Warehouse Project Talks
Warehouse Project Talks are presented by Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, in support of the Warehouse project by Vikram Divecha. The talks developed out of a series of conversations with various thinkers, scholars and writers who the artist has engaged with in the development of the situation.
Wholesale goods, warehouse 82 (3,444 sq ft)
For Warehouse project, Vikram Divecha has, as part and for the duration of his concept, bartered possession of real estate at Alserkal Avenue with a general trading company requiring storage facilities, without relinquishing the warehouse's intended function as an art space. In exchange, the trader has allowed their goods and activities to be exhibited until 11 June 2016.
Divecha facilitated the exchange by brokering an arrangement between Alserkal Avenue and the general trading company for up to a four-month period. The arrangement, in effect, diverts the flow of these commodities through the Warehouse project, turning it into a spatial node in the global economy of capital circulation. While serving as a temporary storage space, the warehouse itself also transforms into a situation that conflates art, commerce and commodities. The site of exchange becomes one of intersection. The market replaces the artist and becomes a visible hand that sculpts the form and volume of stock. The situation reframes the towers of cartons as fluctuating sculptures, as a fax or phone call could quickly reconfigure them.
The situation is initiated when shipments of toys (Zippy, Hello Kitty, Little Tikes, i-Que Intelligent Robot, and so on) arrive from China. At unpredictable times these goods, each with their own stock-keeping unit (SKU), will move through various nodes, to be distributed across the countries belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Before they are delivered to their ultimate destination, their brief stay at Warehouse project reveals their alternative potential – to step out as art. Located within two circuits of reality, the goods are consumed by an art audience, whilst remaining concealed as standardized units. This instantly accrued surplus 'art' value is subtracted the moment they are pushed further to feed another consumption cycle.
The situation is isomorphic. Warehouse 82, set among vibrant galleries in Dubai, exhibits itself as one multivalent unit among many others. Alserkal Avenue acts as the mechanism of that transformation. Real estate, art and commodities become equivalent containers in this neighbourhood, as capital makes no distinction between the modifiers 'cultural' and 'economic'. We are surrounded by a broader assortment of SKUs, each one registering the Avenue's own transition from industrial to cultural. As spectators, moving in and out, we participate in this situation, witnessing the performance of capital.
Warehouse 82 has been made available to Atiq Liusie General Trading from 24 February to 26 June 2016. As part of the Warehouse project, Atiq Liusie General Trading is free to move goods in and out at anytime during the above stated period.
Beirut-born, Mumbai-raised Vikram Divecha (b.1977) is an artist based in the UAE. He has developed a pedestrian practice in Dubai. Constantly negotiating for existing space, material and labour, he works with what he terms 'found processes' – forces and capacities that prevail in society. By situating himself within these urban operations he attempts to work through state, social and economic systems. This has seen him align himself with trading houses, municipal gardeners, rock-blasting engineers, non-architects and other diverse faculties. His engagements translate into situations, public art, permanent fixtures, sculptural installations and video works.
Commissioned by Alserkal Avenue Programming
Programming Director, Tairone Bastien
About Alserkal Avenue Programming
Alserkal Avenue Programming is dedicated to incubating innovative ideas and creative projects that increase understanding and appreciation of communities and histories within the region and foster a productive dialogue with the general public. Working mainly with emerging and mid-career artists, Alserkal Avenue Programming provides additional support for artists living and working in the MENASA region whose projects are collaborative, participatory and ephemeral.