In December, residents of the seaport in southern Sweden awoke to an unusual sight: a toe-level bakery and bistro for mice. The minds behind these miniature stores are an anonymous artist collective.
Artist collective Anonymouse seem to be blessed with a unique sense of humor. Feivel and Trixie – famous mouse heroes from children’s books – answer their e-mail address “Pärlan Mousekewitz” with a cheeky “cheese out”. The name itself? An obvious take on the infamous international anonymous hacker collective. The rodent version. Yet the Swedes are dead serious – with a few cheesy references thrown in for good measure.
Anonymouse first surfaced in December in Malmö where they opened up two miniscule shops overnight – shops for mice, that is: the French bakery “Noix de vie” and the Italian bistro “Il Topolino.” Painstakingly crafted and lovingly detailed, their tiny, illuminated shop windows advertise cheese and nuts, flanked by posters with murine art or the horror flick “Night of the Were-Rat”.
“We first thought of these scenarios in March of last year,” explains Anonymouse’s Feivel. Inspired by the likes of Astrid Lindgren, Beatrix Potter, and Walt Disney, the artist collective decided to design its first two stores. Their building materials: matches, buttons, bottle tops, and other waste. “We only used items that could have been found by the mice themselves,” Feivel is eager to stress.
The reactions to their project were incredible. In Malmö, the mouse paradise soon attracted masses of fans. “They immediately started to interact with our work. Some people brought cheese, others posters or tiny bikes. It was fantastic!” Feivel remembers. Anonymouse had obviously hit a nerve and given the people of Malmö something that’s missing from many modern metropolises: a splash of imagination.
A gas leak?
Yet then, just before New Year’s Eve, a major shock: Both stores had been destroyed by vandals. They had shattered the windows and scattered the artwork across the street. Anonymouse saw the humorous side: According to their official press release, the destruction was due to a gas leak in Il Topolino’s kitchen.
Fans of the installation can breathe a sigh of relief, though. According to an interview with Swedish magazine “The Local”, Anonymouse are already working on their next masterpiece. “It’s going to be even better, but we’re not going to give anything away in advance.” Well, one thing is for certain: Once they’re finished, the mice will come out to play.