No means yes, OK?

museumnpI’ve heard of pop-up stores before, but not a pop-up museum. The Museum of Non-Participation is an international artists’ collaboration between London and Karachi, curated by Vasl Pakistan and Artangel UK. I was interested to know that in a country of 180 million people, the number of museums in Karachi, a city of 18 million, is just 2, according to this list. 

(As an aside, I’ve always thought South Asia just doesn’t care about its heritage and past enough. I mean in the UK, I’ve seen crumbled walls attract tourists because they are marketed as a part of history – and you have so much more in Asia that goes completely ignored. Sad.)

Karen Mirza and Brad Butler conceived the project when they watched the Pakistan lawyer’s resistance from the a window in the National Art Gallery in Islamabad in 2007.  An excerpt:

They distributed newspapers as packaging for food sold by the tandoor walla’s, presented performance interventions at Sunday Bazaar, and worked with sign writers to produce text banners and wall paintings that demarcated the Museum as a pop-up institution, announcing a new way of moving through and looking at the city: in a city with almost no museums, the city itself becomes the museum.

The museum is open in Bethnal Green in London from 25th September to 25th October 2009. Other details here.

The project intrigues me because I see it as some sort of reverse psychology – non-participation in this case IS participation, and therefore encourages it. It’s why as Amelia says here, CompareTheMeerkat was such a success:

‘Imagine the pitch: “We would like you to fund an advertising campaign that actively promotes another comparison website, not your own. Oh, and by the way, we’d like you to pay us to build that other website. And did we mention that you compare meerkats on this new site? But people need to be able to compare thousands of meerkats for this idea to really work. The main character of the advertising campaign is a meerkat called Aleksandr, who hates your car insurance website and tells everyone how angry your site makes him.’

Of course, it all worked out for!