Welcome to the Museum of Contemporary Commodities

The Museum of Contemporary Commodities (MoCC) is neither a building nor a permanent collection of stuff – it’s an invitation. To consider every shop, online store and warehouse full of stuff as if it were a museum, and all the things in it part of our collective future heritage. What do we mean by things or stuff? Everything that you can buy in today’s society. The full range of contemporary commodities available to consume.

With retail driving the development of real-time big data processes, how and what we trade, exchange and consume and where we do it, is affecting both the worlds we live in, and those we dream of making – in ways that seem increasingly far beyond our knowledge or control. Presented as a series of lively and challenging digital ‘hacktivist’ activities in physically located and online spaces, MoCC creates conversations between people and things that encourage deeper investigation of the deep links between data, trade, place and values that shape our everyday lives.

Could you imagine yourself as this museum’s curator with the power to choose what is displayed and how? Will you work with us to trace and interpret the provenance and value of these things and how they connect people and places close by or far away? Would you like to think more about who or what is responsible for trade (in)justices in these systems, and who or what might contribute to changing them? Welcome to MoCC!

MoCC was co-founded by artist-researcher Paula Crutchlow from Blind Ditch and Cultural Geographer Ian Cook from Followthethings.com and University of Exeter. The project is being developed in partnership with Furtherfield and a growing number of artists, academics, technologists and members of the public. You can join us by contributing to our online collection, visiting our shop-gallery, or taking part in a MoCC talk or walkshop activity. Find out more about our curatorial policy or watch the project videos to find out about how the project developed.

The MoCC project continues into 2018. If you are interested in hosting MoCC in your town or venue don’t hesitate to contact us.

Video

Who we are?

People who buy things, borrow things, use things, make things, mend things, keep things, display things, break things, dispose of things, talk about things, worry about things, wonder about things, value things, connect things.

What we do?

Imagine commodities as our future heritage, interpret and group them in categories chosen by our curators according to their values.

Where we do it?

At the moment we’re preparing for a re-valuing of commodity culture in Kensington, London. But we also work in Exeter, Devon, UK… and in our daily life activities and here on this site, all the time.
Identifying 84%
Connecting 91%
Displaying 85%
Valuing 81%

Our Current Team

Paula Crutchlow
Paula CrutchlowCo-founder and artist researcher
Paula is an independent artist and performance maker who co-authors and directs live events across a variety of forms. Her work with artist collective Blind Ditch creates collaborative and unexpected happenings in everyday spaces; often using participatory approaches and digital medias to engage varied publics as active spectators and citizen artists in the becoming of the event. She first worked with Furtherfield in 2010 on the development of make-shift, a networked performance series devised with Helen Varley Jamieson. Paula was an Associate Lecturer in Theatre at Dartington College of Arts, Devon 2001-10, is currently Artistic Adviser for Adverse Camber, and an ESRC funded PhD Researcher in Critical Human Geography at the University of Exeter.
blindditch.org
Ian Cook
Ian CookCo-founder and academic researcher
Ian is a Professor of Geography at the University of Exeter. He is a cultural geographer of trade, and researches ways in which artists, filmmakers, activists and others try to encourage consumers to appreciate the work undertaken (and hardships often experienced) by the people who make the things we buy. With students and interns, he has researched and brought together over 60 examples of this work on the spoof ‘shopping’ website followthethings.com which opened in October 2011. From 2014-2016, he was the Education and Resources Lead for Fashion Revolution which, on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in April 2013, asks consumers worldwide to ask brands ‘who made my clothes?’ Ian’s involvement in MoCC is his first attempt to move beyond studying others’ finished work to co-creating new ‘follow the thing’ work from the start.
University of Exeter
followthethings.com
Carlos Armendariz
Carlos ArmendarizWorkshop facilitator MoCC Free Market and Furtherfield Artist in Residence
Carlos worked with us whilst a visual artist, computer scientist and Media Art & Technology PhD candidate at Queen Mary University London. His research with the cognitive science department looks into ideas from affect theory and phenomenology in an attempt to get closer to a truly embodied perspective on cognition. He studied photographic arts and has worked with photography, video and installation, in the gallery and the street. Before his artistic deviation he worked as external researcher with the algorithms and bioinformatics team at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley (California). carlosarmendariz.com
Alison Ballard
Alison BallardProducer, London
Alison Ballard is a cross-disciplinary artist whose work examines notions of power and presentations of truth through a range of films, installations and site-specific performances. She specifically seeks to produce works that lie between disciplines in order to research ways in which different mediums share ideology, presentation and audience experience.
alisonballard.com
Benjamin J Borley
Benjamin J BorleyPhotographer and filmmaker
Benjamin’s work has been shown at various venues around the world including the Photographer’s Gallery, London and the Museum of Modern Art, New York as well as appearing in the online collections of Vogue Italia and the Walker Arts Centre, Texas.
Benjamin J Borley
Ruth CatlowFurtherfield co-founder and artistic director
Ruth works and plays with emancipatory network cultures, practices and poetics in arts, technology and social change. She involves herself with art experiments, research and organisational developments, to engender shared visions and new infrastructures. She is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Furtherfield online community for arts, technology and social change since 1997, now also a public gallery in the heart of Finsbury Park, North London.
furtherfield.org
Play Your Place
Charlie Coldfield
Charlie ColdfieldMoCC Invigilator
Charlie Coldfield is an actor who does a bit of writing, directing and producing on the side. Originally from the South East, he now lives in Devon with his family and cat Roddas. As well as working freelance in theatre and film he is a creative partner with production company Wandering Tiger and an almost original member of Nuts and Volts Theatre. This is his first job in a museum.
Jake Elwes
Jake ElwesMoCC Invigilator
Jake is an artist and technologist interested in the technical and philosophical issues surrounding artificial intelligence and data. He recently graduated in Fine Art Media from Slade School of Art. In 2017 he showed work at the Centre for the Future of Intelligence (Cambridge) & Google Campus. Upcoming shows include Bloomberg New Contemporaries and Ars Electronica. Jake has become interested in virtual commodities, recently purchasing 3,100,000 Satoshis (3% of one bitcoin) – so far it has gone down in value.
Gareth Foote
Gareth FooteTechnologist and educator
Gareth is programmer, creative technologist and educator. His practice involves critical reflection on computational culture and experimenting with technology and flows of power. Gareth worked with MoCC to develop the online collection and initial doll hack, and has contributed essential critical thinking to the project. He has created projects and artworks involving critical and introspective software, Artificial Intelligence chatbots, generative poetry and suction mechanisms. His work is pedagogically driven and informed by workshops facilitated for young children, students and teachers in the creative applications of free and open source hardware and software platform
garethfoote.co.uk
Chiara Garbellotto
Chiara GarbellottoProduction assistant MoCC Free Market and Furtherfield work placement
Chiara worked with MoCC whilst she was a postgraduate student of Museum Studies at the University of Westminster. In 2012, she gained a Masters degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Bologna, with a dissertation in Museum Anthropology. In 2011, she undertook a four month ethnographic research project in the London based Wellcome Collection focused on verbal and non verbal processes of meaning construction during guided tours. She is now developing her research on situated learning in different contexts, and on participatory events within museums and galleries through doctoral study in Berlin.
Alice Goodbrook
Alice GoodbrookCommodity Consultant
Alice read BA Geography at the University of Exeter, graduating in 2011 before undertaking a research internship at followthethings.com. With a passion for renewables and working out how we can live within the earth limits, she went on to study a Masters in Leadership for Sustainable Development at Forum for the Future. Studying ‘Geographies of Material Culture’ with Dr Ian Cook highlighted the social webs tied up in the things around us. It made her realise the huge social and environment complexity of the sustainability challenge ahead. She currently work for Innovate UK who help to fund early stage energy technology.
Joe Hancock
Joe HancockAssociate Producer, Exeter
Joe is a Director, Performer and Project Manager, working in theatre and community arts. He has worked with The European Theatre Company, Quantum Theatre for Science, Manchester University, The University of Mikkeli in Finland, The New Zealand Ballet, The New Zealand International Arts Festival, Les Arts Sauts and Wildworks. Most recently, with Burn the Curtain, he has developed ‘Company of Wolves’ with the Forestry Commission, and ‘Desperately Seeking Shakespeare’ with The Barbican Centre and Museum of London.
Burn the Curtain

Jennifer Hart
Jennifer HartCommodity Consultant
Graduating from the University of Exeter in 2014, Jenny is one of the most recent graduates working as a Commodity Consultant for MoCC. Her love and interest for production ethics and tracing the social lives of commodities was fueled by her studying the module ‘Geographies of Material Culture’ with Dr Ian Cook. Her creative yet academic flare led to great success in the module, and her consequently undertaking a research internship at followthethings.com, where she published her Pacemaker project and presented it at Brown University’s international BIARI conference in 2014. Jenny has just finished her placement working as an Economic Development Officer, and is currently planning a trip to travel around Europe.
Elizabeth Hobson
Elizabeth HobsonCommodity Consultant
Graduating from the University of Exeter in 2016 in BA Geography, Lizzie is one of the most recent graduates working as a Commodity Consultant for MoCC. Her love for all things ‘thing’ related, their lively stories, and their ethics was set in motion after reading Leanne Shapton’s Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry, as part of studying Associate Professor Ian Cook’s ‘Geographies of Material Culture’ module. Lizzie is currently planning trips to Singapore and Australia before hoping to continue her studies towards a PhD.
Chris Hunt
Chris HuntCreative Technologist
Chris Hunt is a Creative Technologist and builder of rather cool things. He re-hacked our MoCC Guide Mikayla Doll to give her AI. He is part of the i-DAT Research Collective at Plymouth University and runs his own technology consultancy – Controlled Frenzy. Chris is constantly exploring new technologies through engaging, audience-focussed prototypes, products and installations.
Gabrielle King
Gabrielle KingCommodity Consultant
Gabrielle has just completed her degree in Geography at the University of Exeter. Her love of (and potential obsession with) global health research was partly inspired by Ian Cook’s Material Culture module which led to her part in MoCC. She has also not been able to buy or sell something without looking where it came from since (apologies M&S customers!!).
Daisy Livingston
Daisy LivingstonCommodity Consultant
Daisy graduated from the University Exeter in 2011. Studying ‘Geographies of Material Culture’ with Dr Ian Cook sparked her interest in the hidden lives of commodities, and she undertook a research internship at followthethings.com. Since graduating Daisy has continued to be involved, volunteering on Fashion Revolution day and most recently working as a Commodity Consultant for MoCC. Having worked in market research and the charity sector, Daisy is currently training to be a primary school teacher with Teach First. She hopes to bring her curiosity about commodities into the class room in September.
Olga MassanetDesigner
Olga carries out practical and theoretical research in the field of media arts. She works as a co-editor with Furtherfield.org while she pursues a practice-based PhD at Goldsmiths. Her research project looks into assemblages of sunlight, human bodies and machines. She is particularly interested on subtle modes of communication across bodies of radically different nature. She looks at the ways in which electronic circuits, computational systems, endocrine processes and neurological happenings intermingle. The tools she develops are speculations about the undercurrents of body communication.
olgapanades.com
Alison Powell
Alison PowellData activist and researcher
Alison is an Assistant Professor in Media and Communications at the London School of Economics, researching open source culture, information policy, and civic communications and data activism. She looks at how the actions of hackers, activists and advocates influence the structure, function, and policy environment of our communications environment, and how our ability to exercise our rights to communicate changes in a media space transformed by an orientation towards data and sensor technology.
London School of Economics
alisonpowell.ca

Becky Rich
Becky RichMoCC Invigilator
Becky is an actress and drama practitioner living in sleepy and sunny Starcross. She works predominantly with young people, particularly those who are more vulnerable as well as runs drama clubs for adults with learning disabilities. Becky is currently in two web series as well as two local feature films and a touring performance of Othello. She loves animals and Disney.

When Disney email you a 15% discount for your Birthday…what can you do, apart from buy a mug of the character that makes you cry the most in all of the Disney films? (and who loves the environment as much as you!) This charming mug of Wall.E came paired with Eve – his robot girlfriend of course. Becky uses Wall.E for drinks from green tea to hot chocolate. And yes, she uses it every day and grins to herself whilst doing it.

Kerrie Seymour
Kerrie SeymourMoCC Invigilator
Kerrie is a self employed performer, visual artist, maker, director, trainer, community practitioner and project manager based in the South West since 1998. She has a strong background in facilitating arts projects in residential care settings, social work support services, mental health services, libraries, museums, heritage sites, and adult education services. Kerrie works extensively with community groups, arts venues and schools to create fresh, innovative and exciting work that can motivate, inspire and and engage and create new opportunities for participants.
Emmanuel Spinelli
Emmanuel SpinelliSound Designer
Emmanuel Spinelli is a sound artist and music lecturer. He has been involved in electro-acoustic composition, live electronics and free improvisation since 1998. His work has been presented around Europe, the US and Canada, and Footsteps in the Wind, a soundscape study of Krakow and Auschwitz, won the C.C.P. and the George Blunden travel awards. Spinelli is currently completing a PhD in Sonic Arts at Goldsmiths. Through the years, he has developed an interest in issues related to soundscape transformation, psycho-geographies, manipulations of historical data, sonic remains and memory, particularly in relation to post-war Europe. His research revolves around the notion of acoustic phenotypology, that is to say the perception of individual identities through sound. All his work, at one level or another, explores human presence and history, through the cognition of the disembodied voice and the sonic environment.
Emmanuel Spinelli
Amelia Suchcicka
Amelia SuchcickaWorkshop assistant MoCC Free Market and Furtherfield work placement
Amelia worked with us whilst a postgraduate student of Art and Visual Culture at the University of Westminster. In 2011, she graduated in Cultural Studies at University of Warsaw. She has also studied History of Art at Universidad Complutense de Madrird. At the moment she is interested in how non-western cultures are represented in cultural institutions in Europe.