Transparent Bag-Exchange Proposal

Taus Makhacheva

For this project I’m planning to make 100 absolutely transparent luggage bags (image attached). The shape of the bag would be simulating a standard sports bag, popular in Dagesan. Everything inside of it will be seen. Then I will advertise in the local newspaper “From hands to hands” that I will exchange new transparent sports bags for old bags/suitcases and will document the exchange.

I will exhibit the documentation of exchange, advert in the newspaper, transparent bags, if there will be any left and audio documentations of the conversations I had with people who wished to change.

I have been interested in works that were done via adverts in the newspapers, for example the work of Nina Khachadouryan and Julia Meltzer in 1996, where they have advertised a non-existing studio to let, that was exactly the size of standard prison cell. Or Nancy Burson, who put an ad in Village Voice in 2002, where she was looking for people (of any nationality) who thought they looked like Jesus, she photographed everyone and exhibited selected portraits.

What am I doing? A transparent bag as it is, is a self-explanatory comment on the situation we are in. I’m also interested in exchange of something regarded more valuable for something of less value. But the main goal of the project is conversation and penetration of another social sphere. Who are those people reading exchange ads in the newspapers? What do they remember? How do they live? What is art for them? My conversation during the exchange is part of the work.  Conversation about their everyday and historical experiences (I envision that its mostly old people read this particular newspaper). Their interpretations of my actions and results.