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Lava Formation (detail)

Hand-cut personal photo

on found landscape

25.5cm x 22cm

2020

A series of collages on found travel postcards featuring hand-cut teacard images of endangered wildlife and obsolete technologies, photographed against a velvet backdrop then enlarged as pigment prints.

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Ice Armada (detail)

Hand-cut personal photo

on found landscape

25.5cm x 43cm

2020

Image: Claire Haigh

Afterword

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In May of 2018, the UK government//parliament held a consultation on whether or not to cease making 1p and 2p coins. Insert something here about charities.  

 

In May of 2021, Chinese police raided the Apple Daily headquarters in Hong Kong, leading to multiple arrests and the systematic freezing of company accounts and assets, thereby forcing the newspaper to cease all operations. The final digital version of Apple Daily went offline at one minute to midnight on 23 June 2021.

Consider these two incidents as key points in an unfolding series of events that reflect and reveal social notions on value, privilege, and the politics of finance.

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Magdalene Millennium Fountain

Quayside, Cambridge UK

06.09.2018

In the spring of 2018, the UK government held a public consultation on whether or not to cease making 1p and 2p coins.  One of the biggest groups to complain about the loss of pennies were charity organisations, who claimed they received the highest amount of donations in pennies. 

 

At 8:00 on the morning of Saturday, September 8th, 2018, I deposited 100,000 pennies in a disused public fountain owned by Magdalene College, Cambridge. It was publicised that the pennies would be left in the fountain for 48 hours and that any coins found in the fountain at 8:00am the following Monday morning would be donated to the local Cambridge charity Wintercomfort for the Homeless.

 

What happened to the pennies?

 

By 11:00pm of the first evening, all 100,000 of the pennies had been removed. Eye-witnesses describe a 3-hour-long systematic effort led by three men using buckets and bicycles, during which they carried off all 356kg of pennies to an unknown location.  

 

Over the remaining hours of the intervention, people continued to visit the fountain, expecting to find it full of pennies. Upon seeing it barren, many added their own coins to its empty body.  These coins were removed, too.

 

At 8:00 on the morning of September 10th, a total of £1.66 (and €0.02) was collected from the fountain and promptly donated to Wintercomfort. 

 

Several weeks after the intervention, on hearing rumours of the incident, a Cambridge City police officer contacted me while following up on a report filed on evening of September 8th.  The report had been made by the manager of a Sainsbury's near Quayside, who at the time, was concerned about a group of three men who were repeatedly returning to the store with buckets full of pennies to use the Coinstar machine.

 

I declined to file a theft report, ensuring the police that it was a social experiment and, in my opinion, no theft had taken place. 

 

In the time between the intervention and the police contact, news of the penny incident went viral, spanning the globe in a matter of days. Taking a forensic approach, I complied a digital archive of international media coverage from Taiwan, Macau, Cambodia, Vietnam, Turkey, Croatia, Spain, Italy, Poland, Mexico, the Netherlands, India, America, Israel, and the UK. Loosely titled Afterwardthe archive also includes a short video originally posted by the Chinese tabloid newspaper Apple Daily.  Although I’ve not yet produced a statistical analysis, I’m in no doubt that many (if not all) of these clickbait sensationalistic articles generated money for their online publishers - pennies for pennies.

Idle Hour 2021
Idle Hour 2021
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Lava Formation

Pigment print on aluminium

96cm x 135cm

2021

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Wedded Landscape II (Knife-edge Ridge)

Hand-cut personal photo on paper landscape

25.5cm x 22cm

2020

FUTURAMIC UNKNOWN

2020

6 mins.

Animations by Tania Dineen-Parish, Bertie Göttgens, Elizabeth Anne Holmes,

Alison Kennedy, Jane Leahy, Jessica Murphy, Eugene Park, Mel Plumridge,

Nathalie Sakakini, Antonella Santoro, and Mariana Quiroga Londono.

Soundtrack by Will Heasman.