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The £100 Shop

The £100 Shop at night. Photo:© Michele Panzeri 2010

Take a stroll down Dalston’s rapidly-changing retail landscape and you’ll see an intriguing addition: a window advertising for a £100 shop.

This is in fact a fictional, albeit fully functional, enterprise, temporarily occupying the window of the Centerprise Bookshop at 136-138 Kingsland High Street, Dalston, and showing only one, eerie set of ‘oblong pie dishes’.

No other relevant  items are on display inside the bookshop – so revealing the fictional nature of the shop. But once customers visit The £100 Shop website, they see that it contains an array of items of virtually no intrinsic value all purchased at local £1 shops, each tagged for sale at £100.

On the £100 Shop website, ‘customers’ can actually purchase the items via Paypal.   But there’s a catch: customers have to read and sign up to a pre-purchase agreement with a baffling number of clauses.  In this pseudo-corporate environment of luxury goods, even £1 items are elevated above trash in the hierarchy of consumerism.

The shop’s founder-proprietors are artist Alberto Duman; photographer Michele Panzeri; writer Alistair Siddons and typography expert Paulus Dreibholz, working as an informal collective.

The founders opted not to provide any single method of interpreting the installation, preferring to instigate a genuine understanding of how consumers of art produce their own meaning.

They describe it as  ‘interactive, urban and transitory’, but it could be seen as taking a shot at the changing nature of the Dalston end of Stoke Newington Road.  It also comments on pop consumerism.  “Who knows why a set of toy dolls from China shouldn’t be offered for sale at £100?  How is it even possible for any item to be worth just £100?” said one passer-by.

Worth visiting the venue at Centerprise (until Sunday 14 November 2010), as well as online.

The £100 Shop
Centerprise Bookshop
136-138 Kingsland High Street
Dalston E8 2NS

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