Kacey Wong: Free Money

Originally posted on Sunday, October 07, 2012

Kacey Wong is a Hong Kong born and based artist with a background in architecture who has taken that discipline into the social sphere, and more specifically, the street. His social critiques have included portable housing (attached to a bicycle) and small wooden sculptures that investigate the psychology of the built environment. While quite passionate and vehement in his political critiques, his work also relies on a sharp sense of humor. The project that is referred to in this interview had Kacey riding on top of a full-scale pink tank tossing “money” to the crowds that had gathered for Hong Kong’s annual July 1st protest march.

KCmoney copy

For more information about his artwork, please visit his website: http://kaceywong.com/

Likink: Why did you give out (throw away) money (at the July 1st march)?

Kacey Wong: I gave out the money on July 1st march to protest against the Communist infiltration of Hong Kong by buying people out. The recent Moral and National Education is a good example since the schools were given a lot of money to produce biased education that comes close to brainwashing. This money is difficult to refuse especially for those schools that are in need of the money. This situation is not limited to the education sector alone, but is also happening in the business and political sectors.

Likink: In giving out “money”, what point were you making about the funding of art in Hong Kong?

Kacey Wong: With pro Communist attitude (actually most of those who claim they are Communist are fake Communist in my view since they don’t practice it) taking control of the cultural sector in Hong Kong. One worry could be that art organizations who agree more with the red party will get more funding and those who disagree might have their funding cut off. Artistic quality will not be upheld, this might leads to hypocrisy and flattery which often seen in the mainland. Freedom, democracy, justice, and conscience will be reduced into nothing since they would be would consider “inappropriate” material and are not eligible for funding support.

Likink: Was anyone confused about it being “real money”?

Kacey Wong: I try to make the money yellowish in color since it looks like the existing one thousand dollar bill from afar. Most people weren’t confused and are willing to keep the money since it look so realistic. I did reminded the viewer that they can exchange the fake banknotes into Hong Kong dollars or Renminbi at the basement of Chinese Liason Office during office hours and the bills are actually designed by a ‘famous’ Hong Kong designer which add value into this art collectable.

Likink: Do you consider the money an “art edition”?

Kacey Wong: I do consider the money an art edition and this series is ‘infinite production’ just like the real money we see in many of the countries, they just keep printing it.

Likink: How did you come up with the design of your money?

Kacey Wong: The layout is a direct copy from the Hong Kong one hundred dollars bill, it follows basically the same regulating lines of the existing layout except I added a lot of my own motifs such as the tank and the image of the Real Culture Bureau Director. I want to create something the holder can immediately recognize, the banknotes demand respect due to its familiarity in the mind of the viewer.

Likink: Does this project have a relation to any other projects that have used or refer to money?

Kacey Wong: This project pays tribute to another money related work created Suitman Young Kim. He once showed me a drawer inside his studio. When he pulled open the drawer there are stacks after stacks of newly printed one hundred US dollar bills featuring his face in the middle of the banknotes. I thought to myself at that time, “every artist needs a drawer like this!” His work makes reference to drug dealers and gang culture, where as mine is related to culture and politics.


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