Mummy Auction TV - A Quick Delivery / by Lenni Sanders

At iOrganic we’ve been pretty busy recently! While producing The Unreal Tour we were approached by Manchester Museum to create a new show for their Gift to the Gods Exhibition Evening… which was under a week from The Unreal Tour performance.

We kicked pretty quickly into gear and came to a concept after a big creative chat throwing ideas about. Mummy Auction TV. How better to tell the story of all the bizarre uses for animal mummies throughout history. We thought about how to make the idea of using mummies as fuel or paint or as medicine… how about the bizarre world of Bid-Up TV and auction television.

I used to be obsessed with these programmes when I was a teenager. I would watch them for hours. They seemed at once prosaic but also poetic, a heightened sense of everything but only really kitchens. A more kitchen-y kitchen than your kitchen to convince you to buy a knife as someone says ‘wow, that’s sharp’. But, I mean, it’s a kitchen knife. It’s pretty boring. And then there was the time that an unbreakable drill was dropped off a building to prove it wouldn’t break and the presenter’s manic grin as he segued quickly away from the pieces of ex-drill sprayed across the floor.

It’s a strange world. One where people used what are now museum artefacts as fertiliser and where auction TV exists.

The performance when wonderfully. We introduced each scene at Liverpool Docks with a short poem then one of us would get behind the TV screen we built and present the animal mummy as one of the many things it was used for, including unbinding it for wrapping paper. After a couple of minutes we handed out cheques which visitors would fill out, according to how much they would be willing to spend on that mummy for that use. We would then read them out and reveal the value now ending by breaking what little character we had to have conversations with our visitors.

Over the ambient music and with the images of the docks playing on a loop, we created the atmosphere and tried to put our audience into the kind of mindset where you can buy an animal mummy to spread over your crops.

All under the watchful eye of Napoleon, our home-made cat mummy.