Credit Crunch Lexicon

The Credit Crunch Lexicon was a site-specific work, first installed at Swiss Cottage Gallery in London, June 2012, as part of the exhibition Let This Be A Sign. It was subsequently re-created for the group exhibition Show Me The Money: The Image of Finance 1700 to the present, which was  installed at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in Sunderland (June – August 2014) and John Hansard Gallery in Southampton (October – November 2014).

The 2008 economic crisis moved terminology and jargon from the business pages on to the front pages of our newspapers, radios and TV sets; these words have become part of our everyday language. Arranged alphabetically to create a form of concrete poetry, the words and phrases scrutinize the miasma of rhetoric, hyperbole and sometimes, contradictory terms used by politicians, economists, protesters and journalists to describe the economic downturn.

The Credit Crunch Lexicon was formed over a period of two years, during which time the words, phrases, and terminologies that would ultimately comprise it were sourced. Political speeches, newspaper headlines, protest poster slogan, and economic reports were scoured with the aim of extracting the written phrases that, when sequenced alphabetically, would produce what Alistair Robinson has called, “a monumental collage of twenty-first century news about the financial crisis.” Starting with A CRISIS IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE and ending with ZEROFLATION, this vast, mural-sized library contained a total of 5,841 words that reference the United Kingdom’s economic situation from 2007 to 2012.

A version of the lexicon has also been reproduced using an LED Scrolling Text Moving Message Sign Board, similar to those traditionally found on bank trading floors.


The Credit Crunch Lexicon list of words & phrases (pdf)

Essay by Alistair Robinson from the book Show Me The Money, published by Manchester University Press, 2014 (pdf)

Selection of free postcards featuring abstracts from The Credit Crunch Lexicon (link)