Organized by Brooklyn artist Caroline Woolard, Exchange Café served tea with milk and/or honey in exchange for an alternative currency validated by visitor’s needs and desires. Situated in the mezzanine of the Museum of Modern Art’s Education and Research Center, the café was open and free to enter Thursday-Sunday from 12:30 to 8:30PM. The project used products and services of various alternative economy groups and artists based in New York. Milk was supplied by Milk Not Jails, a label and activist platform working for prison abolition. Honey was provided by the Battery Park-based BeeSpace. Tea was supplied from various locations in China, India and Bangladesh via Feral Trade, a crowd-based courier service.
In my role as one of the facilitators of the café, I guided customers through our payment process. The café’s local currency (called a “Resource”) had a reverse side with fields for a user to provide their name and/or contact information and then propose an exchange of material goods, services or ideas. After payment a customer would receive tea with two Resources made by other patrons as change.
The Exchange Café also housed The Exchange Archive, an online and physical archive of exchange-based projects.
On Fridays and Saturdays various groups including Occupy Wall Street Screenprinting Guild would add to our economy by producing other products which could be purchased with Resources.