Transaction/Translation uses the monetary currency system as a platform to examine the intrinsic signification and symbolism of a 100-TWD bill and how it interacts with other materials or notions, as well as such issues as the im/possible exchanges between area, labor, price, and value. Since notes are converted and circulated by social consensus, they have become a general unit of communication, definition, and evaluation.
The project has three phases, starting with Lai’s labor in making bread. Twenty-four loaves of bread are made for each phase and each loaf earns the artist a 100-TWD bill. A series of exchanges are then generated by the bills she’s earned that allow Lai to investigate the way in which currency is used as a communication medium, by attending to translation, conversation and archiving. Finally, all the objects acquired in the three phases are brought together and exhibited. Not only do they serve as evidence, but, as displayed documents, they signify and complement one another, thereby offering the viewer the possibility of retracing what took place.
However, communication systems, such as words, images, or currencies, can only be translated partially in the installation, which can lead to a break in communication. Since continuous and fluctuating artistic or social events can be turned into specimens, instantly captured for permanent documentation, Lai is considering giving up the preservation of her work or using the monetary circulation system as a platform where it can mutate and evolve.