The video “The Cut, The Punch, The Press” (2021) by Nina Støttrup Larsen is assembled from filmed fragments of a collection of 65 banknotes of the CFA franc, circulated between 1945–2021. The CFA franc is a currency that France set up in 14 West and Central African colonies in 1945, and which remains the official currency today. The bank notes are created by French engravers, printed in Chamalières, and the circulation of the currency is still largely governed by the French Treasury. Since 2001 the CFA franc has been “pegged” to the Euro, meaning it has a fixed exchange rate with it.
The video zooms in and pans over these banknotes, that all share images portraying recurring motifs of extraction sites such as palm oil harvesting, uranium mining, phosphate extraction, cotton production, and explicit French-owned assets in the region. The microprinted details double as both representation and security features, caught in a complex circulation between object and value, resources and currency.
The viewer is guided by a fictional dialogue between a numismatist and an accountant, while sounds from the printing facility in Chamalières signal the aspects of this production that are ongoing.
[Published on BAK’s digital forum “Prospections” as part of the editorial focus “ExitStateCraft”, August 2021]