Irishtimes.com: 1.4B euro house is a work of art

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Summary: From irishtimes.com, Frank Buckley turned to artwork to spark conversations about the euro crisis. Mr Buckley first created mixed-media art using decommissioned banknotes and then made an entire house in which to showcase his work. The house contains a living room, bedroom and bathroom all constructed from bricks of shredded banknotes.

FRANK: Dec. 1, 2011 is when I started it. I suppose we're one month into it now and 12 hours a day every day and no Christmas. I went in and basically I signed a lot of papers and they give me a lot of them. You need licenses to transfer it over to you, because it's money, it's cash. So they supported me and they said yeah.

So I went over to the mint and I collected two trailers full of shredded notes, 1.4 billion Euro. Well now the way to calculate it would be these bricks here. They're six inches by two inches. So these bricks here are 48, 50 thousand, equivalent of notes used in them. So you calculate it as 800 bricks on the front, there's the shredded would be 200 inside. So calculating that and how many bricks I have.

Well it was true, a friend of mine actually ... God rest his soul ... he committed suicide based on the bubble bursting, you know. With his business and things like that, he just took it really bad and he decided to end it. That really upset me.

I had my own difficulties with revenue. I mean, it's buttons though, compared to people we know that have billions and that, but they went and got really heavy with me. They came after me, and they were looking for my car, and my furniture, and they really terrorized the family you know. I just thought wow, for six thousand euro, it was unbelievable.

So I'm sitting in my studio, I'm sitting and have my feet on a box with four million euro of shredded notes, and I just thought, God, this is just paper! There's people committing suicide, there's people ... you know, just the craziness of it. The whole thing, and I felt … there was no debate, there was nothing going on, and he didn't have a say. You know, ordinary people just don't have a say and people like that are getting very frustrated. So I just felt there needs to be a debate on this. There needs to be kids, and schools need to come down and see and get talking about it. Get people in to give talks and things like that. To really kind of get the debate going.

What else does it mean? What does currency mean? What is it? You know currency can't be the hold on everything. It can't be. It's taking people's lives, it's ruining people. People are very nervous, they won't even talk about it today.

It all started off sort of doing a fund-raiser at the exhibition. I have treatment center for drug abuse in Thailand. I built a five-bedroom. I'm not a builder, I don't build, but I built it with pallets actually, and a monk out in Thailand in a monastery gave me his mother's house to have the center in. So I built it, and the whole idea was to try and sell a bit of art.

People there are on the margins. They're kind of like on the streets and methadone, [coke 00:03:00] whatever and they can't get treatment. I have been to all the treatment centers and have worked for them. Get them over and get them ... it's a detox center in the monastery, and then I have an aftercare facility. So all the stuff that I'm doing was centered around getting for [inaudible 00:03:13] to get that together. So I need paintings or anything that I sell is contributing towards getting people over there and getting that set up and going.

I've always known I was quite creative. I wasn't aware how creative I could be. I obviously didn't know I could build anything. So I suppose it's kind of given me a new lease, in the sense that I'll try anything, you know. Around here ... it's therapy.

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