What do each of us bring when artists and members of the Andover community come together? What exchanges are made, and how do we measure value when no money changes hands? These are the questions at the heart of The Bureau of Exchange project, a community pop-up shop at 2b Union St Andover.
Every week at The Bureau of Exchange we feature a new artist with a unique response to the concepts of value and exchange. Visitors to the shop are invited to contribute to what is created in the shop by participating in workshops and activities.
As a participant you have complete freedom to choose how you respond to the artists invitations, and in this way you are co-creating this project. Whether you share a story, have a conversation, or make something when you visit: you add something. You give something, and you gain something. That is the exchange.
For example, the purpose of Laurence’s project “Andover Loves Me Back” is to talk to as many people as possible whilst spinning wool in the street – and for the stories and conversations to inform her finished artwork.
We hope that by removing money from the equation, the variety of exchanges that take place within the shop, however small, are highlighted as valuable. A smile, a story, a conversation… an interaction of any kind contains an element of exchange, and that is why our shop is called ‘The Bureau of Exchange’ !
You can help us understand the value of the exchanges that take place by contributing to “The Board of Exchange”: a the growing display in the corner of the shop.
As project co-ordinators Lydia (curator) and Maija (manager) are paying special attention to how we can best reflect the value of the support we receive from sponsors and volunteers – especially when the exchange between us is not financial but the donation of time, skill, knowledge, or resources.
Sponsors and supporters are also invited to record the value of their contribution – what does it mean to them? What does it cost them? What do they gain?
The theme of alternative models of exchange and value will come into full focus in week two with The Freed Market, a project led by CAS artist Lydia Heath. Activities from Wed 4th – Sat 7th will include a swap shop extravaganza, food waste cafe, skill sharing, and more!
Lydia says: “Our current economic model doesn’t value things that can’t be measured in monetary terms. There’s the saying ‘money makes the world go round’ but really, ‘people make the world go round’.”
People trade in all sorts of unofficial currencies and our overall aim is to highlight these transactions which reveal the full spectrum of value and worth – as an experience, not as a number.
Also coming up this week
Andover coin making workshop
– find out what it takes to make money
Thursday 4th, 1.00pm