Topical incisiveness of Artangel's Crisis in the Credit System

By Culture24 Staff | 09 February 2009
A still from a film showing people standing opposite each other in a walled garden

Melanie Gilligan's film has proved unexpectedly prophetic, attracting widespread attention. Pic courtesy Artangel

Exhibition: Crisis in the Credit System, Artangel, London

At its conception, Melanie Gilligan probably didn’t envisage Crisis in the Credit System gaining the rapier topicality it has accumulated.

Divided into four (downloadable) parts, the series of ten-minute dramas tells the stories of five employees of large banks who gather to discuss solutions to the economic downturn through role-playing sessions.

It swiftly spirals into a circus of madness as each individual capitalist loses the plot, jabbering gibberish and morphing into machines in what could once have been dismissed as an apocalyptic jest, but now bears closer resemblance to the average news bulletin.

Gilligan consulted and worked with financial sector professionals and funded by alternative art supporters Artangel, the wit of the installation has earned it a warm critical reception.

“Even today, although the crisis is front-page news everywhere, a lot of it is still very arcane and the language is deliberately obscure,” said Ann Pettifor, one of Gilligan’s consultants.

“Using the arts to talk about it is a very honourable thing to try to do.”

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