Paper Money

Contemporary artist spoofs bank notes with her own

The artist known as “Red” produces “Doge to the Moon,” her name for a bank note modeled slightly after a Chinese 1-yuan note.

Images courtesy of Red Hong Yi via YouTube.

The doge of today has nothing to do with Venice, but is rather an 8-year-old internet meme that contains a picture of the breed of dog known as a shiba inu that is accompanied by colored text in broken English.

Dogecoin is a cryptocurrency originally invented by a pair of engineers as a joke, but which has since gained some notoriety both because it has sometimes been used in scams, and because comments made by the entrepreneur Elon Musk recently sent its value into wild fluctuations.

The Star newspaper of Malaysia features Chinese-Malaysian contemporary artist Red Hong Yi, known as Red, in its July 1 issue. She has made the doge into a currency as one of six notes in her Meme Banknotes Series. “Doge to the Moon” is her name for a bank note modeled slightly after a Chinese 1-yuan note in recognition of China being at both the forefront of modern cryptocurrency, as well as the first in history to issue paper money during the Song Dynasty (A.D. 960 to 1279). It is being released as a non-fungible token, meaning a digital asset that represents a real object.

The artist presents them as an example of how “meme assets, cryptocurrencies and NFTs have disrupted industries, including traditional banking and art galleries.”

Counter to central banks

She told The Star that her bank notes offer a counter to how central banks print endless amounts of money and how that leads to inflation. She prints them with an etched copper plate, and as with real money, she can print as much of it as she wants. The difference with her money is that the winning bidder at auction gets all the printed notes along with the printing plate.

The other Meme Banknotes will be redesigned spoofs of the U.S. dollar, euro, British pound, Malaysian ringgit, and Japanese yen. The artist’s studio says they will be up for auction on the Binance NFT Marketplace over the next five months.

An exhibition of the entire series is planned for Kuala Lumpur later this year.

Another work by Red was featured on the cover of the April 26 issue of Time magazine on the subject of climate change.

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