skip to content

Born 1983 in Macclesfield, England. Austin is a researcher at the Royal College of Art, Design Interactions department and co-founder of the FOM design awards.

His work takes an experimental approach towards design; often leading to the development of new methodologies that generate alternative perspectives and challenge the status quo.

Electronic payments track all our personal transactions, log all our spending habits and therefore create an outline of who we are as individuals, leading some people to question our personal freedom within a completely electronic payment system. On the other hand, old cash payments have given criminals an untraceable transaction that can facilitate organized crime.

Is privacy within our finances a matter of personal liberty or simply the harbourer of criminality?

The Crime Pays system is a completely electronic payment system, in which all financial transactions are open. Only paying for the privilege of privacy will ensure a transaction is hidden from public view

The project was commissioned by VOME:

In collaboration with Consult Hyperion:

Crime Pays Presentation (with Q&A) from Austin Houldsworth on Vimeo.

The 'Crime pays' system was presented at the British Computer society in London, by Dr. Don Rogers. Played by Dave Birch, director of Consult Hyperion.

Living within the system

The three photographs below communicate three social changes as a result of implementing this proposed payment system.

A desperate deal

A businessman reluctantly offers a ‘gift’ to seal a desperately needed contract deal.

A pledge to the public

A member of parliament commits her future to open and honest dealings, by destroying her dark cards during a press conference.

An indecisive criminal

A dealer decides which government department he wants to fund.