For their ongoing project General Economy, Exquisite Exchange (G.E.E.E.), Cream Co. uses studio-grown seedlings, multi-purpose plant-growing furniture pieces, and handmade signs to transform indoor and outdoor spaces into functional sites for community exchange. Neighbors and colleagues are invited to stop, shop and share at G.E.E.E. where familiar forms of bartering are arrested on behalf of accepting a participant’s declaration of value. Neighborliness becomes an operative currency. Each exquisite site evolves organically, generates an unpredictable array of tangible and intangible things, and reveals embedded surpluses and structures within its hosting community. Things change at G.E.E.E. Indeed, G.E.E.E., itself, becomes one thing and then another, varying by location and, within each location, by seasons and by weeks.
From a post-retail museum gift shop to an exquisite garden center, from a seedling exchange to a rooftop tomato garden, from a pot of basil to a collection of poems, from an abandoned lot to a plant library,G.E.E.E. serves to catalyze an economic ecology sustained by the give and take of neighborly rituals, by the surplus of seasonal gardens and home kitchens, by goodwill, and by an ongoing revelation of community surplus. The crux of the experiment is this: what is the medium by which one thing (a houseplant) becomes another (a cookbook). If cash is no longer the sole medium by which things are exchanged, what will the new medium (or the new media) be? Can neighborly values operate as currency? Can local abundance support a general economy?
Cream Co. is a fluid theory/practice collective committed to art’s capacity to reveal relationships between perception, ephemeral moments and social structures and to art’s ability to collapse boundaries between the individual and the group, art and life, the mind and the senses. G.E.E.E. currently operates at Theaster Gates’ Archive House and Black Cinema House. Since its inception in 2010, G.E.E.E. has facilitated over 10,000 exchanges and abundance gardens in Hyde Park and Omaha. During their HCL Residency, the group plans to establish G.E.E.E. (HQ) within walking distance from HCL, to create an online kit that communities can use to enact G.E.E.E. and to facilitate exchanges with three thousand tomato seedlings.
Find out more at: www.creamco.net