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Real Change full nickel.jpg

Real Change (2022)

27" x 10" x 4"

Steel, glass coin bank jar, empty soda can, paper, dime, nickel, magnets, string, label, glue

Two incompatible yet "equivalent" registers are weighed against each other in value. When I was in elementary school, a white American social worker advised my Korean mother to reward me with change (coins) for good behavior, rather than hit to punish me. I remember thinking the social worker did not understand that my family could not waste nickels we earned from collecting cans on the street on children. (Pictured is our first apartment when we moved to the US in the 1980s; also pictured is me as an “O” in an elementary school alphabet play, referencing my acculturation or assimilation process.)  

Detail views (click to enlarge):

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