MARS at Volta 14, Basel

MARS recently made their debut at VOLTA, Basel with a solo presentation by artist Daniel Agdag.

VOLTA is Basel’s art fair for new international positions, debuted in 2005 as a collaboration between dealers and friends. The aim was to secure a platform for international galleries beyond young art stalwart Liste and market heavyweight Art Basel.

Courtesy of Nicholas Winter Photography.

‘Sample of no value’ by Daniel Agdag

Value systems determine the value of things. Sample of no value is a phrase used to ascribe the idea of no value to goods on a customs declaration, so as not to be quantified by an assessor, and thus have no value. This allows the item to pass freely between political and commercial borders without having to assert value and give compensation for the pleasure of doing so. It’s as abstract a concept as infinity. Everything has a value until it doesn’t. I am valued by the sum of my output, commodities are valued by an economy, people are valued by their ability to contribute to the value system.

In an attempt to measure value, rules are created and legislated, machines are programmed and employed to expedite the process of assigning the val- ue equation. In essence all of these measures are held in place by a common belief and assisted with systematic persuasion.

‘Sample of no value’ is an interpretation of this process using an arrange- ment of fictitious machines that perform various functions concerning the ingesting, assessing, measuring and broadcasting of value.

The apparatus are detailed and impossibly intricate, forged principally from cardboard, to deliberately speak to a discord of fragility to the robust, opu- lence with commodity, simultaneously expendable yet precious.

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