Stamps School of Art & Design Associate Professor Rebekah Modrak and her curatorial collaborator Marialaura Ghidini launched #exstrange, an eBay-based curatorial project that ran from Sunday, the 15th of January to Friday, the 31st of March 2017.
The #exstrange digital exhibition was an eBay intervention, bringing art to one of the world’s most well-known commercial markets. The #exstrange dedicated website functioned as an aggregator of all the artists’ work conceived to be encountered, auction-style, by the passersby of this online marketplace. It is a database that keeps the artwork of all 21 participating artists in the archives of the online public realm, preserving your exchanges with the strangers who browse for transactional commodities online.
Additionally, two guest curators from the University of Michigan will be creating and studying the #exstrange auctions as a data set: Professor Fred Feinberg teaches Statistics and Marketing at the Ross School of Business and Lu Zhang is an undergraduate student majoring in business and statistics.
At its core, #exstrange seeks responses to the driving question: “What are the relationships that can take place in the realm of digital commerce beyond the seller-to- buyer transaction, the fundraiser-to-backer association, or the peer-to- peer swap?”
For this project, Too Far Co. founder and curator, Latifa Al Khalifa was invited to guest curate and intervention with three artists of her nomination. The artist’s put forward were Nasser Al Zayani, Jenine Sharabi and Aysha Al Moayyed (aka Asia Fuse). All three artists create artwork under the concept to “Other Things”.
Behind the facade of skyscrapers and fast cars, the Arabian Gulf is home to a polycentric and complex group of societies. The inhabitants of the gulf covet their cultural identity so much, that they tend to stifle the publicizing of any imperfection. The gaze is stubbornly directed towards wealth, tradition and conservatism; principles that Gulf Arabs adorn as figurative badges of honour.
For this e-bay intervention, three artists have been chosen to challenge this farcical and often myopic view of the Gulf States, by encapsulating moments that aren’t often shared. Nasser Alzayani contributes, a collection of found objects that recite the story of the Jais mountain in the United Arab Emirates, Jenine Sherabi satires Bahrain’s idle beaches in the form of illustrative postcards, whilst Aysha Al Moayyed critiques the credibility of journalism in Bahrain by deconstructing the coverage of a controversial news story that shook the Kingdom last year. Altogether, this collection of “Other Things” brings forth an alternative view of life in the Arab world.