Text for an exhibition catalogue ”Brutto”, BWA Zielona Góra, 2009
Translation: A. Rozwadowska
— Did it happen to you to mark banknotes? So that each of them had its own, I don't know how to put it. personality?
— What do you mean?
— It came to my mind that on the banknotes being in circulation there are fingerprints, fragments of our epidermis, saliva, sweat, who knows what else. This is a bit like a transfer of scraps of our body, being handed round between strangers, travelling through people's pockets and wallets. This is so inspiring.
— Do you mean money is just dirty?
— Yes, dirty and clammy. There are germs on it. I imagine its coarse surface seen under the microscope - geological formations, massifs and passes, with deposits of human DNA gathering at the bottom.
— I don't mean money is organic or it is a medium for germs, you know very well. I don't care about a few drops
of blood on paper. I just simply think about money's value. Clean, clinical, sterile value. There is no romantic idea in it. I calmly calculate a value of stacks of coins and banknotes.
— I guess you would like to manipulate value of money somehow?
— .or at least to observe how this value grows or diminishes when the banknote, as a physical object, is subjected
to some treatment.
— What treatment do you mean?
— It can be making a stack of banknotes, which I recognise as a sculpture and decide to put up for auction.
Or a ceiling made of banknotes, spread several metres above the floor. It's also interesting to me what happens with banknotes buried in the soil. It's a kind of battle with a physicality of things with the purchasing power behind it - the economy buried alive.
— Tell me, did you want to produce your own currency?
— Oh, it happened many years ago. I tried to cope with perfection of existing graphic design of money.
I produced my own banknote in three copies. They had no denomination, or to specify, their denomination was zero.
— Yes, I wanted to emphasise they were worth nothing even though they meant a lot to me.
— I see. You didn't tell me yet whether it happened to you to put trade marks on banknotes you were producing?
— Yes, I did it a couple of times; I ascribed new numbers to them. I added also my address and telephone number.
On the side there was a short message to a current owner - I asked him or her for information where the banknote currently is. I released around 700 marked banknotes.
— Anybody responded?
— In the first two months when money was back in the circulation nothing happened. Only after some time I received a letter with a precisely described route of one banknote. Five Turkish liras, I still remember the number: A014370806. A journey described in details, with beautiful, sophisticated language. Dramas, violence, and yearnings. And cold economy. A single banknote witnessed many unbelievable events. Or it could, as I'm not able to verify that information. Adventures which could be experienced by a piece of paper, with a specific value granted, were unbelievable.
— This is a bit naive to believe in the facts quoted in a letter sent by anonymous author.
— Okay, so I will reveal more. A week after I had got that letter, I received a parcel with pictures documenting the banknote's journey. Amazing documentation, complemented by bills, maps, charts, phone numbers of people who had owned the banknote. In a separate envelope there was a picture. Very disturbing to me - it was a burnt house. Charred rubble.
— What did you do with this parcel?
— Nothing. For a while I was thinking about reporting it to the police but I didn't know how to explain the story
of marked banknotes. I knew something strange had happened; strange but not necessarily bad. After some time
I calmed down and wiped this story out from my memory.
— I would like to ask you also what you think about the mystery of planted boxes full of money. Isn't it strange?
This is eighth case this year.
— I have no explanation of this but it looks like a planned action. Someone acts with deliberation; it's fascinating
and inspiring. I think he wants to tell us something. This how he changes the amount of banknotes, how he arranges them and where he plants them - a real masterpiece! And this hunting for another parcel from an unknown philanthropist - people paddling in the water and digging in the mud, ploughing up the gardens, tearing out floorboards! Sheer madness!
— Finally I want to ask you if money always attract hatred.
— Hatred always costs; it's an integral part of the economy.