Smart Shop (or Smartshop) is an on-going studio work, which functions as a sort of memory game for Bayri—somewhere between the google drive and the database in his head—which takes the form of a virtual cabinet of curiosities where all of the artifacts appear in clay tones, signalling the potential for change, for them to modelled and re-modelled again. These ‘cabinets’ take physical form as digital prints with no two the same and ranging in size from 30x20 cm to 400x300cm. Smart Shop, as Bayri has described, “grows and moves into other spaces, sometimes even getting out of the smart shop itself”.
A retail establishment specialized in selling psychoactive substances, as well as objects and literature associated with psychedelic cultures, the “smart shop” is a pillar of street culture in Amsterdam to which Bayri began paying attention following his move to the Netherlands in 2016. The shops’ eclectic selections of stuff and strategically kitschy arrangements attracted the artist, prompting him – almost as if a game – to begin imagining his own strange, associative juxtapositions. His virtual cabinet became a place for him to collect anything that catches his eye, from an object or detail of an exhibition to a situation in the street, a food item at the market or even the shape of an abstract feeling. The artefacts, then, far exceed the smart shop, expanding outward to include elements from any urban environment with which the artist comes into contact, from Amsterdam to Athens to his hometown of Casablanca; as well as expanding inward to include the artist’s Sad Ali figure and memories of his own past, from his father’s illness to old homework files from his studies in Barcelona. With time, Smart Shop has become dreamier, incorporating things seen ‘out there’ with things felt ‘in here’; and it has grown more bizarre with, for instance, a 2022 printed diptych presenting the cabinet with its artefacts bloated in one panel and deflated in the other. It is a caravan, collecting things as it goes and experimenting with their malleability along the way; and it is also a mnemonic journal of sorts – a space in which all these artifacts can playfully live together, taking on new meanings alongside one another and in their ever-changing morphology of accumulation. Distinct from the colonial practice of collecting upon which Wünderkammern were built, Smart Shop practices juxtaposition and accumulation through the maze of Bayri’s memory where uncannily vivid virtual replicas emerge from blurry and distracted recollections.