This is the moment Gill Saunders from the V&A came to our bank and bought a full set of our notes.
What is the Bank Job?
Bank Job is a film and art project in North East London in which a community has come together to work out how to respond to the huge personal debt crisis in Britain. The Guardian called us “The Rebel Bank” - as we first printed our money as art and sold £40,000 worth of it. We used the proceeds to fund (£5000 each) local projects picking up the pieces of our broken financial system - local food bank Eat or Heat, homeless kitchen Pl84U-Al Suffa, youth project The Soul Project and Barn Croft Primary School.
We have used the other £20,000 to buy up and abolish £1m of local high interest debt. Debt gets sold for a fraction of its face value when debtors fail to make repayments. Debts get sold on and on - but debtors get chased for the full amount.
TO BRING THIS STORY TO the BRITISH PUBLIC and MAKE PEOPLE SEE THE INCONSISTENCIES IN ARGUMENTS AROUND DEBT and the economy WE’RE INTRODUCING our HSCB bonds -not only are they beautiful artworks in themselves, but they have a very special yield…
We raised £40,000 from the sale of our banknotes - £20,000 shared between the 4 local causes featured on the notes and £20,000 to buy up and write off £1 million of local payday debt.
Now we want to quite literally explode this debt in a ‘debt in transit’ vehicle on a docklands site and to enable this to happen Hoe Street Central Bank is now issuing bonds.
If you invest in our bond certificates, they will yield:
The bond AS artwork.
A ticket to the explosion.
A fragment OF THE explosion AS COIN (on bonds of £50 and over).
The chance to make history.
In relation to all the above – a GOOD RETURN.
We’re playing with the symbols and structures of finance, drawing attention to and subverting them. We have already imagined what we could do if we were able to print our own money – but why stop there?
Bonds are traditionally a way for one entity to raise money by borrowing from another. They are debt based and deliver return for investors. In times of war, governments issued ‘War Bonds’ calling on citizens and investors to loan them money in order to fund whatever endeavour they were involved with at the time. Government debt is seen as the safest place for investors to put their money, particularly in volatile times with a fragile financial system. At this time of global uncertainty bonds are so popular that some countries are actually charging investors for lending them their money.
We see these as our ‘War Bonds’ – a cry to join us in exploding the conversation around debt and our current economic model.
WHY BIG BANG 2?
Our explosion is called Big Bang 2.
In 1986 a conservative British government led by Thatcher effected the sudden deregulation of the financial markets. The knock on effect of this act of financial engineering and accompanying privatization programme are being lived 3 decades later.
10 years on from the 2008 financial crisis we are in the grips of a national debt crisis. Big Bang 2 is a howl against the current system of inequality - an anarchic, iconoclastic action with both meaning and real world impact.
On Thameside waste ground with the Docklands financial district as backdrop, our ‘debt in transit’ vehicle packed full of documents explodes and with it £1 million of predatory payday debt is written off in a cathartic and symbolic act.
The explosion will be captured on film in slow motion. The debris of exploded parts will be meticulously collected from the site, suspended as exploded view and later dismantled and distributed as artwork/souvenirs of an era in the form of commemorative coins to those who invested in making the debt explosion happen through the purchase of paper bonds.
WHY THE EXPLOSION?
We might have bought £1 million of local payday debt and be writing it off but this is a quiet and almost invisible act – letters go out behind the scenes to those whose debt it is telling them it will no longer be collected.
The Bank Job project is not intended as a quiet act. We have been gaining momentum and increasing press to get the message out there - that we must look at the economic system which is producing rampant inequality and poverty and find ways to change it.
Movements for change need events and drama. We are artists and storytellers and this is our craft. The explosion is a moment and an artwork that focuses on this act of debt abolition and economic liberation. It is a provocation, critique and a call for action for change.
Be part of this. BUY A BOND.