A conversation between Lucas Woerdehoff and Carmen Rüter
CR: What was your personal interest in the research on informal markets?
LW: Finding out, what effect informal business has on the regulated, established market side of the Naschmarkt weekly flea market.
CR: Could you describe your project in a few sentences?
LW: It became a guide, which comes along with a few useful information concerning informal structures in the city, actors, networks and some examples of informal activities in the city of Vienna, especially at the Naschmarkt-flea market. It should be regarded as a survey of informal structures and their mode of operation off the formal course. Besides this more theoretical research, the guide also shows opportunities, how to get involved into business.
In doing so, it has to be admitted, that most of the hints and advices you will find in this guide are composed with an humorous idea.
Nevertheless, they don`t give any kind of guarantee of success or financial gain. The project`s aim is to gain interest for informal market-life and its actors.
CR: Why did you chose this particular place and how did you come across it?
LW: It is a flea-market next to the fancy, touristic Naschmarkt. When I went there for the first time, I saw several forms of market actors and their business. Forms that I expected and for some reason became average for inner-city flea markets in Western Europe. I found this one (market) was very regulated with fixed stands, a lot of signs, professional marketeers, students,… etc.
It`s a nice picture of a flea market, which fits perfectly to all Vienna`s touristic attractions.
But there were these other forms, much more separated, located next or within the market area. This informal business exists besides the official and also in between, it`s some kind of symbiosis, I think. Well, the parallelism interested me.
CR: Any special experiences or (regional) distinctions you`d like to share?
LW: After a guy saw me taking a photo in his direction, he came along and asked me about it, my intention…I told him, that it`s a research about all the different actors there, and so on. Then he argued, that I should have asked him before taking that picture. I told him, that it was about the entire scenario with hundreds of people on it. Accidently he was on it, too…after some discussion he asked for little money.
What a perfect example at the right moment, I thought, and gave him a few coins.
CR: What can you finally say about the results of this new way of spatial practice?
LW: It was quite new to me. All this theoretical research thing…mainly writing instead of drawing. But I really liked it a lot. I had the idea of continuing with that kind of a guide, spreading the research field..
view ‘Trading Stand’ by Lucas Woerdehoff in full size as (pdf) informal markets Ø2