We want to critique the process through which value is formulated and established in the art context. What are the markers of such a value? These markers are supposed to exist in pedagogy but are not transparent or continuous with they manifest as criteria in practice. The motivating forces that inspire people to collect or in some other way value a work are very often to do with perception, social standing and exchange value. The collection that Pollinator (Jiten Thukral, Sumir Tagra and Prayas Abhinav) wants to initiate wants to make this process open, transparent and rational.
If the establishment and articulation of value is a process that can be demonstrated as an objective procedure that is implemented on the basis of a set of parameters, the general sense of cynicism and apprehension that is experienced in the context of art can be questioned. The Pollinator Collection sets out to do this. The motivations for wanting to do this are multi-fold: one of the common sources of cynicism is expressed in the context of art in the form of apprehension about the authentic source of an art work’s claim to a certain value. The common validators of this value are art history and the preference of collectors. In recent times both of these have known to be corrupted. Art historians have gotten distracted and seduced by the power and role of ‘engineering history’ and collectors have been more interested in becoming speculators. In this scenario, our approach is in going back to imagining the entire ecosystem through a set of artists’ and educators analytical thinking.
In the process of putting our collection together, we will be structuring the process in a transparent and inclusive fashion. The transparent and inclusive manner will document all the steps involved in the putting together of the collection. This documentation will help in seeding a knowledge-base for the formulation of an index of the value in a way that it can be easily reverse-engineered. At this time, we are living in a scenario where only a vague system of value-mongering is followed by only following associations and links. In the end, we value that which we can associate with something valuable without knowing either the original source of value nor the parameters on which the supposed value is based.
Our process will begin by an open call on our website. Any artist who believes that their work holds some value can apply. Applications will be assessed on the strength of the rationales proposed as well as on the basis of our interest in the images of the work they submit. A short-listed few will be invited for a face-to-face pitching cum interview session. The setting of the pitching and interview session will feature the project initiators as well as a set of scholars and professionals from the field. At the end of each session, we will make an offer of a value (termed as ‘Inherent Value’) based on the parameters laid out by our questions (as marked by all those invited to the session) to the artist. If the artist accepts the value, we will give it to them in the form of symbolic ‘Inherent Value’ points in exchange for a non-exclusive right on the representation of their work.