Debt, Bad Spelling: An Adult Problem–> a kids book

Debt, Bad Spelling: An Adult Problem–> a kids book

Why is there a silent B in debt? Where is debt located? And if I can’t see it, is it still there? Maybe debt is a tall tale that is told by bankers, the mayor, the governor and other decision-makers in the city of Chicago as an excuse to give up hope and drain all the resources out of the Chicago Public School system. This story time revolves around a magical children’s book co-written by artist Cassie Thornton and CPS educator Elizabeth Coughlan about debt—a monster that is made by adults but best understood by children. This book was produced for children...
“Whatever it costs to defend our security and whatever it costs to defend our freedom… we owe it to our children”

“Whatever it costs to defend our security and whatever it costs to defend our freedom… we owe it to our children”

Not only did Wall Street cause the 2008 financial crisis and get off scot free, their regime of debt has ruined lives and destroyed communities. It’s also poisoned the art world and overseen a shift towards precarious employment and life in the arts and cultural sector and beyond.  Isn’t it time for revenge? In her contribution to New York’s Flux Factory’s Debt Positive exhibition in June of 2016, Thornton sought to actualize this dream by creating a series of cursed watercolor paintings of holes in walls created by meteors that were placed in financial offices throughout the United States, opening...
Give Me Cred! (Auxiliary Credit Reporting Bureau)

Give Me Cred! (Auxiliary Credit Reporting Bureau)

From 2012 to the present the FED has provided alternative credit reports for people who have a bad credit score and are in need of housing or a job. This intervention in the dehumanizing credit industry challenges the dominance of the numerical and algorithmic credit reporting systems (FICO scores) that sort and constrain people’s lives and make them feel like special little failures. These narrative credit reports, typically one page long, are based on in-depth interviews about the story behind a person’s conventional credit report and resume. By simply asking what the story was behind why the bills went unpaid,...
Pushing Debt out of the Unconscious, a ritual

Pushing Debt out of the Unconscious, a ritual

Text from A Soft Spot in a Hard Place, an edited book by Zachary Gough. I was at a Strike Debt meeting in New York in the summer of 2012 when two women came up to me and said, “Are you the Cassie that makes art about debt?” And I said, “Yeah.” And they said, “We’ve been looking for you.” A different kind of debt collection. These two women were Laurel Ptak and Leigh Claire La Barge, curators of To Have and to Owe. After several meetings with the duo, I realized that this project was more than symbolic. Laurel was...
No Justice No Service

No Justice No Service

This one day festival took place at the LAB in San Francisco’s Mission District, a former unemployment office.  “No Justice No Service took several forms as part demonstration, performance, teach in, and even yoga studio to highlight the fight for adjunct unionization. The event brought people from various struggles together in an effort to continue engagement and foster connection between labor unions, fight for 15, #blm/black.seed, income inequality, student debt and more. The connections fostered have continued between the various groups and constituencies via relationship building and exploring how these struggles are interconnected. “ -Irina Contreras, Artist, School and Community...
The FED Beauty Salon

The FED Beauty Salon

In 2012 the FED BEAUTY SALON was hosted by Ictus Gallery, a storefront in the Mission, where artists offered experimental beauty services to confront inequity and suffering. The experimental and subversive range of beauty services offered by the artists were developed to expose, discuss, and communally exorcise inner damage caused by the financialization of everything– and while nothing was free, nothing costed money. Resident Beauticians helped clients conceptualize, vocalize, externalize ‘how they got screwed’ in a free market, offering the opportunity for clients to unbury and beautify suffering that is physical, mental, or emotional. Since its original home at Ictus Gallery, it has also been opened on campus...
Affordable Luxury SF Real Estate

Affordable Luxury SF Real Estate

Very excited to be a part of an exhibition at ProArts in Oakland about Home this summer. As a Bay Area resident with no address, it is a very potent time for me to think about home. (I’m not homeless, but I’m not paying rent anywhere.) Last summer I was walking around downtown SF with Aurora Crispin, when we passed the Salesforce Tower construction site. We asked the construction workers if they would give us some of what they were digging up. Like the real SF below the new SF. They told us to get a truck because they hit...