TWO-FACE VALUE BY VELA PHELAN / by Spirited Magazine


Paper currency or national banknotes usually have legal tender status and are accepted at face value without discounting. National banknotes of Western countries have a history of backing in gold or silver and sometimes both; however, most of today’s national banknotes have no backing in precious metals or commodities and have value only by fiat. Fiat money is money that derives its value from government regulation or law: the initial value of fiat money is established by government decree. The term derives from the Latin fiat (“let it be done”, “it shall be”) . Fiat money’s value is unrelated to the value of any physical quantity.

TWO-FACE VALUE projects the real physical value of fiat money in its truest form. The art, historical content, symbolism of a countries values and heroes is what adorns all paper currency around the world. That art gives fiat money its only physical value. It is said that we accept currency at a face value yet it has two sides. Two faces. The physical form itself displays the deceit and contradictory values of this economy. Gold is gold, silver is silver and diamonds are diamonds but fiat currency is only a historical document of art from the worlds countries and governments.

TWO-FACE VALUE is a live 2 hour mixed video containing over 150 samples of fiat currency by unnamed artists from all over the world and spanning from 1101ad to 2008.

[TWO-FACE VALUE by Vela Phelan is a site-specific installation for our Money Issue Event at Fourth Wall Projects July 29th 8pm - RSVP HERE]