The Art of Turning Art into Money, an interview with Artist DADARA for BEND the system

Coming from a Polish family of scientists, DADARA (Daniel Rozenberg) isn’t just the usual piece of artist. From sculptures to installations, paintings and drawings he constantly manages to surprise the public. His work is not only a visual delight; mostly it’s an intriguing experience wherein he takes you into a ride of awareness’s and social responsibility.

Dadara fire started his career back in the 90’s designing flyers for the famous Club Roxy in Amsterdam, where after he created many installations for the Burning Man Festival in the Nevada dessert, including Checkpoint Dreamyourtopia; a border control checkpoint to enter your own Dreams, that was then shipped to Berlin, where Dadara smashed the walls dividing Dreams and Reality with sledgehammers and chainsaws exactly twenty years after the Berlin Wall came down.

Raising his voice on the fierce propaganda of terrorism, Dadara created Love, Peace and Terror, a project of visual aesthetic Terrorism. A pink tank with four barrels built on a rooftop in the centre of Amsterdam, which was later blown up with explosives near the squatted village of Ruigoord. Quoting him; ‘Art in the Golden Age of the War on Terrorism’.

Now tapping into the Bank crisis and the Dutch government cuts in the arts he started his new project The Exchanghibitionbank & Pool of Plenty, The Art of Turning Art into Money.

B : What are The Exchanghibitionbank and Pool of Plenty all about?

D : The Pool of Plenty will be 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, based on paintings of mine. 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, spiritual 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 quenching your thirst. 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.

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 Burning Man, 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 in the middle of the city.

The Pool of Plenty will be like the Fort Knox of the Exchanghibition Bank 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?

B : How did you come up with this idea and how is this going to work?

D : After we smashed the walls between Dreams and Reality in Berlin (and cleaned up the subsequent mess), I flew to Texas in order to install my Bomb Bird sculpture on the rooftop of Centraltrak, the artist residency I stayed in the year before. After the opening I had my first few days of nothingness; a welcoming black hole that soon though would start to get filled with a new idea, which hit me like the proverbial inspirational flash of lightning the next day. The whole idea of a protected pool filled with money, with a bank issuing the money was there in a few seconds. Since then I have worked hard on refining the idea, finding out that swimming physically in money is impossible, creating the visual language, adding lots of layers, but basically it was all there. 1% inspiration and 99% transpiration is a very true cliché.

B : What do you hope to ignite in people’s minds? Any other target groups?

D : Let me start by saying that as an artist I always feel that I shouldn’t express too much in words what people should think. People should experience a project, check out stuff on the website, think and then hopefully it will set off a spark inside their minds. This project will raise questions about the value of art and money, answering those questions is up to the viewer/participant.

Having said that, I feel that nowadays our society feels the need to pin everything down to its financial values. Art is a kind of metaphor for everything that originates from and is based upon other values, such as spiritual, artistic, social and philosophical ones. For me art is one of the last few true expression of the individual and of the inner self, not created because of marketing or consumer needs.

I’d like to add artistic, spiritual, and philosophical values to money as well. Something, which partially is already starting to happen through systems as alternative currencies.

B : Your launch for the Pool of Plenty will be at the Burning Man Festival, is this the right place to be at? How about mid-town NYC or the financial district?

D : It’s ONE of the right places for this project to be at. I like the fact that a pool filled with money and a bank will be in a place, based on a gift-economy, and where money doesn’t exist. So it’s a challenging place for a Fort-Knox-like installation.

But I am definitely on the lookout for other locations.

It was very fascinating to see the context in which it took place, change the whole meaning of Dreamyourtopia: In Berlin it dealt with restriction of Freedom, seen in the light of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. In the Dream-like setting of the Nevada desert, it was more about questioning Utopia and in Texas it touched upon issues of border immigration.

So yes, if anybody from the financial district is reading this, please contact me at inartwetrust@artasmoney.com

B : If you manage to turn your art into money, what will you do with that money?

D :  Fill the Pool of Plenty with that money.

B : Its already quite difficult for artists to get a funding, how do you manage especially having these controversial topics?

D : As mentioned before, art is for me an expression of your inner self and thus has a kind of purity, which seems to get very scarce in our nowadays society. Of course any Dream that you want to create and make happen in the real world, will have to deal with Real World issues, such as…………money.

But it is not an option in my opinion to change that Dream, dilute it down to something with could be less controversial and more commercial in order to get more cash flow.

Instead of changing your Dream, the only thing you can try to change is Reality.

The Echanghibition Bank:
http://exchanghibitionbank.com/

The blog for information and discussions on Money and Art:
http://blog.artasmoney.com/

Like Dadara’s Facebook page and follow his project on:
http://www.facebook.com/ArtAsMoney

The fund raising page, because this bank needs Money! Will the government support this art project? and/or prevent this bank from falling?

http://www.indiegogo.com/Exchanghibition-Bank

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  1. […] Exchanghibition Bank and Pool of Plenty. (interview can be read underneath or on the website itself here […]



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