Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Fundred Dollar Bill

I wanted to write this post about something that has moved me while reading massive change, but after reading the fundred dollar bill project and other posts on the art21 blog, in particular Mel Chin’s response to Katrina, I thought it would be more interesting to take a look at his response to the travesty that struck New Orleans. I found it very interesting in the way he approached his situation; he knew that going down and helping clean up would be beneficial, but felt that his skills could be better utilized. I really appreciate the way in which he reflected internally to decide on what to do. The collaboration and concept that came out of the fundred dollar bill is a great way to empower students, children, and even adults to conceptualize and visualize what it would really take to drive home a serious point. The scary fact was that even if New Orleans citizens of the 9th ward were to return, their land and property would be saturated in poisonous lead soil. I thought the creation of this fake currency of expression is one of the most unique ways I’ve seen to bring attention to the government. While FEMA and other organizations were helping New Orleans and its citizens by throwing money at many problems, some of the more serious issues were not taken into account. Emotional loss and strife seemed to be what Chin was after, yet with a more serious monetary driven tone. The concept surrounding the fact that art is money and the fundred dollar bill is the fundamental way to achieve government awareness somewhat struck home with me. It seems as though so much government awareness is created with earmarked bills aimed at the glorification of senators and congresswomen/men that are seeking reelection, but nothing is done for the constituents that don’t have the same national attachment. The fundamental way to the government, money, is a great approach while using art, emotion, and the fundred dollar bill to build awareness around a crucial topic.


  1. While I"m not for sure what exactly the fundred dollar bill is I get the idea of it from your entry. This entry reminded me of something Jesse Jackson said last week on WGN news. He was spouting off about all kinds of different things but this particular quote from him directly relates to how governments throw money around and not necessarily at the actual problem. It was directed towards the bail out of the banks and credit companies, "they were paid while taking advantage of us then they were paid again for taking advantage of us". I realize there are a lot of different aspects to the bail out but I thought this was an interesting was to look at it.

  2. That's essentially what I was trying to get at. The fundred dollar bill is an article link we for reading, but it may be for next weeks class. I just thought it was an interesting idea.


  3. Just a quick shout out from the Fundred Team working with Mel on the project, thank you so much for your support of the project. 'Course, the project is about New Orleans, but also about the health of our society. If New Orleans is one of the most lead contaminated cities in the country--and lead poisoning is contributing to attention deficit disorders, poor performance in the schools, juvenile delinquency and violent crime--then we have an opportunity to shift the health of society by addressing this devistating environmental problem. Working with scientists we believe we have a solution to make safe the lead contaminated soil of New Orleans it can then become a model for other cities. The solution starts with each and every one of us making a FUNDRED DOLLAR BILL. As Mel has said of his artistic process: “Making objects and marks is also about making possibilities, making choices—and that is one of the last freedoms we have. To provide that is one of the functions of art.” Please check out website and do bring the project into the next weeks class. Please make a Fundred of your own, send it to a collection center, and be part of the solution (not to mention this amazing creative collective action). Please make your mark! Perhaps by your class next week, our new website will be up! In the mean time, please do join our facebook fan page too: ...and, if you have questions, please just let us know at