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Community through Clothing: Social Souvenir

Community through Clothing: Social Souvenir
Arts & Culture
Allison Mooney
  • 12 november 2008

What we wear and own isn’t just about self-expression and individualism; these things broadcasts our affiliations and display our social capital. People pay a lot of money for limited-edition Aston Martins and LV handbags, while others take pride in their Karmaloop hoodie or copy of Tigermilk on vinyl.

Social Souvenir, a new interactive art installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denmark, takes this clothes-as-community concept to the next level.

The concept is based on 300 T-shirts that are exhibited and put on sale at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde, Denmark. Each T-shirt is imprinted with a text fragment inspired by 15 renowned artists represented in the museum’s collection, such as Yoko Ono, Erik Satie, Marcel Duchamp and Per Højholt.

Visitors can buy a T-shirt of their own choice, the only condition being that they share a bit of personal information about themselves, or more precisely: their name and address. When paying for the T-shirt at the museum-shop, the information is automatically mapped in Google Maps, thereby making it possible to see where each T-shirt ends up after leaving the museum.

During the course of the exhibition, the 300 T-shirts will gradually disappear from the physical museum space only to re-appear on the web. Consequently, by buying a T-shirt visitors do not simply get a personal piece of the installation – they also help contribute to its collective development and distribution.

The aim of Social Souvenir is:

1) To re-activate the museum’s collection and make it available to the public in a new way using new forms of media.

2) To create social links between (random) museum visitors, thereby creating a stronger sense of community.

In a way, this is the flip side of the “traceable retail” concept illustrated by Scott Ballum’s Consume®econnection Project. Rather then discovering where your purchases came from before they hit the shelves, it’s finding out where they went after–both hold meaning for the owner.

Social Souvenir is part of the exhibition TOTAL_AKTION – Art in the Landscape of New Media, running through Dec 21 2008 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denmark. Remaining T-shirts will continue to be sold at the museum.
Museum of Contemporary Art / Museet for Samtidskunst
Stændertorvet 3D, Roskilde Denmark
Opening days/hours:
Tuesday – Friday: 11-17 | Saterday – Sunday 12-16
Social Souvenir via TrendCentral

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