2008 Biennial

Walead Beshty

Selected Works from Travel Pictures, 2006-2008

FedEx © Large Kraft Cube © series, 2008-

FedEx © Tube © series, 2008-

“The site where the photographs were taken was the abandoned Iraqi embassy to the former DDR. The embassy itself was given to the Republic of Iraq in perpetuity by East Germany. It’s a sovereignty-free territory that’s still protected. In the 6, 7 years since I’ve been going to the site, it’s decayed quite a bit. In 2006, I had gone back again, and I had accidentally put all my film through baggage x-ray. And before I was about to throw away the film realized actually that it sort of solved a set of problems about how to image the site, how to actually deal with the site within aesthetics. The film itself had registered the movement of international travel, that movement across international borders, which was what was at stake and the reason why the embassy was abandoned in the first place.

“The boxes behind me are shatterproof, safety glass. The glass boxes are built to the size of the shipping boxes, and then they’re allowed to travel, and in that travel they go through the standard forces that would happen in transit, and that creates shattering patterns or cracking patterns on the box. So essentially the form is directly tied to the movement of the work, how the work is seen in different locations. They’re built to the size of a standard FedEx box. The boxes themselves are a proprietary volume owned by FedEx, in other words, DHL or UPS are barred from using the exact same size and shape. So they are basically a unit of space that’s owned by a corporation, within which to ship objects. Each time that it’s shown, its placed back in the box and shipped again, so ostensibly it could accumulate form in perpetuity.  And in a similar sense to the photographs, which the forms on their surface are what people see as an abstraction which comes from the movement through x-rays, these acquire their form through their movement by FedEx.”