From April to June 2011, This Is Collective worked with local traders C&N Meats, Sweet Temptations, C&T Petfoods, New Dandelion and Sandyz to develop a series of installations inspired by The Art of Trade.
From the conversation and banter that Michael Martin and his staff engage in with customers in C&N Meats, to the elaborate window displays of Sandyz, each of the traders featured in Trading Spaces ‘draw’ in customers in creative ways.
This Is Collective literally ‘set up shop’ in Geoff Buckley’s premises, The New Dandelion on Meath St, and created a studio space upstairs. This immersion in the area proved crucial in the collaborative process. The artists gained deep insights into five distinct artisan trades by spending time in each space observing and conversing with the traders and their customers. Traders also contributed through sketchbooks and photography and participated in group workshops. We also installed white boards in their shops, asking customers to draw/write what “drew” them into the shop, which proved very successful in understanding the traders’ connection with their customers. This input was a vital part of the concepts of the installations and their subsequent creation.
This Is Collective took specific elements of trade from each business and amplified them to create a series of installations in a temporary ‘pop-up shop’, located in The New Dandelion Building, where the public were invited to engage in a ‘trade of experience’ – an exchange based not on currency, but on participation and interaction with the installations.