How to Make a Buck

KEEP THE CHANGE WITH HARLEY J. SPILLER Harley Spiller; Gülsen Calik; Iris Rose

From pp. 46-47 of "Keep the Change -A Collector's Tales of Lucky Pennies, Counterfeit C-notes, and other Curious Currency”:

Gülsen Calik, a Turkish conceptual artist living in New York City, took another approach to the manipulation of the value of cash with How to Make a Buck, an artwork she spent ten years creating.  During that time, Calik removed one very narrow strip from each of one hundred sixty-two twenty-dollar bills.  She taped each bill back together, minus the strip, and returned it to circulation.  Then she made a composite bill from the stolen strips, a "new" twenty-dollar bill.  

Calik's decade-long moneymaking process made her very nervous, so she calmed herself by logging receipts for each banknote she sent back into circulation.  During the process she learned a lot about the composition of money, including the fact that, despite the Bureau of Engraving and Printing's best efforts, the size of the dollar's rectangle differs from bill to bill.  About this literal margin of error, Calik says, "I could have taken a ruler and a sharp knife and trimmed the edges to perfection, but that would have been unwise."  Calik believes, "the 'beauty' of the work is also about its integrity as an honest metaphor for the labor and exchange of the bill; the exchange of work for a splice of currency."  Calik found a new way to make money, but rather than spend it, she chooses to live with it; How to Make a Buck is not for sale.

by Harley Spiller, 2015, Princeton Architectural Press