Created by Stuart Anderson and Justseeds member Shaun Slifer, the Fauna penny press is an interactive kinetic sculpture that creates an experience designed to catalyze thought about the role of humans in the natural world. Fauna uses the human desire to identify with wild animals to present questions about how extinction alters our concept of nature, how adaptation drives our ecological future, and how an animal’s symbolic and cultural value can determine its survival.
Participants use the machine to create double-sided pennies featuring embossed images selected from eighteen original illustrations (most by Justseeds members) of North American wild animals. These durable images present critically endangered and extinct species on the face of the coin, and display the tracks of animals that have successfully adapted to the built human urban environment on the back.
While the elongated penny originated in the 1890s, the practice of carrying coins as markers of identity, duty, or debt can be traced for thousands of years. The coins produced by Fauna give their bearers an opportunity to reflect on their personal relationship with wildness, extinction, and survival.
Justseeds is currently selling single-sided, limited editions of pennies pressed with original illustrations of extinct and critically endangered animals. While the machine is functional, Stuart and Shaun are still working to prepare the project for public exhibition in the winter of 2016/17.