We’ve heard about spending money, but what Brooke Purvis, an art student at Central Saint Martins is doing, is a little different. Purvis decided to set fire to his entire unnamed amount student loan for an art project called Everything is burning.
By burning his money, Purvis hopes to ask questions about the nature of money and what we really make from it. However, we imagine that one of the things that he will almost certainly gain from the project is the anger of his fellow students who could have used the money for, you know, things like food, accommodation and school fees. .
“I could donate this money to charity, but charity is capitalism’s solution to the problem it creates,” Purvis said. Vice. “But it’s my money, I remember it’s fiction, and like everyone else, I choose to do what I want with it. Also, I think I’m doing something positive with it. The work I create highlights what I consider to be very important issues.
Purvis sees the work as conceptual rather than performative, and therefore the actual engraving will take place in front of a single witness. It will be documented in both photos and film, and the ashes will be collected for further documentation and, according to Purvis, “possibly on display.”
“You give up your freedom and your time in exchange for pieces of paper that actually have no financial value,” Purvis laments. “Money – in the UK, at least – has absolutely no value other than what you give it.”
It should be noted that one could make a similar argument on the value of art.
Purvis, of course, isn’t the first artist to make money destruction an artistic act. In 1994, artists Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty of The KLF recorded themselves burning £ 50 bills in a video simply titled Watch the K Foundation burn a million pounds. “Of course I regret it, who wouldn’t!” »Drummond said BBC News twenty years later.
More recently, Dustin Yellin and the artistic collective Bazaar Teens $ 10,000 shredded see you this year Spring art fair / break in New York before using the leftovers to create works of art. (It should be noted that Yellin used the proceeds of the paintings to create grants for high school art students.)
Purvis concedes to Vice that life will be difficult for him without the loan. The artist is currently employed and has a full course load, and he lives in what he describes as “a mouse infested house with 11 other people sharing the same bathroom on the outskirts of London”. He also concedes that some people might view the stunt as juvenile.
“But compared to the stunts the right-wing brotherhood is doing now, it’s nothing,” he says. “And how do you get people interested in an important topic these days? There is so much background noise that the only way to get people to look up and pay attention is to do a shocking and outrageous stunt.
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