What was it?
Uuva (The Currency of New Work //UUden työn VAluutta) is in a hibernating state and I mostly talk about it when warning people working on alternative currencies about things that can go wrong. Things that can go wrong have been depicted in the: Audio from Pixelache09 alt.econ.cult Seminar. Courtesy of Andrew Gryf Paterson. The last big public event related to Uuva - Currency was in 2009 "Pixelache09 alt.econ.cult Seminar" (Helsinki) organized by Andrew Gryf Paterson. Our part was a 20 min presentation which you may download.
Since this Uuva - Currency has converted into a research project. It is only supported in Finnish and there are not many images online of it (reasons explained later).
== How did Uuvas work ==
Uuva's where hand-printed notes which where intended to be used in "exchange of services" between "culture workers of all sorts". (Here is how they where made: http://storijapan.net/uuva/Valuutta/uuva_valmistus/uuva_valmistus.html)
If a musician would need someone to make a video of his/her gig the musician could have used an Uuva to pay a friend. Later on the friend could use this Uuva to pay for labor related to webpage design etc. One Uuva = One service (webdesign, photos, video, etc.). The value of Uuvas where not calculated in any other way.
Each time a person received an Uuva s/he had to activate it online at (http://storijapan.net/uuva/Valuutta/Aktivoi.html) and describe the scenario where s/he received the note. Each Uuva had a unique trade history (independent value) and in time they would been helpful in mapping subculture labor/networks – The importance of which can not be evaluated using traditional money as an index. Eg. Most of the work cultural workers do is unpaid - But people still find means to compensate each other in some way. Uuvas would have been a lubricant in this system.
Uuvas where marketed to be particularly useful culture workers who work between different cities. It would be a certificate of a sort you could use to recruit help. People would not know you but they would know Uuva..
It was an alternative currency in between monetary-and-gift economics. Much like these "sunday soup things" (http://www.incubate-chicago.org/sundaysoup) people pay for the soup to support culture workers.. The act of buying the soup is a sort of ceremonial performance where visitors form an agreement with the culture workers..
=== Why did Uuva NOT catch on? ===
People did not like to map services they are used to do for free for each other. Mapping services with Uuva notes was making the dynamics of exchanging services too tangible. Friends didn't want to use tokes to measure their value for the community.
I didn't feel comfortable marketing Uuvas (to make neat webpages for it/fancy pictures etc.) because building "an image" of the currency would have had an impact on it's value. I wanted it's value to be only measured on how it was used - Not how it was represented. It was not to be a charismatic currency – I wanted it to be a TOOL.
Also at the end only I was working on it – Bad management.
== Current status ==
At the same time as we (I and Tehdas ry and various interested parties) where working with Uuva the notable CES (Community Exchange System /http://www.ces.org.za/) landed in Helsinki. It offered a larger mass of people to engage with and the currency was bind to a simpler syntax (1 hour of labor = 1 CES unit).
I enrolled Uuva into the CES system in hopes for it to develop into an "exchange bureau - between the two currencies" and offered the services of our network for the CES network - To link the two.. But people at that time in CES where not (2009) interested in the services I had to offer (video editing, performances etc.).
Since this I have worked a little bit for the CES in Helsinki (http://stadinaikapankki.wordpress.com/), mainly to support it's cause and when people ask should they make their own alternative currencies I tell them that CES (even as it has a complicated online interface) is a better system then anything they could come up with.
In the near future I will relaunch Uuva in a new form. It will become a sticker people can glue to their tools (drills, computers, hammers, cameras etc.) and when they borrow these tools form each others they can tell about this act online (so that we can map the networks).
We also run a peer-funding project aroung Uuvas. http://storijapan.net/uuva/apurahapeli/index.html which might interest you even more.
Contact: eero (äät) storijapan.net