Wanda Gillespie, A Counting Frame for Circular Economies, 2022
1Cedar, macrocarpa, stainless steel. 1915 x 1645 x 200mm.
A Counting Frame for Circular Economies begins with the question of how to value what is immeasurable. Do we calculate the dollar value of mangrove forests and pollinators for their thankless contributions to life and economic systems? Is the attempt to do so possible, or just absurd?
Wanda Gillespie’s abacus gestures to literal methods of counting, implying slow, tactile labour that offers an alternative to the fast-paced and self-effacing (under)world of stocks, bonds and synthetic debt, inequality indexes and interest rates. Its interior steel frame, along which the individual hand-carved timber beads slide, is wrought to recall patterns in nature, like the golden ratio and Fibonacci spiral, and the innumerable systems that play a role in the continued cycling forth of life.
While these systems might be beyond remuneration (a living wage for bees would be an absurd proposal), the work might make us think of other measures, such as a universal basic income or a toxicity tax for polluting corporations, that remain well within the limits of the doable, and the new metrics of value they entail.