A house made of €1 billion worth of shredded Irish bank notes is quickly becoming a tourist attraction in the Smithfield area of Dublin. The house’s creator, artist Frank Buckley, has decided to turn his home into a museum after the public displayed both their interest and intrigue.
The Guardian reports on the social statement that Buckley created in his ground-floor flat that he now lives in, ironically, rent-free. Irish artist Buckley was forced to take an apartment when his property in Wicklow went into negative equity. He says the landlord of his new Dublin flat was “tickled” by Buckley’s €1 billion idea.
Though it wasn’t originally intended to be a museum, the decorated house is now becoming a popular spot of visitation in Dublin. In one of the windows of Buckley’s flat, visitors and passersby can see a gravestone that watches over the “burial lawn.”
Explains Buckley, "I went up to Glasnevin cemetery and asked for a headstone to bury Irish national sovereignty in 2010. I think we killed it. So personally I wanted to bury the bad euro."
Buckley said that visitors inside the house will see “blue-white pebbledash on the wall that at first they won't really understand. But their curiosity will be answered when I tell them this represents more than €1bn that are now just worth bricks. They'll be in the most expensive house in the world and I live in it for free."
The shredded bank notes were given to Buckley from the Ireland’s central bank.
Perhaps one of the most humorous installations in the apartment-turned-museum is what Buckley refers to as the “Bertie Bowl,” a toilet bowl wrapped entirely in decommissioned Euro notes. Buckley uses the ‘Bertie Bowl’ everyday.
Buckley explained "When I was sitting on it one day a lot of thoughts were flashing around in my head like 'flushing money down the toilet' which is exactly what this society was doing in the so-called boom. Then it dawned on me that our ex-leader Bertie Ahern … had grandiose plans to build a national soccer-only stadium that in the end never got off the ground. It was nicknamed the Bertie Bowl that was never built. Now we have a piece called the Bertie Bowl in memory of those wasted years and that folly."
When asked if Ahern was invited to the museum, Buckley replied "I really don't think he would see the irony of it."
Robert Ballagh, the artist who designed the last Irish banknotes before the Euro was introduced, said that Buckley’s home “asks important questions of us, of the nature of our society, of our obsession with money and property, and how that has brought us to the state we are in.”
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