March 14, 2016–June 11, 2016

The Warehouse Project

By Vikram Divecha

March 14, 2016–June 11, 2016 | Alserkal Arts Foundation

Vikram Divecha’s Warehouse Project blurs the distinction between Alserkal Avenue as a cultural community and the industrial area that surrounds it, conflating art, commerce and commodities.

Starts March 14, 2016

Ends June 11, 2016

Venue Alserkal Arts Foundation

Warehouse 50/51


Vikram Divecha’s Warehouse Project blurs the distinction between Alserkal Avenue as a cultural community and the industrial area that surrounds it, conflating art, commerce and commodities. The artist has bartered the exhibition space given to him with a general trading company requiring storage facilities, in exchange for the goods to be exhibited. The flow of goods in and out create fluctuating sculptural structures shaped by the market’s hand.

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, etc.), 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 GCC. Before they are delivered to their ultimate destination, their brief stay at Warehouse project reveals their alter- native 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 Warehouse project was made possible with support from: Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Vilma Jurkute, Aquamarina Adonopoulou, Luay Al Derazi, Feras Attawna, Victoria Lelandais, Fiza Akram, Sayed Makhdoom, Stephen Kigoye and Alserkal Avenue team. Alywin Liusie, Laurent Lapietra, Sanju Rajan, Mohamad Latif and Atiq Liusie General Trading team. Tairone Bastien, Debra Levine, Murtaza Vali, Kevin Jones, Neha Vora, Gayatri Gopinath, and Shaina Anand. The Salama bint Hamdan Emerging Artists Fellowship, Tashkeel and Campus Art Dubai. Pradeep Kumar, Jaisurya Kurup, Haresh Chugani (Molden Trading), Ammar Sorathia (Pronto Trading), Shankar Bhagchandani (Al Taqdeer Al Rafia), Nadeem Mukadam (M.H. Enterprises), Ajay Krishnan (Consolidated Shipping Group), Suku Sudhakaran (VAG shipping), Baber Jahangir (Fakhruddin Trading), Bose Cherian (Bismi Trading) All goods in this warehouse are the property of Atiq Liusie General Trading L.L.C. Visitors are advised not to lean on or push the cartons.

Adam Clifton | The Next Really Great Thing: A Discussion of the Next Step in Capital | 49 mins, 13 secs

As humanity moves boldly into the twenty-first century, there are many questions about a theme that resonates throughout the countries belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – the ‘Future’. While there are doubts and speculations, this presentation will expand on leading thinkers’ projections about economic theories related to new thoughts on the future as an instrument that will catapult humanity into undreamt of realms.

Adam Clifton has an MBA from the London Business School, and he served as an intern to Nobel Laureate Robert Solow in the 1980s. Before retirement in 2013, his work involved matters of technology, consumption, resources and labour policy. He has worked on projects with Accenture, Unilever, Apple, Bechtel, Dow, and Vattenfall, and has been a consultant to the Davos Economic Summit. He lives in Geneva, Switzerland where he is now an independent consultant on global macroeconomic policy.

Debra Levine | Toward A Common Satisfaction of Needs: The ongoing situation of the ‘Warehouse project’ | 1 hour, 10 mins, 43 secs

This talk discusses the implications of some of the social and economic relationships created and expressed through the rests, movements, and shifting shapes of containers and commodities.

Debra Levine is an Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance at NYU Abu Dhabi and is affiliated with The Hemispheric Institute for Politics and Performance, and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Department of Undergraduate Drama. Her work explores the intersection between performance, politics and new media/digital humanities through the lens of feminist and queer theory, disability studies, and visual studies. Debra has written on Jérôme Bel’s collaboration with Theater Hora of Disabled Theater for Studia Dramatica, as well as contributed articles to GLQ, Women and Performance, e-misférica, Theatre Research International, and The Disability Studies Quarterly. She also has chapters in two new books published in 2016, Reading Contemporary Performance: Theatricality Across Genres and Burning Down the House: Downtown Film, Video and TV Culture: 1975-2001.

Murtaza Vali | Arresting Flows, Stacking Forms: On Vikram Divecha’s ‘Warehouse Project’ | 45 mins 46 secs

This talk begins to unravel some of the many cultural, political and economic histories and networks that come together in Vikram Divecha’s Warehouse project. Working out from its immediate context of Alserkal Avenue and Dubai, the talk attempts to situate the project within the complex histories of post-war sculpture, institutional critique, and the postcolonial critique of globalization.

Murtaza Vali is a critic and curator based in Brooklyn, USA and Sharjah, UAE. A recipient of a 2011 Creative Capital, Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for Short-Form Writing, he regularly publishes in various international art periodicals and has contributed to publications for both commercial galleries and non-profit institutions globally. His past curatorial projects include: Formal Relations (Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York, 2015); Accented (Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah, 2015); Geometries of Difference: New Approaches to Abstraction and Ornament (Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz, 2015); PTSD: Shahpour Pouyan (Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, Dubai, 2014); extra | ordinary: The Abraaj Group Art Prize 2013 (Art Dubai, 2013); Brute Ornament (Green Art Gallery, Dubai, 2012); and Accented (BRIC Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, 2010). He also edited Manual for Treason (2011), a multilingual publication commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation for Sharjah Biennial 10 and served on the selection jury for the 2010 Sharjah Art Foundation Production Programme grants. He is a Visiting Instructor at Pratt Institute and a Lead Tutor of Campus Art Dubai 4.0.

Neha Vora | Warehouse as Dubai’s Cultural Heritage | 1 hour, 19 minutes, 52 secs

This talk considers the academic, creative, artistic, and other unexamined or unanticipated nodes of Dubai’s mercantile supply chain through a critical re-examination of the speaker’s own scholarship and her movement as a scholar through various spaces and networks in the city.

Neha Vora is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, USA. Vora’s research focuses on citizenship and belonging within the Gulf Arab states, particularly among South Asian diaspora populations. In addition to a number of journal articles, Vora is the author of Impossible Citizens: Dubai’s Indian Diaspora, published in 2013 by Duke University Press. A recipient of multiple awards and fellowships, she is currently in Doha working on a project that investigates the impacts of knowledge economy transformation and American branch campus expansions on Qatar.

Kevin Jones | Marketing Presentation for Boxed Branded Plush Toys as Art | 34 mins, 7 secs

The objective of this talk is to exhibit how our enterprise is best suited to:

• Highlight the warehouse as a non-neutral display space
• Examine how brands play with commerce and art
• Critique the critique

Kevin Jones is an independent arts writer based in Dubai. New York-born and Paris-bred, he has lived in the Middle East since 2006 and is currently the UAE Desk Editor for ArtAsiaPacific. He contributes regularly to The Art Newspaper, Artforum, ArtReview Asia and FlashArt International. Regionally, his writing has been published in Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia, Bidoun, Canvas, Brownbook and The National.