What to do on a Sunday? I have a suggestion: Log on to Pineapple Lab on Facebook and check if the Really Really Free Market is happening. It is a pop-up shop at Poblacion where you’re free to give and take anything, for free.
I dropped by some Sundays ago and also chatted with Pineapple Lab’s Jodee Aguillon about how this cool project began. We talk zero expectations, Marie Kondo-ing, and the case for and against free art. Check out our conversation below.
Entre nous, the Really Really Free Market is happening again on April 7. Don’t miss out on the fun.
JED: Tell us about Pineapple Lab and how the Really Really Free Market fits in what you guys do.
JODEE: We’re an artist-run creative hub located here in Poblacion, Makati. We have three working components to our physical space. The White Box up front is our gallery, that’s where we focus on our visual arts. Our Black Box at the back is for performing arts. And our Black and White Box to the other side is where creative meets commerce. We have the Hollow Block program there, which houses a pop-up shop featuring vintage Filipiniana clothing, along with products made by local makers. It also houses our artists-in-residence program, where Leslie [Espinosa] is currently doing hair there as her art practice.
So those are the kinds of things we do here at Pineapple Lab. The Really Really Free Market came about with ways that we could create community programming during the day, because there are a lot of events during the evening in Poblacion but we wanted to counter that with something you could do on a Sunday afternoon along Palma in Poblacion. This is an addition to our events here called Palma Sunday.
It’s celebrating the idea of the gifting economy. No trade, no expectations, no barter—just give freely, take freely, no expectations.” —Jodee Aguillon
JED: What’s the idea behind the Really Really Free Market and what motivates you to do it?
JODEE: The Really Really Free Market is something that happens around the world in different cities. Basically it’s celebrating the idea of the gifting economy. No trade, no expectations, no barter—just give freely, take freely, no expectations. It is an alternative way of community building, community engagement, and it’s fun! It’s really interesting to give new life to something you don’t need to someone who might need, and if you see something you happen to need, you’re free to take it. It’s nice to be able to try it here.
It was good timing, the first one launched in January, in the beginning of the New Year, a lot of people are decluttering, they are New-Year-New-Me-ing, they are Marie Kondo-ing, which just came out on Netflix, so a lot of people just had stuff and didn’t know where to put it. It’s for people who don’t need stuff and people who love stuff, and stuff being the broadest term because you just never know what you’re going to get here. Today, we had a yoga class, the other time we had tarot card readings, we have ice cream today. Whatever people feel like giving are taken.
JED: What are some of the cool things that you’ve seen turn up?
JODEE: A lot of really interesting books, a lot of self-help books! Cute collectible toy figurines that people just love but don’t have room for anymore, a lot of amazing clothes. There were things for making costumes, craft supplies. There were these reusable beauty pads that someone hand-made. She also brought a bunch of Barbie dolls and toys. I thought that was really great especially for kids in the community here. I think that’s where the magic happens, when someone doesn’t need something but someone else is totally happy to take it. And dog clothes! Those were cute.
It’s for people who don’t need stuff and people who love stuff, and stuff being the broadest term because you just never know what you’re going to get here.” —Jodee Aguillon
JED: Pineapple Lab does a lot of performance art, which is largely art that’s immaterial, and tricky to put value on and acquire. And Art Fair just happened, which is this huge commercial thing. All that considered, should art be free?
JODEE: For some reason I hesitate putting up art that’s free, but art being accessible, absolutely. I think when art is free, who is losing? Is it the artist for their work? Is it the gallery for their space? Is it the producer? Depending on what it is, when it’s performance or it’s something that someone created, I feel like it would be up to the artist as to what they’d be willing to do for free. I’m 100 per cent behind the idea that art should be accessible. In an ideal world, free? Yeah, absolutely—free to express, free to take in. But never free to monetize, or monetize, or capitalize on.
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