Dadara is an Amsterdam-based artist whose guest post on Groundswell describes Exchanghibition Bank, a guerrilla money changing booth, and Pool of Plenty, a pit of custom currency.
“When Bankers get together for dinner they discuss Art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss money” – Oscar Wilde
Do you remember the image of Scrooge Duck diving into his money? Wealth and material accumulation once provided a happy image to children around the world, but have become increasingly dystopian and suspicious in recent times. Financial crisis has removed the pot of gold awaiting us at the end of the rainbow. Insatiable appetites for growth have allowed greed to drive us to the end of an abyss. While there is a great deal of disagreement, there is one consensual truth: something needs to change. But even though the fantasy of riches has gotten ever more distasteful, can you still resist a swim in a pool filled with money?
And that will be my new art project: a pool filled with millions of money bills, bundled in stacks -The Pool of Plenty. A closer look at the pool will reveal that the bills in the pool are not real money, but pieces of aesthetically pleasing art. During today’s financial crisis, art has been frequently cited as an advantageous alternative asset class and diamond encrusted skulls and Picasso’s go for over one hundred million. But do the millions of dollars that might buy you a Warhol or a Koons speak about the social or artistic value?
As the participants will strip down to enter in a pool of artful riches, they’ll realize it’s strictly forbidden and enforced by security guards to take even one bill back home! The pool will provide a mouth-watering oasis, without actually cooling you down. It’ll literally be an oasis in a desert, since I want to build this pool for the first time at the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, a festival based on a gift-economy, where money doesn’t exist. This experience will put money back into the face of the participants, who I’d hope would use this time not just as a vacation void of currency, but an opportunity to detach, reattach, rethink and question ideas and values.
A project that will raise questions about money and art and the value of art. It won’t just raise those questions in the dreamlike Utopian setting of a temporary city, Black Rock City, based on a gift economy, but will confront the ‘real’ world as well. In order to do that I will start a bank – the Exchanghibition Bank, with “The Art of Turning Art into Money” as its slogan.
The money bills which will be safely guarded by security officers watching the pool can be bought, or rather ‘exchanged’ at this bank. The first bill issued will have denomination zero, but might become the most expensive bill, because of its beauty and scarcity. The bank booth will be traveling around, sometimes at art festivals or openings but also popping up guerrilla style in unexpected places. And of course the exchange rate established will give the millions of bills in the pool a value of many millions of dollars,
Does that mean the pool is a good work of art?
The exchange rate can be followed at the website of the bank, where all other information can be found as well.
Will the government provide this bank with a bailout? We are not sure, so we are asking you, the public, for a bailout.
Let’s swim in our fantasy while others drown in their reality ! The Money raised with this campaign will make sure the bank booth can be built, banker costumes can be made and money/art bills can be printed, and , NO, no money left over will disappear in greedy bankers’ pockets, but will be used to start filling up the pool!
The project will also feature a blog, which won’t just be a blog about the project, but more importantly, an information- and discussion-platform about art and money and the value of art. It will feature articles such as the burning of a million pounds by the K-Foundation, artist JSG Boggs who draws his own money, and the reclaiming of public space by groups as the Billboard Liberation Front. Also various guestbloggers will write posts, amongst them also the Groundswell Collective!
Money- and Art Greetings
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