Common

Untitled002

Hayley Newman

2013

Book, 13 x 19.5 cm, 96 p, language: English, publisher: Copy Press, ISBN: 978-0-9553792-6-0.
Materials: ink, paper

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. B 2025/875).

Literary synopsis *Common* was written in the City of London over the summer of 2011, immediately before the occupy movement erupted. The novella documents a crash in global markets caused by the downgrading of American debt, turbulence in the Eurozone and protests/riots that started in London before spreading across Britain. Written as Self-Appointed Artist-in-Residence in the City of London, events in Common take place over a day: beginning at sunrise and ending at midnight. Its main protagonist is an artist (Newman) who, on witnessing an injustice in the City of London, cries ‘white-hot tears’ before appointing herself as Artist-in-Residence in the Square Mile. The book combines biography with journalistic writing and fantastical imaginings. Footnotes run through the text, mimicking the rolling news on TV screens seen in lobbies throughout the City. It is in these footnotes that the politics of the work are delivered, and the City of London is examined. There are many performances in the book, which documents a short performance and an artistic intervention, alongside the performance of traders at the London Metal Exchange. Money gets to perform in a short play, while the performance of markets and bankers is represented in the two acts, Bonus the Banker Clown and Boom and Bust who perform in the Crisis Cabaret. *Common* is a metaphor for collapse (social, environmental and economic). In the book Newman links corporations in the City of London to the destruction of the global commons, climate change and the current social crisis. Relation of the novel to the artist’s practice Hayley Newman began working in the City of London in 2009, when writer Andrea Mason and she held three *Capitalists Anonymous* meetings on the steps of the Royal Exchange. Originally set up for bankers in the wake of the economic crash, *Capitalists Anonymous* was a therapeutic intervention in the City of London. Two artworks have come out of *Common*; others exist only in the book. While writing *Common* Newman made a performance in which she embedded herself in the middle of crowds of people, as they emerged from the underground station, on their way to work. This performance is documented in the chapter *Frottage in the City*. In another chapter *Daylight Rubbery*, she becomes a bank rubber and makes rubbings of the fronts of banks. After writing the book she made the artwork *Histoire Economique* (2013) a series of rubbings of the fronts of banks on envelopes, a palimpsest of Max Ernst’s *Histoire Naturelle* (1926). In 2013 Hayley Newman was invited to perform the chapter *Crisis Cabaret* at the Barbican Theatre. In this adaptation she introduced herself as Self-Appointed Artist-in-Residence in the City of London before inviting an audience member onstage to perform the role of *Bonus the Banker Clown*. In a narrative diversion from the book *Bonus* was followed by an all-female dance troupe called *Loose Change*, who danced with giant riot-shield sized pennies (originally made by artist Cat Phillips for her interactive art-work *Small Change*, which took place at the anti-cuts demo *March for the Alternative*, in 2011). [Novel website](http://www.copypress.co.uk/index/common/)

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