New York Trash Exchange (NYTE), 2010
Trash, mixed media
AC Institute, New York, NY
Rule of exchange: You can take anything at any time if you make and leave something for the city.
The New York Trash Exchange (NYTE) is meant to mimic the New York Stock Exchange, but rather than trading money and debt, the Trash Exchange exchanges landmarks made of trash. Gallery visitors were invited to take any piece of the art during the exhibit as long as they made something to replace it with. A table with some scavenged art supplies was nearby. Participants were asked to fill in a survey if they made an exchange detailing the transaction. If you are interested in crunching the numbers to see what kind of economy developed within NYTE, please let me know.
Most people built landmarks or places within the city they were familiar with; Manhattan gained a much-needed cross town train, and the Manhattan bridge was one of the first landmarks to be created. However, to populate a newly accessible Brooklyn, houses were taken from Harlem. Thus, some patterns of urban development well known to New Yorkers were reproduced within the exhibit.
Overall, people were more interested in leaving things in the exhibit than taking the art. In fact, some people left their exchanged pieces in other parts of the gallery rather than taking them home with them.