Curated by myself and Marialaura Ghidini, the online project #exstrange invited a global group of designers, artists and curators to subvert the conventions of eBay, presenting artworks masquerading as goods and services. Artists created artworks-as-auctions using the online marketplace’s auction template as the tool of production. The chosen sale category (from Business & Industry to Tickets & Experiences), title and descriptive text, strategic images, and pricing worked together to constitute each work.
#exstrange put art in a networked context, based on one-to-one exchanges. Artists, makers, and jammers communicated directly with strangers, collectors, and hobbyists who asked questions, and consumed and enacted purchases and tasks proposed by the artworks. #exstrange artists explored the politics of e-commerce space, defined by the global market. For example, when Masimba Hwati initially posted his (Kutengesa Nyika) Soil sample from Harare Kopje under eBay.uk to reach ex-pats from Zimbabwe and to convey the significance of land in Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence (the country having been colonized by the British from 1888-1980), the site offered him the category of Property in order to reach the sub-category of Land. Collectively, #exstrange re-imagined curating as the practice of initiating actions to dislocate expectations, confuse frameworks of interpretation, and merge high and popular culture into what we experience in the everyday — online experiences included.
#exstrange began with the curators’ invitation to 21 artists to launch a 7-day artwork-as-auction on eBay. This was followed by a series of interventions by 11 guest curators based across the world who, in turn, invited three artists each according to their own interpretation of the project. Next, we opened the project up through an open invitation to use the tag #exstrange in listing titles as a way to connect. 102 artworks-as-auctions were created during #exstrange, and 91 artists, designers, collectives, researchers, and also students participated in the project.
#exstrange launched on the 15 January 2017, and ended four months later on the 13 April 2017, with the last auction posted on the 8 April.
Latifa Al Khalifa • Bani Brusadin • Peter Dykhuis • Fred Feinberg & Lu Zhang • Harrell Fletcher • Tamara Ibarra • João Laia • Nora O Murchú • Domenico Quaranta • Gaia Tedone • TSAO Yidi
10.000 • Lanfranco Aceti • AILADI • Aysha Al Moayyed • Nasser Alzayani • Mary Ayling • Georgia Banks • Ann Bartges • Yogesh Barve • Kim Beck • Ajit Bhadoriya • Natalie Boterman • Sophia Brueckner • Carmel Buckley • Renee Carmichael • Alessio Chierico • Mia Cinelli • Susanne Cockrell • ConnX • Da Burn Gallery • Julia del Río • Tyler Denmead • César Escudero • Nihaal Faizal • FICTILIS • Eryn Foster • John D. Freyer • Elisa Giardina Papa • Angela Glanzmann • Maximilian Goldfarb • Archana Hande • Abhishek Hazra • Megan Hildebrandt • Joey Holder • Masimba Hwati • Regin Igloria • IOCOSE • JODI • Geraldine Juárez • KairUs Art+Research • Katerina Kamprani • Kamilia Kard • Tara Kelton • Matt Kenyon • Eno Laget • Nicolás Lamas • Martin Lang • Taekyeom Lee • LEXX Exhibitor Space • Lloyd Corporation • Silvio Lorusso • Breda Lynch • Garrett Lynch • Eva and Franco Mattes • Kembrew McLeod • Kathleen Meaney • Maria Miranda • Crisia Miroiu • Joana Moll • Martín Nadal • Norie Neumark • Xi Jie Ng • Maeve O’Neill • Chiara Passa • Lucy Pawlak • Sreshta Rit Premnath • Niko Princen • Ted Purves • Renuka Rajiv • Luis Romero • Armando Rosales • Robert Sakrowski • Alessandro Sambini • Sarah Ancelle Schönfeld • Anke Schüttler • Guido Segni • Chinar Shah • Jenine Sharabi • Yastika Prakash Shetty • Anupam Singh • Gagan Singh • Ishan Srivstava • Isabella Streffen • Surabhi Vaya • Wang Yue • Wu Jiaru • Yashaswini • Laura Yuile • Carlo Zanni • Huaqian Zhang
Roshan Kumar Mogali, “Strange Encounters,” Art India, Volume 21, Issue 3, September 2017.
Marialaura Ghidini, “Curatorial Reflection: #exstrange: Curatorial Interventions on eBay,” Journal of Curatorial Studies, Volume 6, Number 1, 2017.
Rob Walker, “Selling Sticks and a Slap in the Face: Artists Intervene in eBay,” Hyperallergic, June 11, 2017.
Shayna Yasuhara, “The Unauthorized SFMoMA Shows: Somewhere on the Internet,” The Bay City Beacon, June 5, 2017.
Elena Giulia Abbiatici, “Part 2: Interview with Marialaura Ghidini and Rebekah Modrak,” Arshake, May 11, 2017.
Elena Giulia Abbiatici, “Part 1: Interview with Marialaura Ghidini and Rebekah Modrak,” Arshake, May 10, 2017.
Clara Hermann, “Tracking the Google Trackers,” Schlosspost, April 27, 2017.
Miriam La Rosa, “In conversation with … #exstrange,” Curating the Contemporary, April 24, 2017.
Cristina Sousa Martínez, “Some thoughts of #posthuman curating,” Medium, April 12, 2017.
Bruce and Stephanie Tharp, “Heads Up, eBay!” Core77, April 2, 2017. Web.
Greg Allen, “#exstrange: Curated eBay-as-Art-Platform,” greg.org: the making of, March 19, 2017. Web.
Catherine Chapman, “Move Over, Ebay. #exstrange is Bringing Online Art Auctions Back to the People.” The Creators Project,March 4, 2017. Web.
Valentina Tanni, “L’asta online come opera d’arte. Una mostra che si svolge tutta su eBay.” Artribune, February 5, 2017.