Capp Street Project: Michael Stevenson

November 28, 2006 to February 24, 2007

Michael Stevenson's Capp Street Project, c/o the Central Bank of Guatemala, is the result of his intense investigation into a bygone hydraulic analog computer called the Phillips Machine (or Moniac, the Monetary National Income Automatic Computer).

Originally built in 1949 by New Zealand economist Bill Phillips, this anthropomorphic object, standing more than six feet tall and pumping water through a vascular series of Plexiglas chambers and channels, employed water to represent monetary flow in a national economy. Intended to provide sophisticated economic analyses, 15 machines were built, marketed, and shipped off to such disparate locations as London, Istanbul, Melbourne, and Guatemala City.

Charting the exportation of Western economic models to developing worlds, Stevenson's unfulfilled search for a lost Moniac purchased by the Central Bank of Guatemala ultimately led to his precise recreation of the Guatemalan model. The replica will be the centerpiece of the installation at the CCA Wattis Institute.

Calibrated to economic conditions in Guatemala in 1953, this talismanic-like object, which symbolizes a country's thwarted dream to create a national prosperity, will be left unattended for the duration of the exhibition, transforming into a state of ruin.