An installation by Micah Lexier
Featuring a Story by Derek McCormack and twenty-thousand Custom Minted Coins

I Am The Coin

A story told in 10,000 characters by Derek McCormack

I am the coin I am telling this story I am in a grid consisting of twenty thousand coins a grid two hundred rows long by one hundred rows high each coin is a letter there are no spaces and no punctuation marks there is a hidden clue to help you find me

Find the clue and you will find me it will not be easy I made sure of that the grid is huge the grid is a mirror of itself the top fifty rows reflect the bottom fifty rows and vice versa or versa vice to read the top fifty rows you must stand on your head

You wonder why I would want you to stand on your head well coins have to do it all the time heads or tails tails or heads also if you stand on your head coins will fall from your pockets you are wondering how a coin is telling you this well money talks

Okay you do not have to stand on your head it would not help anyway what you have to do is uncover the clue that is concealed in the grid concealed or should I say coincealed the clue is hidden in the bottom fifty rows of the grid I am hidden there too

Unum is Latin for one I am the coin I am the one coin in this grid that matters I am the one coin in this grid that you must find numismatics is the name for the study of coins I am the only coin that needs studying I am a spectacular specimen e unum unum

What makes me the one the only coin that matters why am I the most spectacular coin in the history of coins I will tell you I am a coin with consciousness by which I mean coinsciousness but beware I have no conscience by which I mean no coinscience

Are there other coins that can talk no there are not are there other coins that can think no there are not I am not Cartesian but Cointesian my theorem is coingito ergo sum I clink therefore I am I have consciousness but no conscience who needs it

No there has never before been a coin like me I am sentient I have a joke for you what do you call a penny that thinks centient I do not have a brain but I do have a head and a story to tell Micah Lexier made me this way when he made me a part of this artwork

The dictionary says that sentience is the basis of subjectivity well I am sentient I can speak and I can speak about speaking too I have thoughts and feelings I feel coiny art speaks to people and art speaks about art Micah Lexier made me I am art

Truth is that Micah Lexier made me but I do not want to discuss him the art he makes is always about himself and his friends I am the star of this show I do not have a brain but I have a head and a tail everybody loves head everybody loves tail wink wink

Other people made it possible for me to be I do not want to discuss them either Derek McCormack wrote the story you are reading but so what he is dull and I am desirable and I am dirty coins are germy I will flip for you will you give me a toss wink wink

From here on in I will only talk about what I want to talk about if I want to talk about Micah and Derek then I will do so maybe I will tell the truth but then again maybe I will not I have no morals I am a coin money talks and money lies and mirrors lie too

In two thousand and eight Micah Lexier was commissioned by Dawn Cain who is the curator at the Bank of Montreal to create an art project and he came up with the idea of casting a coin me and of casting a cast of thousands of other coins too bit parts

No I do not know where Micah came up with the idea to coin me maybe he liked that Dawn Cain had a surname that sounded something like coin and that looked a lot like coin or maybe he liked that dawn cain was assisted at work by a lady named elisa coish

Dawn Cain and Elisa Coish two names that when put together make the anagram A Salad Nicoise Winch maybe Micah likes puns puzzles and palindromes and anagrams or maybe he likes to read reading and coins are connected coins are covered in words

Maybe Micah thought that since words make coins then coins could make words he decided he would let me tell my story through coins coins with letters he decided there would be coins tens of thousands of coins and that each coin would be a letter

Each coin would combine with other coins to create words words would combine with words to create sentences coin a phrase phrase a coin Micah decided that each line would be two hundred characters across no spaces no numerals no punctuation

Imagine a grid one hundred rows of coins high two hundred rows of coins across Micah likes to count he imagined a grid that reflects itself the bottom rows reflect the top rows and hidden somewhere in that grid a clue leading to a certain coin me

As hard as it is to believe I was nothing till I was made into a coin before that I was a blank a blob a bit of metal worth a fraction of a fraction of a cent but now I am a coin I am worth much more I am art and art is more important than artists am I right I am

Money is a trick the truth is that a penny does not contain a penny in copper a nickel does not contain a nickel in nickel a dime does not contain a dime etc coins are valuable because a government says so I am valuable because I am art and also shiny

Truth is that art is a mirror held up to society I am a mirror held up to society I am in a grid of coins that mirrors itself I see my reflection I do not literally see my reflection a coin is not literally a mirror it is only a mirror if you are the queen

Her majesty queen elizabeth the second she is the monarch currently on the currency of canada a coin is a mirror if you are queen elizabeth the second or if you are a bluenose sailboat or a polar bear or a caribou or a beaver or a maple leaf or a loon

Ecce nummus I am a mirror held up to society a coin can reflect anything it can become anything a coin can become art art can become coin if I were a book I would be coindide by voltaire and if I were an album I would be the velvet underground and coin

That was an anagram coin nico clever If I were a liqueur I would be cointreau and if I were a dress I would be a Cocoin Chanel and if I were a play I would be Tressida and Coinus and if I were an opera I would be Toscoin which is the opposite of a coin toss

Hey if I were an actor I would be Sean Coinery if I were an actress I would be Coindice Bergen if I were a film I would be The Shop around the Coiner if I were a joke I would be how do I get to coinegie hall pause practice anagram is an anagram for anagram

I know what you are thinking you want me to stop fooling around you want me to be serious I am art and art is serious and money is serious you want me to be deep well good luck with that I am a coin I am all surface I am mere millimetres deep I am not thick

Really is it not enough that I told you how I was made no it is not you want to know why I was made you want to know if I have some deep meaning you people are always analyzing things I am a coin it does not matter what I mean what matters is what I am worth

Trust me when I say that people have psychology coins have collectibility art does too the only things that matter are what I am worth and how shiny I am but no you want something more from me some insight into me well then I will make something up

You are standing before an artwork by Micah Lexier the artwork considers the complicated exchanges that our culture conducts between money and art this piece is highly personal he first became interested in coins as a boy scout in manitoba

From the coin collecting merit badge manual of the boy scouts of canada colon To obtain a merit badge for coin collecting a scout must exhibit at least one hundred types of coins personally collected by him and mounted for display to the troop

In order to get his coin collecting merit badge Micah had to do a lot of reading he had to read the coin collecting merit badge manual of the boy scouts he had to read and remember a glossary of coin collecting terms such as inscription and incuse

Reverse the side of the coin that is not the obverse obverse the side of a coin that features the main device which is usually the head of state Micah learned terms by rote reading is crucial to coin collecting reading about coins reading coins

Symbol a secondary device usually in the field Field the part of the surface of the coin not taken up by the main device and the main inscription inscription the lettering and words on a coin Micah read every book in the town library about coins

Type the type includes everything on the side of the coin but type is also used to designate the device exclusive of the inscriptions Micah read so much about coins he got his merit badge in reading before he got a merit badge in coin collecting

Learning the language of coins was only the first step for Micah after that he had to study the history of coins according to the coin collecting merit badge manual of the scouts the first coins were made by ionians ionic is an anagram for I coin

Every other boy in school was dating girls but not Micah he was dating coins he read about the coins of greece the coins of rome the coins of persia he loved the tetradrachm with its head of Alexander the great alexander was so handsome so strong

This is how to date a coin take it to dinner buy it flowers Micah loved the florin of florence the sequin of venice the first sequins were gold coins stitched to the garments of noblemen this fact thrilled Micah and he thought of alexander again

The easiest coins to date were Canadian as Micah discovered our coins do not date back that far the oldest one he read about in the Scout manual was a sou from Quebec from eighteen thirty seven what did one coin lawyer say to another I will sou you

Eventually Micah got around to collecting coins his first was a penny from the year he was born he wanted a rarer coin he asked his mom she checked her change she did not have a florin a sequin or a sou he asked his dad men do not have sequins said dad

Really said Micah to his dad some men do so have sequins what about liberace Micah bought a starter coin collection at a hobby shop it had coins from chile and china the coins were not worth what he paid for them but a hobby shop must make money too

In no time Micah amassed a fine coin collection friends sent coins from far flung countries he met other collectors and traded coins he saved his pennies and sent away for coins he broke the piggy bank what noise does a piggy bank make oinc oinc

Next he mounted the coins he loved mounting them as much as he loved dating them he loved the cardboard cards he loved the envelopes with celluloid windows he loved paste board trays with holes cut to the size of the coins he loved labeling them

This is a label from the childhood coin collection of Micah colon Austria Maria Theresia Empress of Austria Hungary Bohemia a thaler silver eighteen seventy minted in vienna the thaler was his favourite coin it was as big as a compact mirror

High relief low relief cameos Micah rattled off his coin knowledge to the Boy Scout leader he displayed his collection to the troop of course he got his merit badge he sewed it to his sash he had other badges too for sewing camping dramatics art

Initially the Lexiers were happy to see their son collecting coins but soon they worried that he was becoming obsessive the scout leader told them not to fret he said coin collecting was a healthy hobby he said it could be worse much much worse

So there it is a story by me about Micah I see your faces you were moved you are wondering how I can see you at all I have an eye my eye is a clue to help you find me I wink at you I am giving you the eye I am making eyes at you here is a palindrome sore eye eros

Coin tells story it is a crazy story in itself I am Charles Dickoins I will publish it where would a coin publish a story in a treasury how can a coin write in the first place coins are art art is stories stories are fiction a penny for your thoughts

Look coins are worth more than the materials they are made of and artworks are worth more than the sum of their parts and stories are larger than life fiction is more real than fact fiction is real it is the coin of the realm and the coin of the real

Ultimately it comes down to this I am the coin I am the coin in a grid that consists of twenty thousand coins and I want you to find me the clue to finding me is hidden in the grid surely you have seen it by now open your eyes that is a hint do not be a slug

Everyone who finds me will win a prize the prize is the pure pleasure of finding me to find a coin is good luck to find me start at the start and read down Mirror mirror on the wall who is the luckiest coin of all it is I I am good luck I am lucky lucky am I

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