In a world where art investment is one of the safest bets you can make, would you start collecting intangible objects? Well that’s the premis of The Walker Art Centre's a new online shop for artwork named Intangibles. The idea is to allow collectors to purchase art objects that have no physical form. As someone who is as partial to a GIF or polyphonic ringtone as the next millennial, this website offers a treasure chest of the weird, wonderful and Internet inspired. Materiality is forgotten. Instead it’s all about the experiential – bringing together ideas, services and connecting the artist and audience in new, digital ways.
For $90 you could buy Let Me Know, an exhibition that hasn’t happened yet. You’ll get a .zip file full of all the curatorial nuggets you might need. That’s images, videos, audio recordings and text files at your disposal. This brilliant idea almost conjures up a new way of exhibiting work. We all know renting space is near astronomical these days, so why not curate the .zip and let someone else cover the overheads? Artist RO/LU has priced this in order to make it accessible to most, in order for people to run the exhibition in their community – in their homes, places of work, schools or galleries.
For a cool $12,000, Slavs and Tartars are offering Köfte Kitab Kebab. You’ll get a personally curated experience, as they organise a book group for you and the books you choose will be skewered into a kebab inspired sculpture.
Or for $170 you can get origami luxury courtesy of product designers Chen Chen & Kai Williams. Each packet of CK Ghost contains a 24 x 36 inch sheet which is designed to be folded into 3D versions of physical products. Once built, you’re expected to burn the products in order to complete the artistic transaction.
Finally, the more affordable end of the scale, for $10 you can invest in Multi by David Reinfurt. It’s a simple software for makng facing, working from punctuation glyphs it takes the idea of making multiples to a whole new level.
Some sold out pieces include Alec Soth’s Snapchat exchange (header image), where the artist sends images to you through the app – only to be seen by the buyer and the artist, and to disappear forever (unless you’re quick with your screenshot action). Similar to this idea is Nico Muhly’s Canonical Tones, a suite of 12 ringtones composed by the artist. With names like “Chill Family Call” and “Booty Call”, the tones come with a handy diagram of when to program them into your phone.
The idea is to invest as much value in the ephemeral as we do in the physical. Where some ideas like the downloadable exhibition make sense, and add value to the communities who might buy them, others are seemingly overpriced. It's designed to make us think about how much value we attribute to artwork, and where our money might actually go. Would you make the investment?