Time Out New York Magazine
"What's up with that?"
September 5-12, 2002
Issue 362 Pg 6
More Project Info
What's up with that?
Q: What's up with those dollar bills stamped with the pronouncements "I am not terrorized" and "I am not afraid"?
A: David Greg Harth, a 27-year old New York-based artist, began stamping these statements on dollar bills a few days after the September 11 attacks. Harth witnessed the destruction from his Nolita studio that morning, and like so many New Yorkers, he felt a desperate urge to help in some way. After being turned away from overcrowded blood banks and volunteer centers, Harth decided to cretate a rubber stamp that spelled out his reaction to the situation.
"I was angry that the terrorists targeted New York City - my backyard - and I wanted to encourage people not to be afraid, and not to alter their lives, letting the terrorists win," he explains. To circulate his message, he chose a medium that quickly travels far and wide: cash. "I could tell you, 'Hey, I am not terrorized,' but put it on a dollar bill and hundreds of thousands of people will get that message," he says. In order to get as many bills out there as possible, he sent duplicate stamps to friends in other cities. He estimates that about 200,000 bills are currenlty in circulation.
This isn't the first time Harth has used money to communicate with the masses. In 1998, he stamped one-dollar bills with the words I AM AMERICA. The year 2000 inspired I AM NOT A DOLLAR, and the following year: "I AM TRUST". People who find the patriotic intention at odds with the defacement of government property need not fear: What's illegal is rendering currency unfit to be reissued. "Obviously, I don't intend to make the bill unusable," Harth says, "The government should be happy that I'm doing this."