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