Money as Art
November last year NNE member Dadara destroyed his most recent project, Checkpoint DreamYourTopia – a border control checkpoint to enter your own dreams, with sledgehammers and chainsaws in Berlin. Exactly twenty years after the wall came down they tore down the borders between dream and reality. A physical and symbolic destruction that was constructive in more ways than I could think of.
Sadly I missed the experience and the destruction of the checkpoint. But when I met Dadara, a couple of months ago he introduced me to his newest project: Pool of Plenty. This time he wants to show the ambivalent and often artificial relationship between art and money.
Premiering at the Burning Man Festival in Nevada in 2011 Dadara will build a gigantic pool filled with money. An extreme concept for a festival that is based on a gift-economy. But it will be not just any money. They will be banknotes that resemble money, but are in themselves pieces of art. The visitor will be invited to take off their clothes and take a swim in the pool, but there will be guards, who’ll make sure that no one takes/steals even a single note.
The other side of this project’s coin is the perceived and proved value of the banknotes/artworks. The visitor will be able to buy, or rather exchange money for the banknotes, which in turn has an influence on the total value of Dadara’s currency.
As you can see it sounds all pretty complicated, but in the end it comes down to this: “The exchange rate will eventually result in a very interesting total value for all the bills in the pool project, which might propel the installation itself into the multi-million dollar elite league of art.” (Dadara) A stunning idea to raise the value of hundreds of little artworks by attaching them to actual direct monetary value. A brave concept that not only addresses the cold-cash-attitude of many art collectors, who buy art as mere investment, but above all puts the perceived monetary value of art on the same level as real money from faceless banks.
But to make this happen Dadara needs your help! Let him explain: “Financial crisis has removed the pot of gold awaiting us at the end of the rainbow. 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. 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.
“No real bank will finance this project, so I’ll start my own bank; the Exchanghibition Bank, which will hopefully help this dream come true. The Bank itself will be a specially designed exchange booth and will travel to different places. People can buy or rather exchange their money for the specially designed art bills and a bill with denomination zero might become worth more than a bill with a value of a hundred thousand. This way we can start raising some money to fill the pool and at the same time establish an exchange rate for the bills.
“And of course this bank won’t get a bailout from the Government, so we need you!
“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!” (Dadara)
So be a hero and help Dadara here.
Additionally he set up an interesting blog to get you thinking about art and money and money and art and everything this subject might entail. Dadara, art connoisseur King Adz and my humble self will be contributing, so be sure not to miss this!