As part of our research we’ve been working with people to re-create moments of trade and exchange out of LEGO. Here’s a growing series of GIF’s and the stories behind them.

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“Head shot”

Commodities involved: LEGO heads.

“Moody Megan in the booth is angrily trading heads. I started putting the LEGO together and we had a conversation about the commodification of children in education, then I found the LEGO heads up in the box. I thought about trade and exchange not just being material objects but also intangible products as well as stuff on shelves… and products we don’t even realise are products… we just think that’s the way it is. I like the idea there’s a whole load of heads in a box, and you choose one or have Moody Megan give you one. ‘Next!’

 

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“Buying a Cat”

Commodities involved: The cat, the dogs, a bat, an owl, the scorpion.

Someone is buying an expensive Persian cat with a sack of money. I like the way the cat jumps into the grass and runs away with its owner. I wanted to make something cute. It’s not that

dramatic. ‘I’ve just got a caa…aaat!'”

 

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‘The Private View’

Commodities involved: Fine art, Aspirations, Exclusivity.

We were discussing Frieze Art Fair which prompted the question ‘who is art for?’ “Here the artist is profiting hopefully… The dealer. The gallery.” We wondered whether contemporary conceptual art will survive, and what is the importance of technique. We talked about social practice and who or what profits from that – the politics of social engineering.

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‘The Book House’ (Finsbury Park by the Stroud Green Rd entrance).

Commodities involved: Second hand books, Used magazines, Good will

A circular, alternative economy where one book is exchanged for another in a gifting system based in obligation, that builds relations between humans (Marcel Maus).  The book house is beautifully painted with inspirational quotes on it. Both the people who participate in this exchange and passersby are profiting. “I love books. I’m interested in the fact that it’s a postponed exchange – you don’t see the person you exchange with and you don’t know where your book is going. It relies on trust”.

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“GP what?!”

Commodities involved: Smartphone, GPS  location and identity/geotag data, Image file of the digital photo, Social media statistics, Generated data from online posting.

Here the man takes a smartphone photo of a chimpanzee in the park and posts it on Twitter. We imagined that 50,000 people re-posted this image. Who profits? The identity traders, the marketeers, the geodata traders. “This is a threshold moment between material things. I chose it because I don’t really understand how it works, but it does… because I want to make my own satellite. It made me think more about the transferability of the data, who has it and where does it go?”

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“Oranges”

Commodities involved: oranges, £1 coins, plastic bowls.

“There’s a fruit and veg stall near Finsbury Park. Everything is presented in white plastic bowls. They are all the same size. Each one’s contents cost £1. It’s a simple exchange. You pay. You go. The stall holder can tell you where in the world each bowl’s contents were grown. If you ask.”

 

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