated from within the nexus of mechanisation, global economics and modernist abstraction.
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Copyright (c) 2024 Andrew Hurle


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