a monument of confusion and shame

Monument of Confusion and Shame (2011 – ongoing)

One five cent coin and 15 cm of transparent tape, in sidewalks of Kallio, Helsinki

How much responsibility has an adult to take of oneself and one´s own life? What is a responsibility of a society, how far does a responsibility of one human being to another extend? When one can pass it to someone else, to another direction than one´s own?

My home is in Kallio, Helsinki. I walk there a lot, to a grocery store, to the library, to work. Lately a man, 30-40 years old, looking like a dormitory resident has been stopping me disturbingly often and asked for money, saying that he hasn´t eaten for three days. I answer to him that I don´t have any cash, I always pay with a card, which is almost true. Once I remember a five cent coin in my pocket and give it to him. He takes the coin but says, so small amount. I don´t know what to answer, I was naively thinking that five cent is more than nothing. But this five cent coin was an insult to him.

Would it had been better not to give him anything that time, too, because actually I wouldn´t had wanted to give it either…