“Money, The Last Taboo.” Ongoing Audience Installation Project Receives Funding of 5 dollars From Shell Oil

The Money Project continues in full swing as I collect reaction data. Thus far I have handed out the money card to over 500 people. Approximately 33% laughed and did not give me 5 dollars. 20% laughed and gave me five dollars. 3 People gave me 10 dollars and refused the change. Comments ranged from “this is pan-handling, you know” to “Why aren’t you asking for $50 dollars” to “You’re Pathetic” to “Why?” to the ever-endearing reply, “are you serious?”  38% of the card receivers became flushed and inwardly hostile. Of these 38%, 35% were Republicans and 3% were Trust Fund Babies. Apres discussion with audience members/people on the street suggested emotional angst stemming from recognition of personal issues regarding money, specifically their wallet. The extraction of their wallet from purse or pant pocket evoked resentment, confusion, and PTSS. The fact that they were asked to borrow the money seemed worse than being asked to give the money outright, being that whenever they had lent money in the past, the relationship with the loanee became fraught with tension. This tension continued after the loanee repaid the money. The act of lending anything to anyone appeared to cause undue confusion, being that is suggested intimacy and boundary vulnerability. A small percentage of people were thrilled to open their fat wallets in order to reveal a thick wad of 100’s. Men with money clips were particularly excited to rip off a few twenties and stick them in front of my nose. When I said “I only want 5 dollars.” they were insulted and refused to contribute any money at all. Women were less likely than men to give me money, but seemed to get the “joke” immediately. They would often ask me if they could borrow 5 dollars as well, and we exchanged 5 dollar bills. Men watching these transactions showed a heightened level of sexual arousal. After several drinks men were able to tell me their feelings. “It made me feel cheap.” “I realized how much five dollars is worth to me” “I wanted something back for the five dollars.” “You remind me of my ex-wife.” 

The Money Project will continue into next year. All proceeds go to the ASPCA.     


2 thoughts on ““Money, The Last Taboo.” Ongoing Audience Installation Project Receives Funding of 5 dollars From Shell Oil

  1. Tara, thank you so much, but this exchange has to be “live” as in “live theater” as opposed to “dead theater” xx

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