Yami-Ichi is spreading, as the flea market geared towards Internet artists and enthusiasts alike comes to London this May 20th through to 22nd. From stone-mounted USB sticks, to selfie baseball caps, Yami-Ichi—or, the "Internet Black Market"—sees online and digital themes translated into physical work, put on sale in both a humorous celebration and critique of The Internet of Things.
“Lots of the ideas take the things that we don’t really pay attention to, such as browsers, and manifest it into a new aura,” says Nimrod Vardi, director and curator of London’s Arebyte Gallery, which recently ran a printed book exhibition based on Facebook material. “There are all sorts of really funny and whacky projects but it also makes you look at topics critically, like free Internet and free Internet access for everyone. It’s very sarcastic.”
Teaming up with OffPrint London—an alternative publishing fair—Vardi has been gathering artists to add a digital Yami-Ichi aspect to the grassroots event. Athens-based artist Marios Athanasiou will be one of the many exhibiting.
“All of my work is usually digital,” he tells The Creators Project. “So it’s nice to be making an object for a change. For Yami-Ichi, I decided to ‘sell’ pieces of the primordial Internet, the Internet used on Earth by ancient civilizations thousands of years ago.”
Started in 2012 by artist collective IDPW—I.D. Password, or ‘I pass’—in Tokyo, Yami-Ichi is an open-sourced concept that has been replicated and revamped in cities across the globe, such as Berlin, Amsterdam and New York. Over email, IDPW member Akaiwa Yae tells The Creators Project that “anyone can organize and hold Yami-Ichi in their own city,” and that venues often takeover unique places like “someone’s office, a closed campus, old factory and on the street.”
The event in London will be the first time Yami-Ichi has reached the British capital, hoping to draw a mixed crowd with its planned display at the Tate Modern.
“In the past, we met local communities in big cities and there were differences between them,” says Yae. “So I think there must be a community or scene in London with some differences. We think it's good to be involved in various situations, locations, or scale to see the potential of the Yami-Ichi and also the Internet IRL.”
“There is something wrong about the way that some museums and big galleries look at digital nowadays,” he says. “Yami-Ichi looks at things differently, so I feel like having it at the Tate Modern will be an interesting combination. I’m looking forward to see how the London scene will develop through that.”
Want to organize your own Yami-Ichi? Check this out.