Meet ‘AnonyMouse’: the artist collective setting up miniature shops on the streets of Sweden

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AnonyMouse has installed miniature cafes in ordinary urban environments.

LONDON — Over the past few years, a top-secret network working out of Sweden has opened our eyes to a world we hadn’t given much thought to before. But no, it’s not Wikileaks or the hacker group Anonymous. Meet “AnonyMouse”, an anonymous collection of artists behind the installation of tiny buildings, shops and cafes on the streets of Sweden and Europe designed to be inhabited by mice.

The scenes, like the fairy tales that inspired them, are dreamy and adorable to say the least. A miniature record store, with mouse variations on some of the most classic albums of all time, a capsule banjo, a small bistro, a travel agency, a jazz club – all designed down to the smallest detail.

“Well, it started with a couple of us just wanting to build something in a public place, and the discussion narrowed down to our love for Disney movies and [American film director] Don Bluth and Swedish children’s author Astrid Lindgren and Beatrix Potter,” AnonyMouse, speaking on condition of anonymity, told ABC News. “We like to think of it as something we ourselves would like to stumble upon in an otherwise dull concrete environment.”

The group has been working for five years since they built a “little Italian bistro and nut shop” on the same sidewalk. Now they have completed around 30 installations, mostly in Malmö and Stockholm in Sweden – but installations have also sprung up in Bayonne in southern France and the Isle of Man off the coast of the UK.

After scouting a location, the group then researches the local history of the area they are in to inform their design.

Once sketched, the constructions take up to two months to build before being installed in the middle of the night.

“We just want to bring a little bit of magic into people’s daily lives and maybe inspire someone to create something on their own street,” AnonyMouse said. “We like to imagine a world where small animals live alongside us, and recycle objects that we lose or throw away, so a bottle cap becomes a chair, a matchbox a table, a stamp becomes a blackboard and a trash can becomes a restaurant.”

Last summer, interest in AnonyMouse’s work increased dramatically, with the group amassing over 70,000 followers on Instagram.

Michael Gehrisch, an American photographer based in Lund, Sweden, captured some of the dreamlike miniature scenes on video, which show stunned onlookers leaning incredibly low to the ground to take photos and admire the work.

“I had been following AnonyMouse for a few years and had traveled to nearby Malmö to see the installations, but the locations weren’t ideal for the timelapse,” he told ABC News. “So when AnonyMouse showed up in Lund in places with virtually no traffic, I thought it would be fun to give the artists feedback and a glimpse of the public’s appreciation for their work. Kind of a thank you .

Even with their recent success, the artist collective won’t be sacrificing their precious anonymity anytime soon.

“As long as we remain anonymous, every viewer can project whoever they want us to be,” the anonymous artist said. “And also, the pun is pretty good, so if we revealed ourselves, we should change our name.”

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