Artist at East Festival introduces an ice cream currency

9 Mar , 2009  


The City may be fretting about sterling’s slide against the dollar, but that’s no worry for Mexican artist Minerva Cuevas.

Ms Cuevas has introduced a new currency to the streets of Shoreditch – the S.COOP – which is being circulated among traders in Petticoat Lane market as an interactive art project funded by East Festival.

Participating market traders are giving customers the option to take their change in S.COOPs, with the exchange rate set at one S.COOP to £1.20.

A S.COOP will then buy precisely what it suggests – a serving of ice cream from Ms Cuevas’ shop-cum-exhibition at 26 Toynbee Street.

Each coin is emblazoned with the provocative slogan: “The right to rebellion is sacred.”


Bérénice Salious, curator of the show, said the idea was to explore a cooperative economic system at a time when global markets are in meltdown.

She said: “We’re here in Hackney to see if we can encourage business people to look at a different way of interacting.

“What we want to do is create a parallel economic system with cooperative values.”

Stallholders have been given S.COOPs free of charge to encourage them to take part in the project.

Effectively, they pocket £1.20 every time they give customers a S.COOP as change rather than cash.


But despite the incentive Ms Bérénice said only a handful had signed up.

“It’s hard to explain to people sometimes,” she said.

One passer-by looked at the trays of honey and ginger, lemon curd and rum and raisin ice cream before being told he would have to spend money at a Petticoat Lane stall first to obtain the necessary S.COOPs.

“Maybe I’ll come back another day,” he said.

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1 Response

  1. […] celebrate, censure and explore their corner of London during the last week. News editor Oliver Shah buys into a unique, co-op economy at Petticoat Lane market while arts correspondent Morwenna Coniam gets cosy with Birds of a Feather […]

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