Beginning Sunday January, 15 and running through April, the curatorial project #exstrange invited a global group of artists and designers to create works to be encountered, auction-style, by the passersby of eBay.
As a live exhibition project parasitic to the commercial platform, #exstrange explores the unexpected forms of encounter and exchange that can take place in the realm of agglomerated commodities online. We ask: what are the relationships and exchanges that can take place between strangers in such a space, beyond the seller-to-buyer transaction?
Each artwork-as-auction uses the tools of eBay (title, pricing, category, descriptive text, images, and interactions with bidders) as the materials to create a work so that, unlike the thousands of art objects for sale on eBay, #exstrange works are the auction themselves and are only "whole" when viewed within the context of eBay.
The brainchild of Rebekah Modrak and Marialaura Ghidini, #exstrange advocates for democratized and collective art practices. The exhibition began with a curatorial invitation to 21 artists, continues with posts by guest curators’ artists, and is open to full participation from any eBay account holder. The initial show is just beginning and currently only in its second week. #exstrange invites participation: post a question to an #exstrange artwork, bid, or posting your own auction-as-artwork.
In a rare art/commerce collaboration, two guest curators from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business will post a series of auctions as experimental data as part of the exhibition and are studying the #exstrange auctions as a data set to understand consumer choice and interaction.
Access all auctions, live or archived, here.
The project is being promoted by the peer-reviewed host Project Anywhere, and will culminate in a forthcoming print catalog with contributing essays by Mark Dery, Lawrence Liang, Rob Walker, among other prominent cultural theorists.
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#exstrange would like to acknowledge support from
Center for South Asian Studies, University of Michigan, USA
Stamps School of Art & Design, University of Michigan, USA
Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, USA
Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore, India