Exclusive Interview with Anonymouse – The Creators of The Smallest Bookstore in the World

By Kai Teo
Photo credits: Anonymouse

 Frankie & Benjy's Books and Teatro Reggiano in Malmö, Sweden

Frankie & Benjy's Books and Teatro Reggiano in Malmö, Sweden

Move aside humans, the Mouse is taking over

The super secret artist group Anonymouse has been making mad news headlines all around the human planet with the grand opening of their mousey bookstores, cafés, theatres, gas stations, antique shops, textile shops and even an amusement park. 

The dangerous idea of taking back the streets as a defiant act of anti-establishment has driven the group underground into the shadows of Malmö, Sweden. They have since set up shop all around the city and even in Borås in an attempt to bring joy back into the human world. Their tiny takeovers have earned them a worldwide cult status on Instagram, and even landed the team a prestigious cultural grant from Malmö's city council.

To give you a better insight of their project, Buddha Mag spoke to them about their incredible works of art.

 Tjoffsans Tivoli in Malmö

Tjoffsans Tivoli in Malmö

First, what does mmx stand for? I guess many of your fans are wondering as well.

MMX is the airport code for Malmö. We wanted to show that we were Malmö-based without actually using ö and thought it looked okay. So far very few people has actually picked up on that. :)

We all love the little stories behind every creation as they immediately take us straight into your whimsical, tiny world. It seems that they’re bringing us to a mini time machine back to 1800s France / Italy. Is that where you base your scenes on?

Well, when constructing the scenes we try to look for things that give an inviting look. We're not sure if we would classify it as 1800's all the time (although the antique store in Borås was undeniably Jugend). But we do want to bring some "old world charm" into the concrete of modern Swedish cities.

What was the hardest thing you had to create so far? How long does it usually take you to create a shop?

It's hard to define what's hardest. These things take time, but it's not necessarily hard. The shops get more and more advanced as each scene progresses. So "the latest" is always the hardest. 

Last time, when we did amongst others, a two-storey shop with ladders and stairs and a shopfront where you (partly) see through the shop, that was advanced. 

We kind of work on them continuously back to back, so once one is out, we take a few weeks of just not thinking about tiny stores, and then we miss working and start again. 

 "Sorry humans, there's not enough space for all of you."

"Sorry humans, there's not enough space for all of you."

How does it feel to know that there’re always gonna be people removing your hard work as their own keepsake? Is there anything you’ve done to reduce the chance of this happening?

We try not to focus on things getting removed or vandalised but rather look at the amount of people enjoying it instead. Once we place the scenes out in the public, it's out of our hands and we find it exciting to see how people interact with them. 

Have you been close to getting “caught” and found out when setting up?

Yeah, we did get caught by the police in Borås, but since it was a street art festival they where actually supportive and drove away. That was weird. Since we know how to properly remove our scenes we're not really scared of facing charges, 

But we like to keep our anonymity so for that sake it's always nerve wrecking to place a new scene.

 The Gas Station in Borås

The Gas Station in Borås

What’s the most encouraging thing you have encountered? 

The absolutely overwhelming response of the first scene, thousands of interactions flowing in and being featured in everything from a Brazilian kids show to Nigerian newspapers. That was mind blowing. 

Have there been many people helping to contribute with their own creations? You know, like the Christmas lights you’re asking about in your latest piece?

The first scene got a huge amount of stuff, from posters, ads, tiny newspapers to real cheese, decorative plastic mice and a handicap ramp(!). We like it when people contribute to the scenes; it makes them feel alive and it becomes a permanently shifting installation. 

What got you started on Anonymouse in the beginning? Is there a bigger message / goal you are trying to achieve?

In any act of reclaiming the public space there's an act of defiance. That being said; we just wanted to bring children a bit of magic as we ourselves would have appreciated as kids.

Of course, we’re all already excited about your next piece. Can you give us a little teaser, using just a single word?

Hmm. Okay, that word would be: porcelain.


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