The Use of Money
by Mark Wilsher

Group of people standing in rows in empty shopping centre


  • 12 minute 30 second extract from The Use of Money


  • 1Video still from The Use of Money
  • 2Video still from The Use of Money

Video still from The Use of Money


For his film The Use of Money, artist Mark Wilsher invited members of Bristol’s Methodist congregations to stand under the glass roof of Cabot Circus, Bristol arranged in rows echoing the layout of pews at the New Room.

Bristol is home to the New Room, built by the founder of the Methodist movement John Wesley in 1739. Today, the chapel remains active while surrounded by an ever developing shopping precinct. The Use of Money - which takes its title from a speech given by John Wesley - looks at the steadfastness of a community that shares a space, although perhaps not an ideology, with mo dern consumerism.

The work explores the historical open-air sermons of George Whitefield and John Wesley that took place in early 1739 in St Philip's Marsh and Hanham Mount. The re-enactment is a gesture that makes a connection between the differing public spaces of then and now and underlines the divergent values of church and commerce.

"There is a strong link between Methodism and the abolition movement and John Wesley, one of Britain's greatest ever religious leaders and founder of the Methodist Church, was an outspoken critic of the slave trade, having witnessed it fir st hand whilst in America in 1735. The project has enabled the issue of Bristol's role in the slave trade to be looked at from a new and creative perspective and allowed the work of John Wesley and the abolition movement to be highlighted as a positive force"

David Worthington, New Room, Manager


Year 2009
Duration 12 minutes 38 seconds
Medium Single screen video
Original format DVCAM
Screening format MPEG-2 DVD
Aspect ratio 16:9 FHA
Audio Yes
Colour / B&W Colour
Screens 1


Commissioned and produced by Picture This as part of Down at The Bamboo Club. Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Audiences South West.

Screening history:

Picture This Atelier
12 September - 17 October 2009

The New Room, John Wesley's Chapel, Bristol, UK
21 September - 04 October 2009

Related Items:

Down at the Bamboo Club
2008 - 2009

Down at the Bamboo Club project explores legacy through participation, historic sites and events with 3 commissions, an exhibition and a publication.

Mark Wilsher

Mark Wilsher is an artist, curator and writer currently based in Norwich. His practice incorporates, sculpture, drawing and performance.

The Use of Money

Artist Mark Wilsher explores the links between John Wesley's famous speech and Bristol's Cabot Circus development.