M Foster on Fundred
By: M Foster... check out more of Foster's writing at http://fostercollection.blogspot.com/
Closing tonight with a reception from 5-7p.m., Mel Chin's Fundred at University of Memphis's PLA(I)N(E) Gallery offered an interactive laboratory for an ongoing community project. Originally begun in 2009, Chin's habit of creating artwork that benefits the environment and its community through the Fundred project to major American cities in a campaign to raise $300,000,000. The money would then be used to clean lead-ridden areas in New Orleans that had potential to affect children, increasing the risk of learning disabilities and behavioral problems.
To participate, anyone creates a "Fundred", or fake one hundred dollar bill using the template established by Chin. Each Fundred was collected and delivered to congress in an armored truck asking for the "creative capitol" (fake money) to be exchanged for real money to fund the decontamination of soil. The initial campaign ended in 2010 but the project became ongoing, showing up in schools and galleries across the country. It finished its visit in Memphis tonight.
The gallery was transformed into a playful laboratory for Fundred creation, complete with two long tables equipped with Fundred notes and crayons. The walls showcase completed Fundreds and two videos further explain the project and offer testimonials. PLA(I)N(E) essentially became an environment that mirrors the Fundred website (www.fundred.org). The display is simple and straightforward, educational and interactive. The exhibit will not question the aesthetics of fine art, probe philosophical conundrums, answer existential questions, but it will continue to help rid toxic environments of problems in a tangible way. Fundred is an example of act and activism in action.