A quarter can’t buy you much these days—you’ll need 10 to buy a copy of the New York Times and 20 to drive on many toll roads—but the coin still shapes the world in incredible ways.
In this visualization for Microsoft by creative agency Roundhouse and the CGI masters at Universal Everything, you’ll learn how the mere mining of its precious elements, including copper, have helped fuel the economic development of entire countries.
The dazzling data visualization was built in an infinite room of mirrors filled with hanging lights and LCD screens. The animation was created to play on the core aesthetic of a quarter—essentially a dot—but rearranged and repurposed into graphs, images, and gorgeous abstractions. It feels a little like you're standing under all of the stars in the universe.
It's a clever visual play that enables the quarter to transcend its boring day-use as monetary unit and become a powerful pixel in a heavenly abstract state that feels a little beyond our comprehension. It’s as if Yayoi Kusama moonlighted as a macroeconomics professor. And the audience is left with something greater than a few talking points of metal currency; we’re left with the realization that, yes, we are woefully insignificant compared to the tiny chunks of metal clanging around in our pockets.