Anonymouse is an anonymous Swedish artist collective notable for street installations in Sweden. They build mouse-themed miniatures and display them in public. The first work was the restaurant Il Topolino that appeared on Bergsgatan in Malmö. It was vandalized a few weeks later. In April 2017, they created an amusement park at Södra Förstadsgatan. In September 2017, two shops and a gas station were opened in Borås. The group also built exhibits in Bayonne and on Isle of Man in 2018 and later the same year, a miniature barbershop and a shelter for mice in Malmö.
As we wanted to hear the story from them, we learned the mouse language and asked them a few questions. We are publishing here the English version of the transcript.
Are you humans?
We are a loosely connected network of mice and men! 🙂
Can you please tell us a bit about you? What is the background?
Since we are an anonymous collective, we do not talk about our individual backgrounds; this is also because we want people to imagine that anyone could have built the little stores, especially for children to think that mice might have done it.
How and when did the idea with these street installations come up?
We started in the middle of the year in 2016; a group of us came together and wanted to build something. And we started talking about our love for “the rescuers” and “An American Tail,” and from there, the concept started to take shape.
What is your creative process like? What comes first: the location for the installation or the miniature idea?
Well, we have a continuous discussion of what we want to create, but we always have to find the location first. And based on the house’s facade or the surroundings, we usually tweak the idea to suit the place. This is a process that is getting increasingly harder in our hometown; soon, we will have covered all the basement windows in Malmö!
What is the strangest thing you do in your process of creating?
Sneaking around by the cover of darkness with a ruler and paper, taking measurements and looking extremely guilty is probably the strangest thing we do. We always assume people will understand what we’re doing, while in reality, no one is thinking, “oh, look at those two; they must be taking measurements for a shop for mice.”
What materials are you using?
We use a lot of plywood, but we also try to recycle as many human elements as possible into the scenes. A champagne cork becomes a chair, a matchbox, a table, a seashell, a lamp, a stamp becomes artwork and so on.
How much cheese are you eating during the process?
We consume a healthy dose! Although we did have to buy ten packages of toothpaste once because we needed the corks for lamps, and we also have bought plenty of boxes of sardines for beds. And none of us eats sardines.
How long does an artwork take till it’s completely ready to be showcased?
Originally it took a couple of months, but if we work semi-full time, it takes about three weeks to make one now.
We heard that the first installation was vandalized (obviously by cats). What are you doing now to protect the miniatures?
Nothing at all, we know that the urban environment is vulnerable, and even if the shops were allowed to remain untouched, they would still deteriorate. So we try to see them as temporary pop-ups rather than long-lasting contributions to the street.
Do you have signs on the street which point to your installations? How do people notice them? We guess that it’s easy to miss them if you are in a hurry.
No, that’s also part of the sport; since we have quite dedicated followers on Instagram, we just post the first photo with little information about where it is, except the city. And from there, people will go on treasure hunts trying to find them, and as soon as the first person does, the secret is out, and it spreads in our commentary. Usually, the local newspapers also run an article telling folks where it is.
What is the people’s reaction? Are they just taking photos and go away, or they are staring at the installation? Do they look funny sitting down and trying to analyze it?
We get all kinds of reactions, most people go down in the knees trying to spot all the details, though, but some just stop by and get a quick photo. There are a few time lapses on our insta where you can see people coming by. It was sent to us, and it was quite a treat to finally see how our installations are received.
What about the miniature records? It’s a crazy work, from finding the titles to producing them.
Yeah, but it was also very fun! Originally we planned on doing like ten or maybe 15 records but ended up with 40. The record shop also seemed to resonate with all kinds of ages, which is always a treat.
You have a big online success, so we guess that you have already prepared some new installations.
Depending on how you count, we’ve built at least 25 installations and have no plan to stop yet, but since they do take a bit of time and all of us have full-time jobs, we try to limit ourselves to just making a few each year.
In the end, tell us where our readers can find you online?
Well, you can always google anonymouse, but otherwise, it’s on instagram.com/anonymouse_mmx
Thank you for your interest and cheese out!