Text by Leslie Kuo
Photo provided by Mieke Driessen
First published in Exberliner, February 2007
Thumb-sized and thumb-shaped, pop-eyed Foomp puppets from Dutch artist Mieke Driessen are peeking from pockets of travelers around the world, many of them Berliners. In her goofy, participatory art project “Foomps Around the World,” Driessen hands out the hand-sewn felt critters to travel-happy friends and strangers, who post pics of globe-trotting Foomps on a collaborative online exhibition.
Dozens of Foomps were launched in Berlin in 2006 – Driessen spent the summer here, exhibiting at Zur Moebel Fabrik and other underground spots – and they’ve already hopped through Germany and around the globe. A peek on the website shows Foomps marauding in Moscow, riding a rickshaw in China, sunbathing in Spain, Mexico, and Thailand, and stuck up someone’s nose in Stuttgart. One little guy even traveled as a message in a bottle, which Driessen tossed off the coast of France. He can be spotted on the Foomp website, posing with his rescuers.
For jet-setting Exberliners who want their own photogenic, pocket-sized travel buddy, it’s easy to pick up a Foomp and join the project. Just mail-order from Driessen’s website or visit Berlin boutiques Luxus International, Kastanienallee 101, Prenzlauerberg, or Kabuff, Kopernikussstrasse 2, Friedrichshain.