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...
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...
Debt Visualizations

Debt Visualizations

The debt visualization project involves leading participants to imagine their debt as a substance, a thing, or a space. It is a way to witness the impact of economics on the unconscious, specifically the experience of holding, witnessing, or fearing predatory corporate debts. The process itself is essentially a discussion of the participant’s experiences with money or with owing; personal stories or objective thoughts about debt followed by a guided visualization. The material generated through this process is a transcription of a conversation that weaves the conscious and unconscious, intellectual and physical experience of debt. Cassie and other members of...