Are you flourishing at the game of life, or are you floundering at the very bottom? Give this ATM your debit card, and you can find out. Art Basel, a ghoulishly lavish art show, is hosting an ATM that takes your picture and ranks you on a public leaderboard according to your debit bank balance. Some people have $0. Some people have over $10,000. The top-ranked ‘player’ has over $2.9 million.
Here’s how it works: ATM Leaderboards has a camera that captures your photo when you use it. It attaches your bank balance to your photo, along with a timestamp of when you used it. Scores are displayed on the touch screen above the ATM. CNN described it as a “working ATM,” so presumably you can get your cash from it. I mean, at the cost of your dignity. Anyone at the art fair can see the scores and photos that the machine recorded.
Here was my first thought: Who is stupid enough to attach their photo to a high bank balance? It turns out, not just any scrub can gain entry into Art Basel Miami Beach’s hallowed halls. This for-profit art show costs at least $70 for general admission, and pieces on display there sell for millions of dollars. So users are likely not at risk of getting jumped. Though this panoptic machine feels so creepy that I think I would stick with the normal ATMs, thanks.
ATM Leaderboards is not necessarily a measurement of wealth, but financial literacy. While some low-ranking players had zero dollars, most people are probably not putting their entire fortune into a single checking account. Well, unless you’re the guy walking around with almost $3 million. Pal, ever heard of a savings account? A Roth IRA? An offshore account in the Cayman Islands?
According to its creators from the art collective MSCHF, the ATM is meant to represent how the ultra-wealthy like to flaunt their wealth, or so Daniel Greenberg of MSCHF told CNN. Greenberg is willing to sell the machine, so it’s possible that it will continue to travel or be shut in a private collection forever. Kotaku reached out to ask if the ATM Leaderboards had garnered any unexpected reactions, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
ATM Leaderboards is one score board where the top rankings could probably be more accurately described as a wall of public enemies. But if you’re feeling particularly masochistic, you can visit it at Art Basel Miami Beach until Saturday.
Update 12/2/2022 at 5:00 P.M. E.T.: DJ Thomas “diplo” Pentz is now the top ranking “winner” of ATM Leaderboards. He had exactly $3,004,913.06 in the account at the time he inserted his card into the machine.