edited by Rebekah Modrak and Marialaura Ghidini – #exstrange: A Curatorial Intervention on Ebay


Michigan Publishing Services, ISBN-13: 978-1607854234, English, 263 pages, 2017, USA

Historically eBay has been a difficult territory for net artists, despite it has represented the first real “e-commerce for everybody” platform. Apart from a few early conceptual actions, typically over-descriptive, or a handful of mostly aesthetic artworks, there are only few artists who decided to engage with it. The #exstrange project has somehow compensated for this lack, creating a unique, extensive and articulated action, inviting eleven curators and a lot of artist to create “artworks-as-auctions”, between January 15 and April 15, 2017. Main-curated by Rebekah Modrak and Marialaura Ghidini this extremely dynamic exhibition has been able to deconstruct and redefine the relationship between buying and selling online. Efficiently organised, despite the number of people involved, it used a system of tags to find and participate to every action, or only to specific ones with a constant communication. This ‘catalogue’ features essays by the curators and documents the artworks, including data, structures, narrative and sometimes the equally important behind-the-auction circumstances. It becomes both a printed archive of documentation, and a sort of manual for doing contemporary art on eBay. Beyond a few renown net artists, spanning different generations, there are plenty of interventions using different artists’ strategies, adapted to the whole bid mechanisms. #exstrange then represents one of the most significative net art initiatives of the last few years, developing critical online artworks and creating a whole updated symbolic system.