The Golden USB (2014-ongoing)
Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens
The Golden USB is an installation that gives form to the idea of an interstellar trade capsule. Housed in a gold USB flash memory device, the capsule is intended for travel aboard a probe headed towards the stars beyond our solar system. Following in the footsteps of the Pioneer Plaque (1972-1973) and The Golden Record (1977), which introduced human civilization to extraterrestrials, The Golden USB (2014-ongoing) is an invitation to make contact and begin a trade relationship.

The work revolves around the Trade Catalogue of Everything, a digital file listing everything and anything-land, water, air, plants, animals, fragments of nature, but also the products of human culture, industry, invention and know-how-that may be of interest to alien life. Through a proliferation of spoken words, filmed performances and actual specimens, the contents of the catalogue are revealed in the exhibition space, transforming the items presented into “samples,” that is to say, objects of appropriation and speculation.

By raising timely questions regarding the limits of commodification, including the ownership of the Earth and of the life forms that inhabit it, The Golden USB considers the prospect of interstellar trade as the logical extension into the future of the economic paradigm of a planet without boundaries or borders, in other words, of global capitalism.
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The Golden USB, model in front of star field as seen from the Earth, digital image.
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