What is MOOP?
MOOP is a new kind of museum that tells the stories of ordinary people, exploring and considering the magic and mundanity of ordinary life, chronicling hidden narratives and celebrating the ripples we leave behind.
MOOP serves as an antidote to celebrity mania and the pervasive cultural construct of presenting picture perfect versions of our lives. It is also a direct rebellion against an already well established canon of museums celebrating the lives of the elite.
MOOP is a temporary / pop-up museum running for one week during the Brighton Fringe Festival and that will be presenting a collection of exhibitions created by and about ordinary people and a programme of events that includes performances, talks and walking tours.
We are working with members of the public who have collections of everyday objects or documents they want to explore. Through a series of workshops the participants will create an artistic response to their objects, culminating in a temporary pop-up exhibition at the end of May.
These objects could be diaries, love letters, photographs, travel documents... Relics from the past that represent ordinary people whose stories are waiting to be told.
How did it all begin?
In 2016 theatre practitioner and company director Jolie Booth developed her first and critically acclaimed one-woman-show HIP. Producedunder her company name Kriya Arts - a cutting edge arts and production company, HIP explored the life of an ordinary woman named Anne Clarke, whom Jolie had discovered through found objects left behind in a flat she squatted in 2002. The flat had been left empty for over a decade and had become a magical time capsule back to the 1980's and 1970's.
A year later, based on further discoveries made about Anne's life and the city of Brighton they had both inhabited at different times in history, Jolie created an interactive walking tour called the Hip Trip of Brighton: A Psychedelic Wander, which explored Anne's Brighton by sharing with participants the places where the beatniks, hippies and punks had hung out and a little about what they'd got up to.
Lucy Malone came on one of these walking-tours and afterwards in the pub Jolie shared with her an idea she'd been mulling over for some time of creating a Museum of Ordinary People. A permanent space where people who had found or inherited an archive of documents or objects could explore and share that person's story.
This idea resonated with Lucy because she was also creating work along a similar theme. When Lucy's mother passed away suddenly in 2011 Lucy inherited all of her belongings. For five years these remained in boxes, until as her final project / dissertation on her BA in Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College; Lucy opened the boxes and discovered what was in the notebooks, envelopes and lists, in order to assemble an archive of her mother's artistic practice, creating a research project and art piece which combined practice-based research methodologies to look at memory, loss, grief and materiality.
When beginning this work Lucy at first struggled to understand the resonance between the objects she was finding in her mum's collection; for example paint splattered bits of wood or old paint brushes had been loving wrapped up in tissue paper and stored. The eureka moment happened when Lucy discovered a list entitled "Future Work", which included on it all the objects she'd been puzzling over.
Lucy decided that not only would she create an archive of her mother's practice, but she would also complete these works herself and present them. She called this exhibition My Late Mother's Future Work.
When speaking to each other in the pub after the walking tour, back in May 2017, Jolie and Lucy realised there were many parallels between their work and both became excited at the prospect of working together. They began to meet regularly and dream, over hot chocolates, of how to get this exciting project off the ground... Thus this pop-up version of MOOP was born... With much bigger dreams to follow.
What's happened so far?
We've made a call-out, through local press, community spaces and messaging boards, for participants to come forward who have collections of letters, diaries, documents, found objects and random artefacts that tell a story they'd like to explore further, inviting them to take part in a series of free workshops. These workshops will tutor the participants in creative methods to explore, present and exhibit their collections. The exhibitions created will be presented at MOOP in the Brighton Fringe Festival during the last week of May and will serve to chronicle migrations, loss, health issues, great loves, addictions, family ties, uncompromising silences, political injustices and everything in between...
The workshop series is free and involves 6 weeks of classes held on a Tuesday evening (beginning in April) followed by a week long exhibition (29th May - 3rd June). The workshops will be part academic learning (accessible to all) and part creative practice. They will include learning about archives and collections, objects and materiality and about artists that use objects and documents in their work. They will also involve learning artistic practices; to decide how to create an artistic presentation of the collections ready for exhibiting - including photography, creative writing, curation and live-art.
The response to MOOP has been incredible and we already have eight workshop participants signed up ready to take part with incredible collections. We also have a fantastic small team of volunteers who have contacted MOOP offering their services to help deliver the project, just because they love the idea!
We will also be working with several curated exhibitions from artists, archivists and community groups who have objects and stories we think will add to the museum. For example Root Experience will be sharing objects created during their Hidden Project, an extensive counterculture archive from the lifetime's work of local journalist John May, and objects from Brighton's adoption charity PACT.
MOOP has flown with a life of it's own, so it feels very much like we have touched on something vital and that resonates with a wide variety of people.
What we need?
We've registered MOOP with the Brighton Fringe Festival and have secured a great venue, but we're doing all of this for FREE and have paid for everything so far out of our own pockets... And we only have little pockets. With your help we will be able to make sure we've got everything in place to do the project the justice it deserves.
Here's how the money you pledge will be spent:
£1800 - Materials to create a beautiful museum space within The Spire venue in Kemptown
£1000 - Materials for our workshop participants and other displays to use when creating their amazing new exhibitions
£1000 - PR and marketing to make sure everyone knows about our fabulous new museum
£200 - Other costs including documentation and a week's worth of tea and biscuits for all our wonderful volunteers!
Risks and challenges
As event organisers both Jolie Booth and Lucy Malone have strong track records for creating wide-ranging work and engaging with a variety of audiences, nationally and internationally. They've worked with varied creative collaborators and have a wide-ranging portfolio of media interviews, articles, public speaking, campaigning and performances...
Below are the five key challenges we face on our journey with MOOP and what we're going to do to meet them.
1. Creating the Museum
We'll allow sufficient time to develop the museum. We'll draw on the experience of established archive professionals, venues, organisations and mentors. We have a strong project team, an abundance of creativity and so far eight amazing and committed workshop participants.
2. Maintaining health of the project team
As everyone is working on this project for free we feel it is important that we take steps to promote good health and well-being. If necessary we'll make adjustments to workload or distribution of tasks or engage additional help, either on a voluntary or paid basis, as resources allow.
3. Managing any unforeseen problems with the venue or logistics
We already have a great venue in place, the Spire in Kemptown. We have a clear written agreement with the venue. We'll ensure good communication and thorough planning for all elements of the project and will deal with any problems that emerge quickly.
4. Securing the anticipated visitor numbers
We'll promote the project widely and make good use of social media and our established network of MOOP supporters. The exhibition we'll create will be unique and engaging so we expect people will want to talk about it and share it.
5. Managing the budget and cash flow
We'll record all income and expenditure carefully and accurately and review all budget areas regularly. This means we can identify any shortfalls or surpluses and adjust our spending accordingly.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)