Jac Leirner's sculpture Blue Phase
is made from Brazilian banknotes that, due to hyperinflation, have lost their value. The contradiction of worthless money is important to the artist, and she often uses it to embody modern human interactions and the instability of systems such as economies.
Inflation is a continuous rise in prices in a nation's economy. It is calculated as an average of all prices, since some may rise while others fall. Inflation occurs when prices increase for most major items, such as houses, automobiles, food, and gasoline.
The rate of inflation is measured by indexes, which compare prices today with those of an earlier period. In the 1980s, Brazil experienced hyperinflation, meaning inflation sped upward at a rate that inspired the word "hyper." In 1985, inflation in Brazil reached 235 percent.