230 MB / Exhibition Without Objects (EwO) is an exhibition platform that transforms as it travels through cities along its designated route. EwO travels the world solely on a hard drive. It shifts attention away from the singular art object and focuses instead on artistic practice and discourse. The exhibition also plays with the fluctuating role of the curator, which lies somewhere between administrator, collector, caretaker, and disseminator of artists’ works. The show aims to engage local audiences, to move bodies from one city to the next, and to build upon pre-existing networks to further strengthen, reinforce, and engage knowledge that exists at each locale. EwO travels only as a compilation of data and then, at each site, materializes as bodies, events, and hardware that manifest the data. With its interest in the increasingly digital movement of the art object and the difficulty of moving across borders, the exhibition operates as a formal mechanism itself. It continues the lineage of artistic and curatorial experiments with the traveling show, from Duchamp's Le Boite en Valise (box in a suitcase) in France to Four Women Artists in India, as well as offline internet, file exchange networks, such as Cuba's el paquete semanal (the weekly package).
EwO aggregates as it travels, growing to include artists from each city it visits along a path towards its terminus. Tracing a line that is poignant for residents of Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh alike, the exhibition’s route connects cities with mirrored experiences of traumatic population exchanges during Partition. Within our contemporary context this route is also indicative of the flow of networks of capital and labor. The cities to which EWO travels are laden with spectral resonances and market possibilities that the exhibition’s format responds to by moving artists across the border for events, political situations permitting. The show’s final destination in Dubai reflects more contemporary migration patterns, as the city has become an important hub for a range of subcontinental activities and industries, as well as a prevalent node in the wider region’s art market.
Rabbya Naseer and Hurmat ul Ain
Khoj International Artists' Association, New Delhi