Melanie Gilligan

Crisis in the Credit System

Online
01 October 2008
Crisis in the Credit System is a four-part film piece by Melanie Gilligan. Parodying the ridiculous "team building" exercises large corporations inflict on their employees, Gilligan highlights the absurdities at the heart of the financial crisis. — Charlotte Appleyard, Huffington Post

Crisis in the Credit System is a fictional foray into contemporary global market catastrophe, scripted and directed by artist Melanie Gilligan. A major investment bank runs a brainstorming and role-playing session for its employees, asking them to come up with strategies for coping with today’s dangerous financial climate. While diligently pursuing this task, five individuals inadvertently role-play their way into bizarre make-believe scenarios forming disturbing conclusions about the deeper significance of the credit crisis and its effects beyond the world of finance. 

Making connections between Northern Rock and Das Kapital the short, TV-style episodes fuse philosophy and reportage to reflect the strangeness of our lives today; governed increasingly by abstract exchange and the accumulation of profit. 

Crisis in the Credit System was commissioned and produced by Rehana Zaman in her role as Interaction Associate, a two-year traineeship at Artangel Interaction. It is the result of extensive research and conversations with major hedge fund managers, key financial journalists, economists, bankers and debt activists.  


Image: Currency symbols drawn on A4 paper in black and red marker pen litter the ground. Still from Crisis in the Credit System by Melanie Gilligan, 2008.

Crisis in the Credit System: Episode 1

8 minutes 15 seconds
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Crisis in the Credit System: Episode 1 

Inspiration is when we pull up memories stored in the mind.

In the midst of the financial crisis, the employees congregate in a role-play group and introduce themselves to the circle. An artist is present to help them visualise their thoughts. A basket is passed around with different characters for them to embody; videos, books, articles and props are provided.
 


Crisis in the Credit System: Episode 1 is available to watch on Vimeo and YouTube.

 

Crisis in the Credit System: Episode 2

8 minutes 47 seconds
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Crisis in the Credit System: Episode 2

The mind is an incredible computational and trend-forecasting system, most people think the brain is slower than acompute but that's just the conscious mind actually the unconscious is the most powerful network processor known to man. a traders gut feeling is really a subconscious analysis of very subtle data information.

Souad, a financial journalist in the role-play reports on a cutting-edge senior investment manager at Delphi Capital Management and interviews Ian Newman. 


Crisis in the Credit System: Episode 2 is available to watch on Vimeo and YouTube.

Crisis in the Credit System: Episode 3

8 minutes 20 seconds
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Crisis in the Credit System: Episode 3

The identity of an asset is unimportant: euros, dollars, yen, grain, pork bellies, stocks, energy, it's all the same, what matters is the price.

An employee talks to his therapist about his feelings. Ian Newman has been seriously injured and lies unconscious in hospital. 


Crisis in the Credit System: Episode 3 is available to watch on Vimeo and YouTube.

Crisis in the Credit System: Episode 4

10 minutes 31 seconds
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Crisis in the Credit System: Episode 4

'Money? What could we possibly say that's new?'

The leader of the role-play group steers the role-play in a different direction. The employees participate in a 'breakdown' session - the 'what if?' game. Ian Newman wakes up from his coma. 


Crisis in the Credit System: Episode 4 is available to watch on Vimeo and YouTube.

 

 

Press

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Some of the darkest images the film conjures up now look like reportage, as the crisis spirals beyond where it was at when this eerily diverting number was produced. — Jonathan Jones, The Guardian.

Selected Press

In Melanie Gilligan's Artangel film Crisis in the Credit System, a role-play session by a group of city high-flyers at a country house hotel turns into a nightmare vision of capitalism out of control. Except it ain't no nightmare - some of the darkest images the film conjures up now look like reportage, as the crisis spirals beyond where it was at when this eerily diverting number was produced. — Jonathan Jones, The Guardian, 30 September 2008.

Artangel, the London based curatorial team, which is usually ahead every curve in the business, have comissioned the first work explicitly influenced by the crunch. Crisis in the Credit System is a four-part film piece by Melanie Gilligan. — Charlotte Appleyard, Huffington Post Blog, 16 Novermber 2008.

Crisis in the Credit Systemwas commissioned at a time when few people had much sense of the severity of what was unfolding. Debuting on 1 October 2008, as stock markets plummeted and massive banking concerns declared bankruptcy, the role-playing games and imaginative speculations of the financial analysts it portrays must have squared off with the headlines in unsettling ways. — Jasper Bernes, Mute, 23 June 2015.

 

About Melanie Gilligan

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Melanie Gilligan

Melanie Gilligan was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1979. She has received considerable critical interest over the past year following the presentation of performance works including Prison of Objects for Glasgow International Festival of Contemporary Visual Arts 08, Prairial, Year 215 at Greene Naftali, New York and The Miner’s Object, a storytelling performance at Tate Britain, London. Writing sits at the heart of Melanie’s practice and she is known for her critical contribution to magazines and journals as well as her own artwork.


Image: Still of the employees standing in a circle during a role-playing exercise, taken from the opening scene of Crisis in the Credit System: Episode 1 by Melanie Gilligan, 2008.

Production Credits

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Production Credits

Cast (in order of appearance)

Souad Faress — Souad, Journalist, Therapist, Chef, Patron
Katharine Peachey — Director
Paul Fuller — Ian, Head of Evergain Private Equity
Penelope Mcghie — Penelope, Hedge fund manager
Sartaj Garewal — Sartaj, Hedge fund manager
Mark Rice-Oxley —  Mark, Trader, the Oracle, Waiter
Kerry McKenzie —  Rose the assistant
Paul Richards —  Paul the assistant
Maija Timonen —  Sarah the artist
Dan Mitchell — Associate in the lift
Benedict Seymour — FSA investigator

Crew

Written and Directed by Melanie Gilligan
Producer — Rehana Zaman
Camera Operator — Suzie Lavelle
Production Manager — Tom Dingle
Production sound and sound design — Tom Sedgwick
Additional screenplay and ideas — Benedict Seymour
Camera Assistant — Ben Jones
Production Assistant — Baptiste Bernard
Editors — Melanie Gilligan, Matthew Huston
​Graphics — Tim Booth
'Crisis in the Credit System' (Original music) — Petit Mal
Score — Benedict Seymour
Script and editing advice — David Panos

Read the complete cast and crew credits


Image: Still from Crisis in the Credit System, Episode 3. New York Stock exchange footage provided by the Open University. Copyright: Melanie Gilligan

Credits

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