Mathieu Beauséjour

Money as a pledge becoming a sign by ideological diversion.

"Nous stagnons en des temps de troubles mutations où la lumière fait paraître l’obscurité ambiante plus ténébreuse encore, tandis que la barbarie s’exacerbe à mesure que la sensibilité s’insurge contre elle."

-Raoul Vaneigem, 1999

Money is paper, a precious paper printed mechanically with techniques and inks whose recipes are a well kept secret. This high specialisation of engraving, printing and papermaking implies an ''official art'' that has a long tradition of reflecting, and promoting, the State and the intricate links it shares with the banks as authoritive entities in the control of the masses. Starting with these premises I elaborate my work in a perspective of resistance by and as practice. I often refer to semiotic terrorism, détournements and other spectro-situationist tactics in order to subvert the material and concept of money. The official art that is money is the unit of measure that defines our exchange with the other in consumer society.

Since 1991 I have been investigating money and notions of exchange and value with the ´Survival Virus de Survieª project and its many conceptual variations. This project is rooted in a daily activity, an action, that consists of counter-stamping all of my own, and sometimes other people's, paper currency with the words ´Survival Virus de Survieª . I then record the serial number of each stamped bill in a note book and subsequently enter them in a data bank. The infected bills are put back in circulation. The concept is one of a virus: an organism that reproduces itself from its own genetic code, the code here being the serial numbers that are subsequently re-used in the creation of artworks. The damaged paper currency will eventually be removed from circulation by the same institution that has issued them: the Bank of Canada. The high-tech art of printing money is being canceled out by a simple low-tech technique of rubber stamping. From this daily activity I then make conceptual deviations that undermine various aspects of money in the form in installations, prints, interventions, multiples - in other words, using any means necessary.


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