How should we feel and think about phantoms such as climate change, global migrations, Big Data, and highfrequency trading? These complex processes, no matter how abstract and shapeless might seem to us, affect our lives on a daily basis. How should we bring them to a level of human mind and body?

Public debt of the Republic of Serbia is one such phantom: unfathomable yet powerful. Is it possible to convert it to an affective form sensible by human metabolism?

As a poetic exercise in physical data visualization, Debt as Diabetes depicts the last 10 years of Serbian debt. For each year, the debt-to-GDP ratio is presented as the amount of sugar used for the black coffee, a traditional drink the entire Balkan life is woven around.

The project introduces sensory metaphors into play: sugar and debt, coffee and ritual pleasure, sweet drugs and collective luxury, diabetes and financial colonization.

Visitors of the installation have been invited to drink coffee, one cup/year after another, in order to experience the exponential increase of debt as a short sugar-induced energy boost, which by the end of the 10-year line turns into a nausea, leaving a dark aftertaste.

The installation was a part of the Art + Science: Makers exhibition at the Belgrade Museum of Applied Arts, organized by the Centre for the Promotion of Science in Serbia.