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WAM Updates are short, informal posts that put the spotlight on small, but exciting, Museum-related projects, such as the addition of a new painting or sculpture to a gallery. They also serve as updates on staff, new services or programs, and other WAM news.

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Monday, August 26, 2019

The Really Really Free Market Comes to Worcester!

Jennifer Teo (second from left) with the organizers of
the Tokyo RRFM
Jennifer Teo of Singapore is here representing the Post-Museum, an artist collective she co-founded with Woon Tien Wei in 2007.  The two had been working as artists for at least a decade at that point, and were growing disillusioned with the Singapore art scene – which they found highly capitalistic, focused on a “top-down” vision of art imposed by government and commercial museums and art galleries.  “We wanted something more open to everyone, more meaningful activities, not just being busy for the sake of being busy.”

When Jennifer and Tien had an opportunity to rent a gallery space, they seized the opportunity to fill a void they saw in the Singapore cultural landscape, creating a relaxed, open space for artists, students and anyone from the larger community interested in joining in or simply socializing.  “The Post-Museum is focused on people creating the culture they want.”  From 2007 to 2011, they ran a combined gallery and studio space for artists, the only such place in Singapore to be entirely self-funded.  Artists and community members were able to gather, socialize and create art outside the constraints and pressures of the institution.

Although the physical space has since closed, the Post-Museum continues to work in Singapore, focused on commissioned projects, art activities, and most importantly community building.  “We wanted to get people to participate, come together, and work to make a better world.  It’s not just about the art, it’s the social part of the art, creating culture from the ground up.”

Singapore Really Really Free Market
One of the most important projects connected with the Post-Museum is the Really Really Free Market, a temporary market session passed on a gift economy, hosted by a horizontally-organized collective.  Effectively, a RRFM is something like a flea market where any and all goods and services are available for free – at the Singapore RRFM, currently one of the longest-running RRFMs in the world, people bring everything from old clothes and books to freshly baked pastries, and offer their knowledge as yoga instructors, tarot card readers, or just lend a listening ear and a free hug.  There is no price on anything, nor even a sense of bartering.  Jennifer explains that the point isn’t to acquire goods or find a deal; it’s about challenging how we assign values to objects and services, and building ties within our community.

All kinds of services can be found at the
Singapore RRFM
“It’s like a picnic,” she explains – the food might be the first thing you notice, but it’s not really what brought everyone there.  “For a time, there is total freedom.  Everyone has a good time, everyone makes friends.”

Jennifer has come to Worcester to organize our first RRFM on September 8, 2019.  Though she brings her expertise from Singapore, as well as various other cities in Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and the UK where she has helped to establish RRFMs, she sees this not as a personal project, but as “seeding” a new chapter – creating a team that will keep the movement going after she has left.

Everyone has something to contribute!
If you’re interested in joining the project – as an organizer or just a volunteer for the day – contact Jennifer Teo at Jennifer@post-museum.org and put WRRFM in your subject line.  You can also meet with Jennifer at any of our upcoming Southeast Asian Artist-In-Residence Open Studios, beginning Wednesday, August 21.

-- Sarah Leveille
Digital Content Specialist
August 26, 2019

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