Let This Be A Sign is the culmination of work created over the year period following the formation of the first coalition government in 2010. Building on previous work, The Election Project and When Did You Last Cry? , this series examines different ways of representing the effects of recent economic changes on the British landscape. Aptly, Let This Be A Sign opens with two photographs taken in April 2008, at Merrill Lynch bank, during what turned out to be the height of the banking crisis. Between July 2007 and July 2008, Merrill Lynch lost $19.2 billion, or $52 million daily.
A multi-disciplinary approach, using video, text, objects, and digital collage, attempts to describe the overwhelming and absolute scale and gravity of this new economic predicament. The Credit Crunch Lexicon is a text-based work that draws upon the diversity of economic, political, and philosophical terminology that has now become part of our vernacular. Brokers With Hands On Their Faces is a digital collage of compiled images of the single most common gesture attributed to financial workers since 2008; the sign of despair, frustration, or exasperation at a situation in which they are not in control. Other photographs depict the more immediate present visual manifestations of economic changes; from the seemingly omnipresent “sale” signs in shop windows and permanently shuttered high street stores, to the increase in union strikes, students sit-ins, and Occupy Wall Street encampments whose aim was to protest against corporate greed.
Let This Be A Sign was first exhibited at Swiss Cottage Gallery. The exhibition included a selection of placards collected from demonstrations across the UK (2010 – 2012), a pop-up library of economic related texts sourced from the Swiss Cottage Library, and a site-specific piece where a quote from Shelley’s The Masque of Anarchy was installed in the window of the Swiss Cottage Library, which houses the gallery. Adding a collaborative element to the exhibition, visitors to the gallery were able to share their experiences of the current recession and its effects by leaving a message on the Public Wall and via twitter using the hashtag #LetThisBeASign (displayed real-time on a computer screen).
The work was subsequently included in the group exhibition, Show Me The Money: The Image of Finance 1700 to the Present, which toured to the National Gallery for Contemporary Art, John Hansard Gallery, and The People’s History Museum.
‘This Is A Sign’ was an associated newspaper publication produced for the project, designed by Fuel. More here.
View installation shots here
Contact sheet of photographic plates (pdf)
Financial Times Weekend Magazine tearsheet, April 2012 (pdf)
British Journal of Photography tearsheet, June 2012 (pdf)
Essay by Alistair Robinson from the book Show Me The Money, published by Manchester University Press, 2014 (pdf)